I’m not the biggest fan of Indian movies. That is, I’m not a fan of the new Bollywood. I love old Indian films, and growing up with my brother, who was an Amitabh fanatic, I watched almost all of Amitabh’s movies at least twice. ‘Agneepath’ was certainly no exception. I must have been 9 or 10 when I first watched it and I remember being in a daze for a while after it ended. I don’t believe old classics can be re-made and revamped with fresh packaging and new faces, and I certainly did not think that Karan Johar could manage to pull off a re-make of Agneepath but, boy, was I wrong.
Movies consist of actors who, although it doesn’t happen too much recently in Bollywood, ACT. But in the new Agneepath, it has happened. The actors steal the show. Hrithik Roshan takes on the role of Amitabh’s Vijay Deenanath Chauhan, while Sanjay Dutt plays the villainous Kancha. I’m quite a fan of Hrithik’s versatility as an actor but I was really sceptical about him being in this film. I mean, who could POSSIBLY replace Amitabh Bachan? Sure, that bit of ‘Amitabh oomph’ was still lacking in the new Vijay Chauhan, which I mostly attribute to Hrithik not having Amitabh’s low growl of a voice. And, of course, the epic dialogue of Amitabh’s self-introduction as “Poora naam: Vijay Deenanath Chauhan” just couldn’t be re-done despite Hrithik’s best efforts. Nonetheless, I’ve got to admit, the new Vijay Chauhan is SENSATIONAL. And I don’t say this lightly at all. There was not a single scene or instance within a scene in which Hrithik over-acted, as most of today’s actors often do. I have literally been left speechless.
I’ve also been left scared out of my wits and close to losing control of my bladder multiple times. This is due to Sanjay’s chilling portrayal of Kancha. Now, Kancha is a sadistic drug lord who’ll do just about anything to take control of Mumbai. Sounds like a simple enough antagonistic role which has been portrayed many times over in various action movies, right? But Sanjay Dutt OWNED it! His appearance gave me the creeps. He’s got no eyebrows, and a plethora of tattoos around his shoulder and his back. He’s also bald in the film and the fact that he’s worked out and bulked up certainly added to the menace of his character. Sanjay baba has still got it, without a doubt, and although all these alterations to his appearance certainly helped, I don’t think there was any other actor who could have pulled off this role as well as he has. Needless to say, I was thoroughly freaked out and rooting for the other side every time Kancha showed up on screen.
One point which I can’t resist making about this movie is that everyone is SERIOUSLY fit in it. And I don’t mean fit in the Pakistani slang ‘fit hai, yaar’ sense, I mean fit in the way it refers to physical fitness. The climactic last scene in which Vijay Chauhan at last avenges his father’s unfair death by killing Kancha blew my mind not only because it kept me on the edge of my seat, but because Hrithik was finally shirtless in it. One look at his crazy triceps and clearly cut abs (8-pack!) had me forgetting the plot of the past 2.5 hours instantly and entirely. Here, I’ve also got to mention Katrina Kaif’s item song ‘Chikni Chameli’. Yes, yes, how can she not look irresistible in her kohl-lined eyes and her gyrating hips, but as I watched the song I couldn’t help but notice what a fantastic ab workout her dance sequence makes. Ridiculous, I know, but these details are just as important as those regarding cinematography and direction which, by the way, were outstanding. Karan Johar, you have managed to surprise me at last.
I won’t mention Priyanka Chopra’s character here because, really, there is nothing to mention. She seemed more like a filler in the movie to use as a vehicle for an unnecessary song-and-dance sequence, and to add some vibrancy with the color of her outfits in the otherwise dark and somber atmosphere of the movie. If you want to watch the movie for her, don’t.
‘Agneepath’ has been a cult classic since it first came out in 1990. It’s sad though that so many of my friends have never watched it and look perplexed when I look at them in shock for not having seen some of Amitabh’s best work. A great advantage of the re-make can hopefully rectify this. For all those people who didn’t grow up watching old Bollywood like I did, this is a movie to get them back on its wagon, this is the ‘Agneepath’ of the new millennium.
For those who loved the original, give the new one a chance like I did. You won’t be disappointed. At the very least, you certainly won’t be bored.
P.s: Don’t watch the movie if you’re faint of heart, there’s lots of stabbing and shooting and killing and dying
P.p.s: watch the trailer here