Agneepath vs Agneepath!

Everytime I hear the kohl-lined Amitabh Bachhan spew out the words ‘VIJAY DINANATH CHAUHAN’ on a re-run, the hair on my hands stand up and there are goosebumps all over. Such is the effect, even 2 decades after he first mouthed those dialogues in front of Vikram Gokhale in Agneepath, a heavy blood and gore revenge saga of the 90s.

So, with much trepidation and nervous excitement I landed up to watch the much-awaited remake, to see how the 2 Karans have stepped up to one the most iconic plates of Indian cinema. And disappoint they do NOT. Thankfully, the 2012 version is a completely different take on the screenplay and characters, with the same basic plot. And Hrithik adequately compensates through his eyes, where he lacks in terms of Big B’s amazing baritone.

This is not a movie review, rather just a quick & dirty comparison of the two equally impressive, potboiler movies!

Also, enjoy links to some of the best scenes and characters from the original.

 AGNEEPATH 1990 2012
Vijay Dinanath Chauhan (Protagonist)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAQEhnEWTmE

9/10

Big B looms in a larger than life figure and toys the movie and our hearts with a deep, gruff baritone. (Maut ke saath apinment, hay!)

8/10

Hrithik takes a U-turn here and underplays the character, with a raging angst and pain played right through his eyes in every scene.

Kancha (Antagonist)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDKNMliIOQY&feature=fvwrel

6/10

Danny Denzongpa, as Kancha Cheena was a stylized, suited- booted don of Mandwa who gets towered and buried under the Big B’s persona in the movie.

9/10

The bulked up, bald Sanjay Dutt shaves off his eyebrows and casts a dark shadow over the screen, and overshadows everyone else in the movie.

Rauf Lala (Antagonist) 5/10

Didn’t exist in the original, but there was a combination of 4-5 characters as a gang of Mumbai warlords in place. Mainly caricaturish Bollywood villains of those times.

7/10

Rishi Kapoor in a fantastic, negative turn surprises all and sundry as the despicable, evil kasai. Finally the actor does justice to his talent by selecting such a role.

Krishnan Iyer MA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPIg4i3JR3A

6/10

An over-the-top Mithun Chakraborthy hams through a few scenes but is an endearing support to BigB’s Vijay in the original

 

Done away here because of the new screen-time accorded to the evil Rauf Lala.

Young Vijay

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eGtAJn4QLY

7/10

Master Manjunath was riveting in the original. Cute and innocent in the initial few scenes and rough-edged in the transformation later.

5/10

Decent performance by the young boy here, though I didn’t find it powerful enough

Other Chauhans

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKy_4sF_1jE

7/10

Rohini Hattangadi and Alok Nath still remain etched in memory, despite their limited screen time but more than competent work in some great scenes. (Neelam was a waste, though)

5/10

Zareena Wahab and co are competent but don’t leave an impression to last beyond the movie hall.

Other Elements

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1_u7OYVbfAs

7/10

-Mukul Anand made a potboiler which ran on the steam of some memorable characters, a great background score and seeti-inducing dialogues enhanced by Big B.-Nothing great about the plot, music, cinematography though the 1st point more than makes up for the flaws.

7/10

-Karan Malhotra impresses by re-making the movie with creating altogether new, but equally memorable characters led by Kancha and the same old plot.-Better production values, especially the cinematography and also a deeper, emotional connect  for the central character’s pain.

OVERALL 3.5/5 3.5/5

On a personal note, for me the most memorable part of the movie still remains the heart-wrenching verse of Harivansh Rai Bacchan, (beautifully shot under a  banyan tree – which in itself becomes an important character)

Vruksh ho bade bhale,
ho ghane ho bhale,
Ek Patra chhah bhi mang mat, mang mat, mang mat,
Agneepath, Agneepath Agneepath…

Tu na thamega kabhi tu na mudega kabhi tu na rukega kabhi,
Kar shapath, Kar shapath, Kar shapath,
Agneepath, Agneepath, Agneepath…


Ye Mahan Drushya hain,
Chal raha Manushya hain,
Ashru, Sweth, Rakta se Latpat Latpat Latpat..
Agneepath, Agneepath, Agneepath…

Players – Movie Review

Go for Gold, but please don’t dig for it in your nose, which I literally did as the movie went on and on for nearly 3 hours.

First of all, for the bottomline driven – it’s a 2/5 stars for this Abbas-Mustan directed desi rip-off of the Italian Job. And both stars are reserved only for the director-duo who dress like Jeetendra, and usually make tadakedar spaghetti noodles in shudh desi ghee. But this time it’s the 3rd Burmawala brother (the editor), who loses out on an additional star due to the 30 minute overtime.

