Agneepath - Review

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)
quick review:

And this is how you make a remake! Weed out the unnecessary elements, fill in the blanks, and be ready for the brickbats from those for whom the original is now "cult". For those like me, who are not a part of that sect, it was a pleasure to see the 90s style of narration blend beautifully with contemporary aesthetics and sensibilities to form a pakka entertainer. So, steer clear if you don't like that kind of masala in your films. But, make sure you go for it, if intense drama mixed with song and dance entertains you. And while at it do lend a special applause to makers for resisting the urge to use exotic locales and most importantly, slapstick/lame comedy!

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A true villain doesn't have any attachments and is pretty much soulless. Why he wants to achieve ALL, no one knows, but that's all he wants - achieve all. The lack of reason instills fear in both his enemies and the audience. Kancha (Sanjay Dutt) is that truly detached villain and Viju (Hrithik Roshan) is trying to get there. Every time he commits a murder, you see a weight of sadness in Viju's eyes, which reminds us that his parents wouldn't approve. That difference is what makes the audience root for Viju while dreading Kancha. And this polarity in emotions for the characters makes Agneepath a watch well-worth the time and money.

The only charm of 1990's Agneepath was in watching Vijay Dinanath Chauhan struggle between his father's ideology which became intrinsic to him and how he thought the world really needs to be dealt with; between seeking his mother's, thus the 'good' world's approval and knowing only one way to avenge his father's death. 22 years later, this struggle has been blunted. Yet, the charm has taken new form. His single-minded focus on seeking redemption in revenge takes you through almost t-h-r-e-e hours of watching a film. In this SMS age that, in itself, is a huge achievement.

It can be argued that a couple of songs could've been done away with, but that is exactly what Agneepath takes rightly from the 90s style of film-making. Build tension, break tension with some good-sounding music and lyrics, build tension within the said song to keep the story from stalling and let it beak with another intense/action sequence. This tempo worked very well then and from the way it's done here, can live on if used by the right hands. Sure, there is nostalgia hidden there, so I'm really interested in seeing how the generation, which hasn't grown up on that style, reacts.

Enter Hrithik Roshan. While his "star" value will rope in enough audiences from Gen-X, he's very unlikely to remind the previous generation of Amitabh Bachchan. That won't be because he hasn't done a good job, that he has, but because director, Karan Malhotra's interpretation of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan is so different. So intense is his gaze and so serious his demeanour in his first hour of screen-time that you feel relief and joy when you see him smile.

Priyanka Chopra must've known when she signed the film that all she, like her character, Kaali, is required to do is lend support. She plays the simple girl with simple needs role to perfection. The backdrop Kaali grew up in grants enough leeway to make her, cheesy, silly, smitten-in-love character, adorable. Similarly, it's good to see Kancha (Sanjay Dutt) have that slight change to his background which gives him additional motivation to be in love with that particular village. Yet, I wish his character was less dramatic. The madness he represents made him into a caricature and thus a tad bit comical. This stands out even worse because none of the other characters are really cartoon sketches.

And we know, with the underworld, drugs and body-trading as a backdrop there is enough scope for mockery. A ready and available character was that played by Rishi Kapoor, Lala. Through most of the film, you forget you are watching one star after another, but when you see Rishi Kapoor beating and being beaten up by Hrithik Roshan, a certain line is crossed and you suddenly realize the intensity of what's going on on-screen. A moment is created, even if it is not the pleasant kind.

I also liked the moments that the makers chose to keep from the original like the one with Viju and his mother having dinner or the one when Viju visits Officer Gaitonde's house. Also, some new moments were created like the one where Viju is living his sister's childhood as he would've liked to or the one which he shows intentions of getting married. I admit, these moments might make the movie sappy and a little longer than some would like, but they certainly added to the second dimension of Viju's character - that which makes him likeable despite his mean streak.

Yet, it doesn't mean there were layers to various characters that were fascinating to peel off. A couple of dimensions from each character were chosen and they were given definite shape - enough to keep you engaged.

