If you are a fan of classic Bollywood masala fare, then Agneepath is a must watch! It's been a really long time since I saw a proper Bollywood blockbuster and watching Agneepath was an awesome experience. It felt so good, watching a movie in a packed theater, with the audience stunned into silence at times, breaking into applause and collectively gasping and hooting during some knockout scenes.
If you've followed the media hype or watched the original Agneepath, you would know that the story is an out and out revenge drama. So I won't bother getting into the story.
First let's get done with the comparisons to the old movie. I felt that the original movie was a very flawed movie. The scenes between Amitabh and Danny were brilliant and the rest of the movie fell flat. It was almost as though the director had thought through the Kaancha vs Vijay sequences very thoroughly and did not care too much about the rest of the movie. Story wise, the original had more than enough masala to become a blockbuster, but unfortunately it did not come through. Despite that, it is remembered for one of Amitabh's defining performances and as one of the few movies where Danny Denzongpa got his due as the stalwart that he is.
The new Agneepath is, well, a new Agneepath. It is not a scene by scene recreation, it is a very different movie. What it does very well, is use the basic plot of the original - the story of the wronged Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, who is driven into a world of crime because of the pure evil of Kaancha. But that is where the similarity ends. Some of the characters from the old movie have been discarded and rightly so. The one's that have been retained, have been shaped in such a way that one simply can not compare them to the original movie characters. They are completely new avatars and brilliant ones at that. And there are a few new characters added to the script.
Kaancha, played by Sanjay Dutt at his menacing best, is one of the greatest on-screen villains in terms of screen presence. The movie director, Karan Malhotra has used Sanjay Dutt's immense physical stature to add to the power of the character. The carefully constructed evil look, adds value to the role and Sanjay Dutt brings on his most devilish smirk onto the big screen in a role that you can clearly see, he enjoyed performing.
Rauf Laala, is a depraved villain; played with delightful intensity by Rishi Kapoor. This one is a maverick, casting masterstroke and adds an insane amount of value to the movie. You can see how much fun Rishi Kapoor has had playing this character, especially during the celebration song that is picturized on him. One would never have imagined Rishi Kapoor playing the kind of character he plays in the movie and mouthing some of the most filthy dialogues any villain can ever say on screen (in terms of concepts). Hats off to the man, for getting into the skin of the character and surprising us yet again, even after spending four decades in the industry.
Vijay Dinanath Chauhan. From the trailers it seemed to me that Hrithik Roshan would underplay the character to avoid comparisons with Amitabh Bachchan. I even feared that his role would end up being overshadowed by the two villains. But... Hrithik Roshan delivers yet another knockout performance, elevating his acting in the most crucial scenes. His rendition of the legendary line 'Pura naam, Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, baap ka naam, Dinanath Chauhan, Gaon Mandwa' is the high point of the movie and showcases how Hrithik and the director choose to redefine the character while retaining some of the trademarks. That one scene, first stunned the theater audience and then got them clapping. Pure brilliance.
The movie is three hours long but does not seem to drag on at any stage. The action sequences are powerful. Not because there are too many explosions happening, shot from different camera angles or any other technical breakthroughs in filming. The action scenes work because of the points where they come into the story. The battle between Vijay and Rauf Laala, takes place against a backdrop that completely drives you to root for Vijay and hate Rauf Laala. You want him to beat the hell out of the perverse villain.
The climactic battle between Kaancha and Vijay. Well, lets just say hats off to the action director Abbas Ali Moghul. Everyone in the theater knew that the movie would end with the face off between the two super stars. The entire movie is just a build-up to the climax fight and expectations are sky high and the movie delivers. The set pieces make for an awesome visual experience. The art direction for Kaancha's haveli is top notch and at the very end of the movie, when Hrithik delivers the Agneepath poetry, everyone in the theater was awestruck. Hrithik's performance exceeded everyone's expectations.
It's not just those scenes, right through the movie, especially in the short emotional sequences between Vijay and his mother or the scenes with his sister, Hrithik expresses the pain of his character wonderfully and increases the empathy the audience feels for Vijay.
This movie will surely go onto become a colossal box office success, it may also win Hrithik, Sanjay Dutt and Rishi Kapoor awards for Best Actor, Best Villain and Best Supporting Actor at next year's Filmfare awards. The director deserves a lot of applause and credit for delivering the quintessential Bollywood blockbuster to the audiences after a long time. Agneepath... Agneepath... Agneepath!