Movies

Agneepath remake fails to impress

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MUMBAI: What would justify remaking a commercial flop, Agneepath, earlier made with the reigning star of that era, Amitabh Bachchan? It seems the producers felt disappointed with the audience verdict and eventually decided to remake the film and prove the audience wrong! No business involving crores is worth doing on emotional grounds, least of all filmmaking.

Producer: Hiroo Yash Johar, KaranJohar.

Director: Karan Malhotra.

Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt, Rishi Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Om Puri, Zarina Wahab,

The plot is the same old: set in Mandwa village, off Mumbai‘s coast, with its honest teacher, Dinanath Chavan and the usurper, Kancha Cheena. Sanjay Dutt is Kancha Cheena here, with a devilish getup just so that an impression is made of his sinister character. He frames the noble school teacher in a child molestation case leading to his public lynching from a village tree.

Having established the villain and his macabre ways, the process to build the angry young hero begins. It is done easily enough as Hrithik Roshan commits his first crime even before reaching teens, that of shooting a cop.

However, it is the other villain, introduced in the form of Rishi Kapoor, who remains sketchy. Introduced as the one in flesh trade auctioning young girls to shady and filthy-looking buyers, suddenly he is a drug lord and ‘owns‘ Mumbai.

Hrithik Roshan has a goal which he never discloses but the viewer somehow knows. His ultimate aim is to kill Sanjay Dutt and free the locals of Mandwa from his slavery. Therefore, once introduced, Sanjay Dutt goes invisible till post-interval when he will be needed to close the story he started by killing the village teacher.

The romantic link sans any romance on screen is provided by Priyanka Chopra who, like all angry young heroes‘ beaus, has to hang around in the background till needed for a song number or an emotional scene, both of which are scant and flat whenever attempted. There is the mandatory honest cop, Om Puri, who knows everything wrong that is happening around him but never gets the go ahead to do anything.

The story demands that the hero do it, not the police. Rishi Kapoor has refused to do business with Sanjay Dutt and bad blood exists between the two. Hrithik Roshan joins Rishi Kapoor with the aim of playing one against the other, which will lead him to Sanjay Dutt. Hrithik starts his campaign by betraying Rishi Kapoor, killing his son and heir and later Rishi Kapoor when the drug lord finds out about the betrayal. What happens hereafter is that the film, already patchy and dull, goes haywire.

Eventually, Hrithik invites himself to Mandwa to confront Sanjay Dutt, gets slashed by a sword four times. He is bashed up for most of the last few reels as he is led to the village tree to be lynched like his father when, like a bolt from the blue, he rises again. He fells Sanjay Dutt with a couple of blows and then hangs him from the same tree as his father.

The close-up expressions of Sanjay Dutt while Hrithik prepares to hang him seem to suggest, "I could have got up 10 times in so much time and bashed you up so better finish fast whatever it is you have to do!"

Agneepath is a huge comedown on its original which itself was no great shakes; a vengeance story without a solid cause does not work, especially if the grudge is worth nursing for 15 years and translates to nearly three hours of screen time. The director seems to emulate many 80‘s directors of mass movies. His prime inspiration seems to be Mukul Anand, the director of the first Agneepath. Here, director Karan Malhotra also seems very fond of filling up the screen with crowds, may it be a fight scene or a song.

Songs are no help in the film and the choreography is bad; the much touted item number by Katrina Kaif, Chikni Chameli, falls flat. And there is no indication of the relevance of the Ganpati procession sequence and song to the story. The film lacks finesse with everything about it being drab. As for actors, Hrithik Roshan has been grossly misused. He has to look sullen all the time and talk less: the famous Rober Mitchum look which Sunny Deol did convincingly.

Sanjay Dutt only emerges as a caricature, carrying his one evil look throughout the movie. Rishi Kapoor is the only one who stands out despite the limitations of his role. Priyanka Chopra, Zarina Wahab, Om Puri and others are incidental to the happenings. A massive session of editing could have helped to some extent.

Agneepath the remake offers nothing worth liking it for and is grossly less watchable over its original.

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