Yet, plugging some holes from the original doesn't mean new ones aren't created. Some things came too easily to Viju and some events needed better explanation.

But, today's Agneepath was still a better version for me while retaining a lot of what I loved about the 90s. More importantly, this Agneepath loses the unnecessary comic relief and doesn't glamorize itself with the oh-so opportune exotic locations. Now the question, what about the people who either belong to that 1990-Agneepath cult or have never seen it, so they have nothing to compare it to?

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Loads and loads and a couple of brutal scenes too.
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Prostitution, bodyselling, drugs are all shown/alluded to. One child-birth scene.
  • Concept: Revenge.
  • General Look and Feel: Crisp. Gritty.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 4
  • Story: 3
  • Lead Actors: 3.5
  • Character Artists: 3
  • Dialogues: 3.5
  • Screenplay: 4
  • Music Director: 4
  • Lyrics: 4

Agneepath - Trailer

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Comments (18)

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ligne:

Hi Meetu,
Your preview seems quite positive. For me the trailer gives an impression of someone wanting to make a heavily violent film and using remake of agneepath as an excuse !

ligne

meetu:

@ligne I don't mind violence as long as it is not for the sake of violence. Also, the eternal filmy optimist in me is hoping for and looking forward to the changes from the original.

@Anuj I do have my reservations against Hrithik's acting capabilities but I gave Guzaarish a 'add to must watch list' rating - just pointing out. :D

meetu:

@Sunil Haila! For ZNMD i remember saying, i'd be nit-picking if i complained about Hrithik Roshan because he did a good job too...BTW, Agneepath review is out. And I liked him here too! :D

About being in 0.001% people liking a film, it's cool. not everyone has to like what i like and vice versa. as long as the review helps you make a decision.

sridharjeyaraj:

4

meetu:

@Pradeep Ditto about VDC from the 1990 Agneepath, as in that character the only thing I liked about the film. I thought the 2012-VDC was biding his time. Waiting to make sure he could overthrow Lala successfully because he would get only one strike. Lala indeed induced more fear than the four cartoons from the 1990 film, put together. That reminds me what was that about the 1990-VDC going and getting butchered in his 'maut ke saath appinment' I first thought it was some sort of a test for the foursome, but it just doesn't make sense. Anyway...

meetu:

@Anuj :P good one!

guddu:

If it's made for entertainment purpose then i give it thumbs down , if it's for social injustice or moral aspects i might give it a two thumbs .Bascially if movies contains both of the ingredient it makes a good match . I didn't had any expectation as the 1990 film is my favorite but now that it's has been rated by one of the critics who seems very genuine and fair to me, i won't go to PVR maybe a dvdrip will work.

Mudit Singhal:

I believe any re-creation of a previous work as a tribute to it is guided by the fact that the original work is considered as a great work/classic/epic. A classic is a classic because the story being told and the way it's been told is eternal and still inspires artists and audience alike. Most of us would agree that we do not remember more than the baritone delivering "Vijay Deenanath Chauhan" and possibly the lines from HRB's poem. So in my opinion, the original film was in itself never an epic/classic 'coz if it had been, most of us would be motivated to watch it again every time it came on TV (which happened till a few years ago. Meeta I'm sure you would have made an active attempt to watch it again before comparing with the new one). And I would somehow relate to Anuj's comparison with Deewar by saying that it actually was a reflection of all the revenge stories (with mostly AB in it) that existed during the late 70s & whole of 80s but were clearly reaching their fag end in the early 90s. So, the relevance of the style of storytelling and the story itself, even for that era, is debatable. So, here you're trying to re-create, by and large, a non-epic, that too with the same style of storytelling, (I'd agree some irrelevant portions have been kept at bay), which to me doesn't lend too much to appreciate. I wonder, if the same story could be re-created keeping current sensibilities in mind and thereby taking the story and the characters to an altogether different platform where a larger audience would be able to engage with it. Paying tribute to a certain kind of storytelling technique would be attractive if it is able to generate the same magic as it originally created.

