Agneepath – Movie Review
Posted by FATEMA H.KAGALWALA on January 27, 2012 | 1 Comment
PRODUCER – Karan Johar
DIRECTOR – Karan Malhotra
WRITER – Karan Malhotra (Screenplay), Piyush Mishra (Dialogues)
CAST – Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Sanjay Dutt, Rishi Kapoor
MUSIC –Ajay Gogavale, Atul Gogavale
In a small village off the Western coast of India a young teacher and his family live an upright and simple life. Until it is mercilessly uprooted by an evil drug-lord Kancha Cheena. The teacher is defamed and hanged publicly and the family is made to flee their village. Behind them, over time, the village becomes Kancha’s kingdom of hell and a festering wound within Vijay, the teacher’s young son. A wound that is poisonous enough to infect Vijay’s entire life with a singular motive, revenge.
Karan Johar reprises his father Yash Johar’s best work (Agneepath 1990) with Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt and Priyanka Chopra in the leads. It is a film that borrows the framework of the original story and presents it with its own suitable tweaks. The grey Mandwa and middle-class milieu are the same but the sensibility is different. Within this new sensibility the film becomes a melodramatic and over-wrought piece that leaves no stone unturned in telling and literalising every emotion, action and motive.
Right from the start, the film takes a relaxed pace of unravelling the story. Hence, Kancha and Vijay’s childhood’s track, his joining hands with Rauf Lala (Rishi Kapoor), the local ganglord and his romantic track plodge haltingly towards what the film is really about – Vijay’s revenge and emotional release. This meandering story-telling points to a masala sensibility that is compelled to include every other element of cinema at the cost of its story. Despite Hrithik’s immense frowning and suitable huffing-puffing this dilutes the intensity of Vijay’s story.
For a film doused in tears, ash, blood it is an extremely loud and melodramatic affair that we watch unfolding. Hrithik keeps the explosive angst of Vijay seething beneath the surface and brings alive the pain of his traumatic past by his mere demeanour. However, the film has him lose subtlety to over-expression and he gives into the temptation of blustering the anger that has long become stony-edged. This, in combination with Sanjay Dutt’s surreally evil Kancha who spouts spiritual theisms without a care for diction or variation in articulation makes for a mis-matched war leaving us confused on whose side we are on. Piyush Mishra’s dialogues swings furiously from the terribly pedestrian to the most mis-fit philosophy.
In the war between Vijay and Kancha all else seem but of tertiary importance. Yet, a self-possessed but badly performed Rauf Lala takes up a lot of screen time. And so do a uselessly chirpy Priyanka Chopra and her colony of compulsively colourfully dressed up women. She fills her space with decent value but matters little in the larger scheme of things. Zarina Wahab’s weepy mother constantly fluctuates between two emotions never letting us get close to the taut complexity of her and Vijay’s relationship. Om Puri, in his upright and determined police officer role is simply a miscast and does not command the power his role is meant to.
A very tepid musical score and lyrics mark the entire narrative. An over-wrought back ground score underlines every emotion and turning point as though the dialogues weren’t (over) doing it enough. Besides being loud the film is also naïve while showing the interactions between the police and Home Ministry. A distinct lack of touch with rawness, angst and compelling evil in the directorial vision lends this film to become an insistently bloody saga of little impact than the one on the eardrums.