Plot & Direction:

The storyline stays partially true to the original, only to the extent of being a heist by a motley team of thieves (oops..Players), with a renegade lurking in the shadows. The 1st half is an entertaining straight-laced robbery of a trainload worth of gold, headed from Russia to Romania (Keralites in the movie hall moaned orgasmically, everytime the shine sparkled on screen). Btw, some random world war 1 angle has been inserted to intellectualize a basic ‘chor pe mor’ movie. The 2nd half is where it starts falling apart, as the movie boils down to a long-drawn revenge saga with several inane twists.

It’s not as slick as the original because of the copious bursts of drama, comedy & music forced in, to try and make it a masala poppadom flick.  Only some areas are well covered like the cinematography and beautiful Russian snowy locales. Also a few of the scenes are hilarious (whether they are meant to be or not is a debate, reserved for some other day). Examples: 1) Bipasha Basu adding boosters on the top of a dilapidated train to make it zoom faster! OR 2) Johny Lever’s servant as a Kiwi gora – Ramu Kaka who serves chai, draped in a dada kondke get-up. OR 3) The Russian cribbing about how Indians want to have a song routine, even before having sex. 

Overall, the movie would’ve worked much better as a pure thriller, without these formulaic paraphernalia.

Acting:

Abbas-Mustan has probably managed to pick up a collage of the worst acting talent available in Bollywood and pasted them together on a single screen. Who in his right frame of mind casts Bobby Deol film after film, for those half-closed eyes as an only effort at expression. He certainly doesn’t disappoint with the consistent Arnold-meets-SunnyDeol terminator look as the illusionist of the team. Thankfully, he’s bumped off after some time in the movie, never to be brought back again.


It’s also unbelievable to fathom that this is the same Abhishek Bacchan who gave us Yuva and Guru. He does Dhoom2 all over again, just that he’s the leader of a pack on the other side of law now. He gets maximum screen time, but as Neil rubs it in every few minutes – ‘How Predictable!’… The only impressive performance of the lot is Neil Nitin Mukesh – his third negative portrayal after Johnny Gadar and Saat Khoon Maaf. His effort is laudable, especially once he starts showing his true colors. (He just needs to tan himself a bit more, lest he wants to make his career playing pale, white ghosts in Vikram Bhatt movies)

The computer hacker, Sonam Kapoor’s acting is certainly inspired by her dad. Unfortunately, she chose MI4 for the inspiration where probably Mr. Kapoor was at his worst ever. Her dialogue delivery and acting here, are pedestrian. The automobile expert Bipasha plays her regular bikini babe self, prancing on both sides of the fence. Of the supporting cast, the trapezium-faced Sikandar Kher is ok as the deaf bomb expert and Omi Vaidya provides comic relief in his failed actor-turned-prosthetic expert act.

Vinod Khanna looks jaded playing the Einsteinian guru of all thieves. It’s unintentionally funny to see him being treated like an ACP by the entire police force! That leaves us with Abbas-Mustan’s man friday, Johhny Lever who unfortunately is also an old shadow of his former self, both as MC and BC. (Yeah, he plays a pair of twins named such!) Most of his gags are force-fed to the audience, though couple of them do bring about a chuckle.

Recommendation

Go watch it if you don’t catch up on too many Hollywood movies and you’ll come back reasonably satisfied. Else, give it a skip and catch the Italian Job re-run on HBO some Friday night!

Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara – Movie Review

4 /5 Stars

“Dream what you want to dream, go where you want to go, be what you want to be. Because you only have one life and one chance to do it all.”— Unknown

ZNMD is that road trip, which you’ve always wanted to take but the time hasn’t come yet…Will it ever?

The whiff of freshness in the screenplay, real lifelike characters, beautiful visuals from Spain and Javed Akhtar’s awesome poetry is what makes the movie a must-watch. It works, not because the story or the plot is something innovative – on the contrary there’s nothing new here. (It’s about 3 friends going on a road trip as a bachelor’s pact, before one of them gets married). The movie rather works because it is a slice of life, YOUR life! 4 reasons for the 4 stars:

1) Direction

Zoya Akhtar does it again and how – the screen flows like a mellifluous river which meanders across for 3 laid-back hours. It’s as good as having a piping hot cappuccino on a chilly evening, sitting somewhere at a roadside cafe in Europe. Zoya has managed to make an emotional connect with the audience without bowing down to any sort of formulaic diktats of big budget multi-starrers or even an iota of melodrama. The dialogues, screenplay everything fits into a casual style and is all underplayed with a dash of simple humor, which makes you smile throughout. (Some of the scenes induce more than a chuckle, like the one where the 3 boys break into the Doordarshan tune of 80s in a pissed drunk state). Bollywood certainly needs more female directors!

