Whilst sitting in a screening that was packed almost to the brim, I couldn’t help but think about how I would write a review of Agneepath. My last blog post (http://bit.ly/zObRGW) took a look at how the 2012 offering by Dharma would differ from the 1990 cult classic. However, I had also argued that this was not a movie that should be labelled as a “remake”. Having watched the movie just two weeks after seeing the original, I can put my hand on my heart and safely say that Dharma have done well. In fact, they’ve done so well that I have full faith that this will also become a cult classic of sorts… and even before watching it I already knew that Agneepath had overtaken 2011’s Bodyguard to top the records for biggest opening for a movie ever. Let’s think about this for a minute… EVER. It’s important to wonder at this point whether this opening has been because people are intrigued by this new version or simply because it has somehow acquired a new generation’s following. Food for thought? Yes, I think so.
First and foremost I have to bow down to the one and only Mr Hrithik Roshan. What’s funny is that all through the movie I kept looking at Roshan and thinking in my head, “He’s way too beautiful for this role”. I’m sure many people would have thought the same as me in this respect from the offset. Roshan is sexy all over… naturally. How was he able to pull off the role of the unforgettable Vijay Dinanath Chauhan and that too in a way that sees him create his own niche? How did he deliver the kinds of dialogues that he will perhaps never get to perform in his career in future? How did he manage to look so vulnerable at the same time as showing there was a fire and rage inside him that would fulfil Vijay’s ultimate goal? How? Well, however it was done, it WAS most definitely done. Correction; it was PERFECTED. I can’t describe to what extent my respect for Roshan as a character actor has increased because it wouldn’t do justice to how I feel.
My second of three special mentions in the performance stakes goes to Mr Rishi Kapoor. He is an actor who almost doesn’t have the face for negativity. He has, quite rightly, not played a villainous role in his acting career… until now. Kapoor, of course, plays Rauf Lala who takes Vijay under his wing. Kapoor’s rendition of Lala is something that I feel will be remembered as one of his very best performances yet. He plays the character with the rawness it required and manages to make you hate him as much as you might love the cuddly image he is well-known for.
The third and final of my mention-worthy is Mr Sanjay Dutt. I could very easily describe his performance in one word: Wow. Dutt’s appearance in the movie is enough to make your hair stand on end in fear but his performance as Kancha is fit for Hollywood. A big shoutout to whoever put this character together because he is rotten to the core and Dutt plays him exceptionally. Rarely would you find such a popular actor playing a role in which he not only changes his whole physical image but also his image as an actor… and does so with so much ease. One would be forgiven for thinking Kancha’s negative stance is the kind of role Dutt is popular for. I feel as if Kancha is a new birth for the actor and I hope film-makers out there now give him roles he can really get his teeth into… he deserves them.
Priyanka Chopra‘s rendition as Kaali was the breath of fresh air needed for that little giggle for what is essentially a dramatic movie. She looks beautiful as usual and compliments the grief-stricken Vijay (Roshan) perfectly. The other actors in what make up Agneepath’s ensemble cast do the whole treatment the justice it so desperately needed. It’s because of these rightly cast actors that the movie seems to come into its own and develop a soul which won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
What could have been better
In all honesty, because this movie carries all the main parts of the original although portrayed in a slightly different way, there is not much that could be bettered from this modern-day version. There are only three complaints I would have. The first being the longevity of the climax between Vijay and Kancha. I think it was gruesome enough without the typical what-Bollywood-is-known-for leaping from the hands of death that Vijay is forced to do to get his father justice. The second thing I didn’t like was that ‘O Saiyyan’ was totally omitted from the movie. I was waiting for the song to come on where I imagined it would have been placed but it didn’t and this disappointed me. The final disappointment for me was ‘Chikni Chameli’. I stand by my view that I don’t think an item song was needed.
What I loved
I’ve got to say I loved the portrayal of Vijay’s relationship with his sister, Shiksha. This was, for me, where the soul was put into the movie which it lacked in the original. Another thing I love is that the plot was re-written impeccably. The ins and outs were so much simpler in Agneepath of 1990 but the way it was brought on to the screen didn’t keep your attention. 2012’s version easily grabs your attention and keeps you well and truly glued. I think I would thank and say a big hats off to the director, Mr Karan Malhotra, for such a great depiction of the movie. The on-screen picturisation also adds to the movie’s new-born soul. Truly well done.
Would I go to watch Agneepath a second time round? Well, perhaps one cinema-watch is enough but I would definitely watch it all over again. For me, Agneepath’s story is immensely tragic. You’re almost yearning for something good to happen and wash away all the bad things… but that good just never seems to come and if it does, it’s only there for a split-second. I would, however, watch 2012’s Agneepath if you’re looking for 90s action that’s brought up-to-date. I would also say it’s worth a watch because of Hrithik Roshan alone. Roshan totally rules this offering in what I would agree (with him) is his most challenging role yet. Yes, there’s blood and, yes, there are some truly morbid scenes, but overall… it’s a winner. Well done Dharma; after the hugely disappointing We Are Family, you’ve done us proud! And finally we have a worthy movie getting the biggest opening!