Himmatwala - Review

wogma rating: Switch channels if it's on cable (?)
quick review:

Worse than what you'd expect - loud, garish, melodramatic, inane, regressive in terms of film-making, extremely boring.

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Where does one begin with a film like Himmatwala? You know its going to range from garish to extremely over-the-top, it being a Sajid Khan "entertainer". With the "the 80s are back" announcement, you knew you had to leave your brain behind. Yet, somehow Himmatwala makes it worse than what you are ready for - from the righteous brave-heart to the idealistic mother to the caricaturish villain to the supposedly village setting to the lousy one-liners, there isn't one moment that can hook you in.

To start off, in its attempt to not copy the 1983 film, the 2013 version brings in a few minor changes and a 'twist' which make the proceedings even more lame. Then you have Ravi (Ajay Devgn) cracking the poorest of poor jokes. Making him admit the awfulness in the very next line, only makes it worse (and when we thought it wasn't possible.)

Similarly, Paresh Rawal breaking the fourth wall asking us to come towards him and go away from him with a zooming in and out camera isn't funny to begin with. It gets even more tiresome when its repeated over and over, predictably.

When you are so clearly reminded that you are watching a film, you cannot be expected to get remotely involved in the characters or the situations. So involved are Sajid Khan and company in not taking themselves seriously, that the villain doesn't scare and the hero doesn't inspire or invoke allegiance. All the supposedly powerful and/or emotional scenes seem lame because you aren't engaged in the story.

Interestingly, Ravi's sister (Leena Jumani) gets a scene where she uncharacteristically takes charge of her life and it could imply a superficial hint at woman empowerment. But her action ultimately implies submission to what others in her life decide for her. Even if you'd like to give Himmatwala a benefit of doubt in that the social norms of the 80s apply, you realize you are being asked to believe that any of this is realistic.

Having said that, Leena Jumani is an actor who sticks out because of how quietly she plays her bit. In contrast you have this gang of very capable actors competing to look more idiotic than the next. You cannot blame Paresh Rawal, Mahesh Manjrekar or even Ajay Devgn for not making you laugh. Their timing seems to be perfect for what they've been asked to do. But, what they've been asked to do is so ridiculously not funny that you don't know what to feel for them. I would like to think that my 10-year old is too old for such juvenile non-humor.

You know you have stooped to a new low when you find relief when the songs from the 80s start playing. Relief in nostalgia from 'nayano mein sapna' and ' taaki o taaki' - yep, certainly a low! I'd like to shift the blame to having to sit through 'thank God it's Friday' and 'bum pe laat' in comparison.

I do questions myself, "Why do I even bother with such films?" "Hope and curiosity", besides the fact that I have taken it up as a job. I hope that there will be something, at least one scene, that's worth half-a-watch and I don't want to keep wondering what that'll be. However, feeble my reward be, Sajid Khan's Himmatwala has this curiously shot hypothetical situation in which he, for reason unknown, chooses to refer to Psycho. Not that I liked it or the way it was done, but it was very atypical of Sajid Khan. And that is enough for me, even if not good enough to recommend you watch it even if you have nothing better to do (unless your hope and curiosity are compelling).

Himmatwala truly has nothing that even people reminiscing the 80s would enjoy. If someone really wants nostalgia, they'd go back to K Raghavendra Rao's Himmatwala, right? Why do you need a Sajid Khan for that?

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: A few action sequences. Nothing gory, but a lot of noise and throwing of people around.
  • Language: Clean
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Skimpily clad Tamannaah Bhatia. An attempt to rape. An unwed character says she is pregnant.
  • Concept: Good vs. evil
  • General Look and Feel: Loud, over-the-top, takes nothing seriously.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 1
  • Story: 1
  • Lead Actors: 1.5
  • Character Artists: 1.5
  • Dialogues: 1
  • Screenplay: 0.5
  • Music Director: 0.5
  • Lyrics: 0.5

Himmatwala - Movie Details

Himmatwala - Trailer

If you cannot see a video above, click here to see it on YouTube

Comments (28)

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Anuj:

80's was undoubtedly the worst era in bollywood till date!30 years later the pile of trash returns all over again.But again,if Ghajini,Rowdy Rathore and Bodyguard can become blockbusters,why not this?

P.S : I think inclusion of Shakti Kapoor and Ranjeet would have made it a perfect 80's "entertainer" :P

meetu:

@Anuj *shudder* at the thought of watching Shakti Kapoor and Ranjeet back in old form. Bad enough they show up in new form, every once in a while.

Laxminarayan Hattangadi:

One of the best film reviews I happen to have read in a long time! I cannot gather the "himmat" to watch this "Himmatwala".

Guddu:

Meetu as u know Sajid Khan is one of the most talented directors when it comes to venturing into Mass Entertainers or colloquaily said "Leave your brain at ur Home". Housefull and Housefull 2 were both Superhits I Personally only sit back and enjoy the giggle and fun but can't take the movie for granted .This newly evolved Cinema Movement of 100cr club is ruining the spirit of quality Filmaking of India , Sadly these filmakers are never discouraged or opposed by the Critical analysis of their film unlike in the West . There is no point criticising the film , there vision of Popular Mass entertainers are thriving profitably. :( :(

meetu:

@Guddu the heartbreaking truth...

meetu:

@Laxminarayan Thank you! :D

Dattaprasad Godbole:

I am going to watch the film, in spite of knowing what I am gonna get, just because the person who's gonna accompany me is real fun to watch movies with and is nostalgic about old Himmatwala.

Thanks for the warning though, Meetu.

Fan:

The original itself was so boring and annoying that I always wondered as to why would anybody make a remake.

Rape scenes are passé, and given current situation should have been removed from the film.