2) Acting

In a movie premise as simple as this, acting wouldn’t be too much of a problem. Also, there is bonhomie and visibly great chemistry amongst the cast. But 2 people who still stand out of the whole lot are Hrithik Roshan and Farhan Akhtar, for the way they conceal and reveal their pains and misguided focus in life.

Hrithik’s character undergoes a sort of semi-transformation and the one scene highlighting his facial expressions when he comes out of the sea, shows how fast is he achieving mastery over his craft. (And he’s also closest to most of us as a character – the promise to earn a lot of money and retire by the age of 40 is a line we’ve all heard and spoken quire often!). Farhan on the other hand lends spontaneity to his part, mostly as the humor boy with a few well managed serious scenes, which reveal the internal battles he’s grappling with. Katrina Kaif, as usual is the candyfloss and has to maintain a happy-go-lucky tone throughout. (Though she also carries the enviable task of portraying the philosophy of the movie – ‘breathe and live every moment’).

Kalki is the only blah character, who has the stereotypical role of a nagging fiancee. She is quite average in the movie and unfortunately is not eye-candy either. Which leaves us with Abhay who somehow disappoints, despite being the current poster boy of alternate cinema. For starters, he definitely needs voice modulation training, apart from learning to add more layers to his character.

3) Poetry

Javed Akhtar’s poetry is the voice of the movie and the words are one which definitely touch a chord. He pulls out from his bag of tricks, emotions which are buried deep down in everyone’s subconscious – fears, regrets, baggages of the past and stress of the future…Serenity of the presence is what is required in our lives, and he knows very well what we feel deep within. Hats off to the maestro!

4) Spain

Spain as the background character of the movie, is absolutely ravishing in the way it has been captured on celluloid. Be it the serene countryside with feral horses running around, the Tomatino festival, the cobblestone streets or the bull-race in the finale. It is a vivid celebration of color and life under the Spanish sky.

The only star I would deduct is because of a slight slack in the starts, both at the beginning of the movie, as well as post-interval. The 20 odd minutes don’t hold you as well as rest of the film. Also, as far as the music is concerned it flows with the movie, but wouldn’t sound that awesome as a standalone OST. Nothing spectacular on that front, actually.

So go ahead, have a great weekend and live it up ‘cos ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’!

“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” — Diane Ackerman

The Secret Diary of KRK

Dear Diary,
Jay mata di! I am really castrated today…
  • Here potty is not happening since morning and that Aamir Khan fellow is making hit movies about shit and the butt cracks of random, unknown fools. I keep asking Taran Adarsh for the Delhi Belly collection reports, calling him sirjee also, but he doesn’t even retweet my tweets. I hope it doesn’t beat the record of the biggest hit of world cinema DeshDrohi…I hear some Hollywood boys are planning to copy my script, but I will crush their balls with my bare hands, if they don’t dare to dream beyond Bollywood.
  • Saw Murder2 yesterday, fell in love all over again – so much oomph, sexiness and adaa, want to lip locks with Emraan. Will make Deshdrohi part 2 with him, John and myself. I shall pay 10 cr to John Abraham and he has to pay me 15 cr fine if the film will not be blockbuster. It will be a cunt film like Dil Chahta hai – but with 3 guys fighting for bharat mata’s independence from rascals like Golum Nabi Azaad who think man loving man is a disease.
  • On the politics news this week, Rahul Gandhi is copying my ideas and walking all over India in villages and tiltilating my fanbase with some random offerings of correct market price on land. I want to give kiss and hugs to all the farmers in UP, and give them a percentage of the collections from my unreleased movie – a joint collaboration with that ponytail guy Arindham – ‘Thok Sako to Thok Lo’
  • I will be flying Emirates Airlines tomorrow to go from Mumbai to Pune for my 17th business – it is all crazy. I feel hungry on the flights but they always make mistake and give me gulab jamuns and bairs in the name of fruits. I’ve asked them to come to my village and understand what are called as fruits. Tomatoes, onions and potatoes are fruits – fly you fools!
  • More next week, till then let me leave you with my favorite quote, which I have created like all great philosophers of our age like Sonia Gandhiji and A R Rahman.
I love all good and patriotic people and I hate all Deshdrohis and bad peoples. – Kalaam R Kahn