Movie Review: Agneepath works… and quite well too

The first 15 minutes of Agneepath set the pace of the movie. Right from the idyllic Mandwa, to masterji and viju’s relationship, to viju’s deep rooted anger, and the two key lesssons – Pehelwan, and Ageneepath. Things happen fast, and then Kancha enters the screen. Kancha is a villain of the Gabbar Singh era. When he walks in, there aren’t too many other people that you notice on the screen. He is huge to the point of being grotesque, evil, insane, and cunning. He would not stop at anything to get his way. Things happen, and Viju is now in Mumbai. Now comes Rauf Lala. Its difficult (for me) to imagine that the ultimate candy star who survived the eras of many superstars can be made to look so mean and gross. You hate him. You hate his character. And in the middle of all this, the biggest thumbs up goes to that little boy Vijay (Arush Bhiwandiwala) who beats the crap out of Hrithik Roshan’s Vijay Deenanath Chauhaan. The anger, resentment, fearlessness of younger vijay overshadows the sad and despondent anger of the older Vijay. That does not mean I have anything against Hrithik’ portrayal. This would probably be one of his best performances till date (I haven’t see Guzaarish). But, this was one place where Amitabh’s Vijay was difficult to carry off. Amitabh’s Vijay was angry. Hrithik’s Vijay is as angry as he is sad and melancholic.

Agneepath of 2012 had a lot of weight to carry on its shoulders. Much like that scene where Hrithik lifts the bulky humongous frame of Sanjay Dutt. I read somewhere that he “really” did lift Dutt while doing that scene. I saw yesterday that Agneepath 2012 did lift the weight of Agneepath 1991. Commendably so. I would be a prude if I were to intellectualize the whole experience and find flaws with this version. Bottomline was that while the movie was on, I really enjoyed it. Agree, it’s a little long drawn, but hey!

The movie has its share of flaws. Few more loopholes than the earlier one. The 1990 version was a very intense movie, which but for the couple of Mithun-Neelam moments was fairly charged. This movie makes the same mistake, in somewhat greater proportions. The Romance of Mithun-Neelam is replaced by the Hrithik-Priyanka romance and the birthday song was definitely avoidable. Also, based on what I’ve seen of Hrithik so far, he can pull of the torn/sad hero quite well, but he is not the “angry young man”. On hindsight, I can picture Ajay Devgan do a better job of that. One sequence where the entire audience holds its breath in the 90 version, is when Shiksha is abducted by Shetty and Vijay runs through the narrow lanes of Dharawi to get to Shetty. That scene, despite a far more powerful Rishi Kapoor this time, does not have the same intensity. And the end, dramatic as it was in the earlier version, is a lot more idiotic this time (and I don’t meant Sanjay Dutt on top of Hrithik, literally speaking true though)

However, it’s a movie worth watching. Excellent performances from the lead cast including Priyanka Chopra. Arush (younger Vijay) is absolutely top class. Dutt and Rishi Kapoor are exception. Hrithik is brilliant and Priyanka is just about right. Zareena Wahab, Om Puri, Kanika Tiwari (Shiksha, played by Neelam in 1990 version) are all well-cast. The editing is good except for a few places and the movie moves at a very engaging pace. Some of the sequences are beautifully shot (especially the Ganpati Visarjan shot and the scene where Sanjay Dutt is dragging Master Dinanath Chauhan). Music, except for a couple of unnecessary songs, does not hamper the pace of the movie. Background score is good.

End Note: Brilliant masala movie with a lot of entertainment and some absolutely brilliant performances. 4 on 5 for me. Watch it, I say. 

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