Mixed Feelings about Agneepath: Film Review

Posted: January 27, 2012 in Uncategorized
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** Spoiler alert ** : There is some mention of the storyline here, and if you do not want to get any such hints, and you do plan to see the film, then you shouldn’t read this blog post!

I have little memory of the old Agneepath. Except for the legendary dialog that spoke, “Vijay Dinanath Chavan.. aaj maut ke saath apna appintment hai.. appintment!”, there is not much else that I remembered of that film.

Yet, the new Agneepath brought back memories of the 1980s, and the angry young man genre that Amitabh lived and thrived on. And while that was good for nostalgia sake, the genre: a) is out of place in today’s age of style and panache, even in thrill, and b) has Amitabh written all over it, whether you like it or not!

That seems to be the movie’s biggest challenge to overcome.

With no decent film releasing in recent times, and with the Hrithik magic, and the Agneepath remake curiosity,  full houses were ensured on the first day, which happened to be a national holiday as well. Whether the initial will convert into reasonable sustenance of a couple of weeks or not, is questionable?

So let’s look at the good parts first.

It is an out and out action film. To the point of saying that it is one of the most violent Hindi films released in recent times. Lots of blood, knives, bullets, punches.. in short, gore. Now, I put this in the good part, and also in the bad, I guess. Good, because as pure action genre, it is power packed. But beyond a point, it gets to be a little much.

Priyanka in her small role, does a good spunky Mumbai chawl, bindaas girl. Like K3G’s Kajol was from Chandni Chowk!

Sanjay Dutt looks a menacing Kancha. Yes, after a long time, a Hindi film has shown a truly villainous look. Compliments to the visualizer of the look.

It is nice to see Rishi Kapoor coming up with a good performances, every now and then. Also good to see him getting nice, meaty roles.

Another old timer, Zarina Wahab is seen on screen after a long time. But her role is miniscule, with not much room to emote!

Katrina Kaif’s Cheekni Chameli had become a hit well before the release of the film. Unlike a lot of other item girls who do not put much energy into their dances, but let the movement of the camera and the glamour of the look (think Deepika in Dum Maro Dum) make it happen for them, one has to grant Katrina full marks for hard work. With a Brit accent, hardly being able to speak decent Hindi, if she has made it to the top today, it is not just because of her looks, but also because of the intense effort she seems to be putting into her work. This song is an example of the same.

My only worry about this song is.. no, my fear in fact.. that this will be played a lot at parties. And I shudder to see socialite women making the moves that Katrina makes in this song. Oh my God!!

Finally, Hrithik is fabulous as an action hero. Quiet, intense, angry.. he brings alive the Amitabh of the 1980s.

So that said, what are the minuses then?

The extreme violence for one. It gets to be too much!

Also that where the storyline is based, is certainly not contemporary, and would not quite qualify as ‘period’. And which is where it hangs in the middle, sort of. We don’t know whether to view it as a ‘now’ story – it isn’t – and whether to view it as historical – which again, it isn’t.

Rauf Lala peddling drugs galore AND doing human flesh trade openly in Mumbai, and the police being aware, but unable to do anything, seemed strange. Unless I have NO idea of what the real Mumbai was / is like?!

Also where the protagonist, the angry man looking for revenge, attempts to get sympathy / understanding from the audience, that he is killing many with his cocaine trade (while he is shown to release the girls from the flesh trade of Rauf Lala) is questionable.

Finally, the way I see it, for a movie that has anger as an undertone throughout, the anger itself is not very visible. The storyline is not developed that well, or the emotions do not come out that strongly, somehow. Unlike say, a Deewar, where Amitabh’s anger is permanent virtually.

So all in all, if you can tolerate oodles of violence, do give it a shot. And if you can’t, then you must totally avoid this one.

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