Outdated and unintentionally funny…

Agneepath; Dharma Productions; Source: Wikipedia

Hrithik Roshan starrer Agneepath was an unintentional funny film for me. No, I am not really a big fan of the original (1990; directed by Mukul Anand) starring Amitabh Bachchan but if we are talking remakes then the earlier version still wins. Karan Malhotra’s new Agneepath is full of plot holes and has the 80s-90s film-making sensibility that makes you cringe. I am a big fan of the original masala style of Bollywood film-making but the new Agneepath seems more outdated than the original one. Of course, the new film is also set in the 90s (1992 to be precise) but in a thriller made in 2012, one expects the filmmaker to respect the intellect of the audience. Let me list down a few gaffes to illustrate my point (spoilers ahead).

Before I do that let me share a brief synopsis for those not familiar with the plot. Agneepath is a revenge drama that begins in a tiny island near Mumbai called, Mandwa. A greedy landlord cum goon, Kaancha Cheena (Sanjay Dutt) falsely blames a conscientious school teacher and village leader, Deenanath Chauhan of rape and murder. Led by Kaancha Cheena, the village mob lynches the teacher whose pregnant wife and young son, Vijay escape to Mumbai. Years later, Vijay returns to extract revenge and to win back Mandwa. And here are some of the goofs that did not allow me to take the film seriously:

  • Inspector Gaitonde (Om Puri) makes a presentation on the gang wars in Mumbai and in the slide show, presents a photograph of an emerging young gangster, Vijay Deenanath Chauhan (played by Hrithik Roshan). Unfortunately, the picture is not the latest one but of a 12-year-old Vijay (Arish Bhiwandiwala) as they haven’t been able to get a recent photo of him (he is now shown to be 27-years old). Gaitonde goes on to describe everything about the gangster, down to his address and the charitable trust he runs. 10-minutes later, Vijay pays what-seems-like a regular visit to the inspector at the police station. But, they haven’t been able to get a picture!
  • Inspector Gaitonde in his detailed slide show also talks about Mandwa, which apparently is run by Kaancha Cheena like Hitler’s concentration camp. Really! And the Government of India sits pretty? As per him, they do not raid Mandwa as last time they tried, it led to many civilians dying in cross fire and human rights commission created a ruckus. So, now they decide to let Mandwa be.
  • In the second half, Vijay’s mother, Suhasini Chauhan (Zarina Wahab) while watching TV recognises a gangster murdered by Vijay as Surya from Mandwa. Please note when she left Mandwa, 15-years-ago, Surya was a kid and did not look anything like his grown up version. Neither did Suhasini stay in touch with folks in Mandwa who’d send her photographs (also Facebook wasn’t there in 1992). Heck, she didn’t even stay in touch with her own son!
  • After recognising Surya on TV, Suhasini for some reason goes to the police station to explain Vijay’s revenge plan to Inspector Gaitonde. Why? I don’t know. Why does she explain it to the first police man she sees (who is on pay rolls of Kaancha) I don’t know!
  • Hrithik has abs made of steel! In a fight with Kaancha, Vijay gets stabbed by at least a 12-inch long and 2-inch wide knife but after his shirt is torn (yes ladies, the abs are on display) you only see a hint of blood and lots of black soot.

Let’s leave all this aside and agree that the director wanted to make a 90s style film and didn’t care much about logic. After all Bollywood is about taking a leap of faith! Even then the film doesn’t shine much as both the build up and the climax are long and tedious (screenplay: Karan Malhotra, Ila Dutta Bedi; editing: Akiv Ali). Cinematography by Kiran Deohans is excellent but the production design lets it down. Sabu Cyril’s sets are so unbelievable that you forgive Omung Kumar’s over the top designs for Bhansali films. The fake banyan tree and Kaancha Cheena’s den look silly and well… fake! Music by Ajay-Atul is just about ok and the songs hinder the narrative (lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya). The much talked about item song, Chikni Chameli (featuring Katrina Kaif) does what it was meant to – help in film marketing and support a dragging second half. Being an action film, you’d expect some memorable stunts or fight sequences but you get none; there is just a lot of blood and gore (action: Abbas Ali Moghul).

Coming to the acting department; I think Karan Johar did well by choosing Hrithik Roshan over Abhishek Bachchan, son of the original Vijay Deenanath Chauhan. Hrithik does a good job and is believable in a local, gritty character that is cunning and opportunistic. Priyanka Chopra as Kaali is forgettable; she had a small role in Kaminey also and we remember Sweety but here you don’t connect with her, you don’t care for her. Sanjay Dutt as Kaancha Cheena is menacing and looks-wise reminds you of Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now and Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort in Harry Potter. The real star of the film however is Rishi Kapoor who plays Rauf Lala, a ruthless drug lord in Mumbai. His is a new character that did not exist in the original film but leaves an impact.

Watch Agneepath if you’re a Hrithik fan and also for Rishi Kapoor.