Pity that good actors like Paresh Rawal, Ajay Devgn and Mahesh Manjrekar accepted such crap.

meetu:

@Dattaprasad oh well, the things you do for the experience. :D

@Fan True, true and true.

TimELiebe:

@Guddu : "Sadly these filmakers are never discouraged or opposed by the Critical analysis of their film unlike in the West ."

Sadly, you have a very rose-tinted view of the power of Western film critics - otherwise, why would Michael Bay and Roland Emmerlich have careers?

@Meetu - is this one of those movies where I come back saying how much I and my American Bollywood Fan friends enjoyed it, and you just put your head in your hands and moan, "Why, God? Why...?"

Niharika:

i am going to see the movie it will remember me the old movies with lot of fun and actions. i am going to see movie for Ajay devgan.he is the real himatwala

guddu:

@TimELiebe: Michael Bay and Roland Emmerich are two filmmakers who have lucarative carrers but they are considered worst directors speaking of multi budget and Star studded Films. They do make money but there films are not acclaimed. Look out the Transformer Series except for the first one , every other one was universallly panned by critics , but they made millions . Emmerich is better than Bay wait for "White House Down" , although he makes Fools errand like 10000 B C . What I am trying to point out is that in the west there movies don't get affected by the cosmetic P R and campaigns like in the Bollywood . There audience have the knowledge of low brainer movies which only expect for moneymaking but now am seeing the change in Bollywood Audiences too after the weekend result of Himmatwala. @ Meetu is this a Miracle ? can u find the logic why this movie failed when it was served to those same audiences. :D :D :D

meetu:

@Niharika :D

@TimELiebe I hope not. *fingers crossed* :D

@guddu i guess what @TimELiebe is saying is despite awful reviews that the said directors' films get, the movies do well, very much like our Sajid Khans and David Dhawans.

As far as the box office collections go - like they say, don't question when the going is good ;) But, I have full faith in the audience, over the next 10-15 years, I believe more and more good/different films will get wider audience. It doesn't matter then, whether such 'entertainers' are made or not.

ANuP:

I think sajid khan wants to cross rgv's AAG and want to set a new bench mark for the baddest movie of bollywood,,,,thats why he created HIMMATWALA

meetu:

@anup :D

Niharika:

i love the movie it was some what boring but it was over all comedy one time watch movie and love the song taki taki song

Taki re taki re taki taki taki re…
Hey taki o taki re taki taki taki re
Jabse tu aankh mein jhanki
Ho taki haan taki re taki taki taki re
Jabse tu aankh mein jhanki
O aapas mein takdhin takdhin ho gaya
Ab kya reh gaya baki

Taki ho taki haan taki taki taki re
Jabse tu aankh me jhanki
Hey taki o taki haan taki taki taki re
Jabse main aankh mein jhanki
source :www.lyricsbogie.com/movies/himmatwala-2013/taki-o-taki-2.html

TimELiebe:

@Meetu - Oh, Dear, I think we're actually going to give this movie a look, just because the trailer appears so insanely stupid we just have to see it. I'm never quite sure about Ajay Devgan - is he a serious actor with a lust to be funny, or a comedy actor yearning to be taken as seriously as his wife is?

And yes - your reply to guddu was exactly what I meant. We've got softball reviewers and endless puff pieces on our big movies same as India, or any country with a film culture does. Good thing we all also have the Internet to rant about it too, eh? :)

meetu:

@TimELiebe May the force be with you. :D

Madhu Sharma:

Himmatwala is the great movie, i liked it too much.

TimELiebe:

Sorry, @Meetu - we watched it...and liked it. I can see why you didn't, because it's a wink-wink nudge-nudge weren't these movies silly? version of the kind of Eighties masala you probably overdosed on seeing on television your whole life. Certainly our housekeeper, who grew up watching Seventies and Eighties masala, would have hated it too!

For us Americans the obvious jokes landed, largely because they were obvious enough for us to get they were jokes, Ajay Devgan was completely believable as a serious badass with his tongue firmly shoved in his cheek, and Ms. Bhatia, Ms. Jumani and Mrs. Wahab are all extremely good playing what they're expected to play. OTOH, no denying Paresh Rawal and Maresh Manjrekar were really horsing around with their roles....

meetu:

@TimELiebe oh dear...

TimELiebe:

@Meetu - I read some reviews of this movie that suggested its "Bollywood In the Eighties" attitudes towards women really offended the reviewers.

I kind of got the feeling that Sajid Khan included those scenes thinking that by exaggerating them he was satirizing them (as he did so much else in this movie) - except that sexist attitudes and misogyny so often take such extreme forms in reality that they're impossible to exaggerate! The reason these scenes are so uncomfortable to watch, and yet keep getting repeated over and over in movies in every culture, is because no matter how incompetent the director is he (and it's almost always a "he" who includes these scenes!) can always get a strong reaction from the audience by including them.

It might have worked far better if Mr. Khan had made what the villains tried do to Padma (Ravi's sister) clearly ridiculous, to make it clearer that this scene is intended to be comic - like, I don't know, put on a clown nose and dance like a chicken, maybe...?

meetu:

@TimELiebe I don't know about that. Every kind of humor/satire can be in good taste and bad taste. And what kind of taste totally depends on the viewer, right? Can there really be a wrong or right? Difficult. One can only say whether they liked it or not.

TimELiebe:

I don't know, Meetu - I just know I agree with you that those scenes with the women characters didn't land as comedy if they were meant to be comic, and I couldn't tell either. :(

meetu:

@TimELiebe I know. unfortunate...

Simran:

i like the movie.. Ajay Devgan gud acting in this movie..

Anil:

best remake movie.

Sunidhi Chauhan:

tamanna bhatia is very cute in this movie..

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