Shantanu:

Nice review! This one surpassed my expectations - definitely worth a watch!

meetu:

@Anuj agreed with all except Danny as Kancha. I didn't think he was menacing at all. That doesn't mean Sanjay Dutt did the do. It needed a more Gabbar like performance. Speaking of which, now that's a revenge saga too, Sholay. I never thought of Agneepath as watered down Deewar, so it's an interesting take. For most parts, I think of Deewar as a philosophical revenge. Vijay wasn't really seeking out Samant (is it?) to kill him. But ultimately, all revenge stories pan out the same. So, I can see where you are coming from.

@guddu ouch! Wait till it's officially out on DVD/Satellite? No?

@Mudit I don't know about paying tribute to a style of film-making, I don't think they were paying tribute. They were using that style to tell their story, and I thought they did a pretty good job of it. Similarly, I didn't think the remake was to pay a tribute, it was to showcase their interpretation of various characters.

@Vineet Really? I thought the violence is what gave the characters their identity. VDC needed to be in a position to sell Kancha's drugs in Mumbai, the only way he could do it was by taking over Lala's empire, because Lala wouldn't allow anyone else including his arch rival.

@rajsinghavi ha ha ha. 'lion without roar' says what you felt about the film to perfection!

@Pritesh Again, because there is no other way for VDC to sell Kancha's drugs in Mumbai. Lala and Commissioner Gaitonde, in their own right, didn't allow Kancha to enter Mumbai.

meetu:

@Mudit Yes, of course, I did a revision by watching Agneepath 1990 again before watching this one :D I was getting curious about the 'cult' status that the 1990 film had earned even before the remake was announced, so I might have watched it anyway, but I doubt it would have been so soon. It would be a 'some day' program. :D

@Anuj By ultimately the same, I'm painting with a very broad brush of course. Going by the theory that there are only 7 original stories in the world. :D
And Kancha, I need my villains to make me scared for my hero's life. I want to convince my hero (and him to refuse of course) not to engage him and let bygones be bygones, which is what Danny didn't do.

meetu:

@Anuj i think it all depends on whether the film has been done well or not, even if it's the same thing over and over again.

About External Reviews - 1. for 3/5, it depends on how the text reads. 2. If the text isn't a clear indicator, i tend to make one the lower rating and the other a greater rating.

meetu:

@Anuj nope! I'm no super-woman, I skim through the reviews quickly. And go by the overall impression I get.

And about Amitabh Bachchan as VDC - point taken! :D

meetu:

@Vishal that's true :P

Joydeep:

Agneepath can be divided into 3 parts. Part 1 and 3 revolves around Hritik and his hometwon Manda and part 2 has a Mumbai flavor in it. The story is being held together by Rishi Kapoor who has worked amazingly in this film. I have never seen Rishi Kapoor doing such kind of villanious role but I must say he was superb. Hritik was nice and he has done all that he could do. Sanjay Dutt gave pure justice to his character. The role of Priyanka Chopra was a little weak but overall the movie is nice.

kiran:

Disappointing film.....eventhough i am a hrithik fan.
Damn Story....bad direction....bakwaas sentiments....not an entertainer....
waste of money!!!!!!
wt happened to Hindi movies ????? !!!!!!.... y the standard of hindi movies are going down

poor film......saw agneepath with much excitement.....Disappointed, disappointed...disappointed........Directors must learn to direct well from South Director Shankar.

No good script writer left in Hindi Industry.????.....poor film...

Bakwaas movie

Manuel Neuer:

The strained mother-son relationship in both the films is quite similar. The only thing missing in Agneepath was the brother angle(which too was tried to some extent courtesy Mithun's character,a very unsuccessful and needless character that). Sholay too is a revenge saga but that's a completely different type. And no i don't agree that all revenge dramas end up being similar. Think about something like Ghajini for a while. There's no resemblance to the likes of Deewar/Agneepath. Revenge stories like Sholay,Deewar/Agneepath and Ghajini are chalk and cheese.

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