My rating: * * * Almost three on five

– Shrey Khetarpal



22 comments on “Agneepath

  1. Agree with you on almost all the points minus the first the list of goof up’s. From what I understand of the plot, Inspector Gaitonde (Om Puri) deliberately did not include Vijay’s (Hrithik Roshan) picture in his presentation, because only he amongst the police knew who Vijay really was and supported him. And yes, I agree, sets were unbelievable and the climax of Vijay getting stabbed multiple times is just too much. And we should not even talk about Priyanka Chopra. Performance-wise, Rauf Lala and Kancha were brilliant. And yes, Vijay Chauhan also did a good job of it.

    • Hi Nitin,
      I stand by my first point; two reasons:
      1) When Vijay goes to the police station, a constable salutes him & addresses him by his name; so Gaitonde wasn’t the only one who knew about him.
      2) Why would Gaitonde hide his picture while he revealed where he stays? Also, Gaitonde is showed as an honest cop, won’t support him by lying to his department.
      Now you agree?

    • Agneepath us a nice movie! and true vijay chauhan really did a good job.
      You can now watch movies via Flickstree helps you to find movies you would love to watch with completely personalised movie suggestion. It also tells you where you can see these films online as it aggregates 18 different platforms worldwide like Netflix, Eros Now, iTunes etc. You can also rate and review the movies. Flickstree is India’s first online movie aggregator and movie recommendation platform.

    • Well, it was a double role and one can argue about it… doesn’t Tony also come on the right track in the end in Bol Radha Bol? But yes, a good observation (see a minor edit in the review) 🙂

    • Agneepath really nice movie!! You can now watch movies via Flickstree helps you to find movies you would love to watch with completely personalised movie suggestion. It also tells you where you can see these films online as it aggregates 18 different platforms worldwide like Netflix, Eros Now, iTunes etc. You can also rate and review the movies. Flickstree is India’s first online movie aggregator and movie recommendation platform.

  2. Loved this post!! The other day, when I stepped out of the hall, heard a father scold his 8 year old son and say – Beta, Kancha aa jayega!! Remembered the ‘So Jaa Beta, Gabbar Singh Aa jayega’ dialogue:)..

    1 observation though: Om Puri does not reveal his face before the police force and ministry during the slide show, as he wants to protect him personally.. It’s a deliberate move..

    • Thank you Karishma, Kaancha can actually scare young kids…

      Regarding your observation: please see my response to Nitin’s comment above.

      Also, is Gaitonde the only police officer who kept a track of Vijay? If Vijay was indeed arrested and released on bail as a minor, he would have had to report to the police station regularly. (Firstly, why wasn’t he sent to a juvenile centre or something… and Rauf Lala, a criminal himself got him out on bail!) It is an unintentional gaffe and you helped me find another one 😉

    • Hey Malvika, glad you enjoy reading my reviews… Keep the feedback coming 😉

      If you’re a Hrithik fan, do catch the film. You may enjoy it if you don’t take it too seriously…

  3. Pavan Jha (@p1j on Twitter) points out that Rishi Kapoor had negative roles in Badalte Rishtey & Khoj. He also played negative hero in Zehreela Insaan.

    Thanks Pavan, I have made the change in the post (which earlier mentioned Agneepath as Rishi Kapoor’s first out and out negative role).

  4. the only positives of agneepath is rishi kapoor and sanjay dutt, though hrithik is also fair, but in climax director was in hurry i think. only single man vijay deena nath, blasted everything without any plan nd execution. nd last he was in mandwa was not able to beat even a single person.

  5. Actually, the movie rocks and that even reflects in the IMDB rating of 7 (by nearly 6k voters).
    I saw it only yesterday. The movie is so fast paced that one barely notices the so called plot holes. Amongst the ones you have listed, only bullet 3 and 4 are really valid. Bullet 5- it is an Indian movie! And let’s be glad they showed Hrithik mortally wounded.
    The film’s timeline is not clear- but noticing the currency note Kaancha flashes in the earlier scenes, you are right in saying that the film’s present date would be in nineties- which means Hrithik would have been a kid of the mid seventies and during those days, you could forgive the PD for failing to keep his snap.
    Bullet 2- You really believe in the potency of Government of India! As long as things happen on a smaller scale and remotely enough (like an off-map, inaccessible island like Mandwa) and palms are kept greased, nothing would happen!
    Another thing is that when the movie came out- I’d heard a lot of Sanjay Dutt and Rishi Kapoor- but this is an out-and-out Hrithik Roshan film. He carries the movie on solely on his shoulders. But surely, he does get good support from everyone. And that includes Priyanka Chopra as well!
    It is also importantly to understand what the director’s vision was and what does he want to tell you and how he wants you to view his movie. Sabu Cyril, the Art Director said that the fake banyan tree was used because they wanted a tree to be at the edge of a hillside, protruding out due to erosion, with not enough soil.

    • On point 2: The Government wouldn’t sit quiet on a concentration camp near Mumbai; in a remote area in North East maybe yes.
      On point 1: The 70s photo was in his slide show! I am referring to a photograph in the 90s.
      Regarding the tree, whatever was the director’s brief, it looked fake. So it was bad!

  6. Pingback: Best of Bollywood in 2012 | The Movie Review Blog

  7. Pingback: Best of Bollywood in 2012 |

Leave a Reply to Malvika Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s