Movie Review: AGNEEPATH (2012) – Remaking A Classic, Successfully
A couple of months ago, I did a Preview for this remake of a classic, called AGNEEPATH. After watching the new AGNEEPATH, I am blown away, and can honestly say, that it’s one of the best Bollywood movies of 2012.
Rating: 4 Out Of 5 Stars
Usually in remakes, I’ll compare and show the contrast between the original and the remake, however AGNEEPATH (2012) was such a great piece of storytelling in its own right, that no comparisons are required.
AGNEEPATH is the title of a poem, which speaks about always doing the right thing, despite obstacles, and walking the path of fire. (direct translation of ‘Agneepath’.) This is the philosophy of a teacher in a small town village, who gets framed and murdered, by a man whose plans of illegal drug trade, are being interfered with due to the teacher’s righteous ways. The teacher’s family gets exiled from this village, and goes through a lot of hardships.
Suffering many hardships in the big city, the son of this teacher, decides to warp his father’s own teachings and vows revenge on the man who killed his Dad. It’s a very old-school classic tale of avenging one’s father, and all that great stuff classic films are made of.
AGNEEPATH has Hrithik Roshan as Vijay, at times paying direct homages to Amitabh Bachchan’s portrayal of the same character in the original film. The best part about this AGNEEPATH is the screenplay and execution by the director.
AGNEEPATH has awesome performances, mostly by the leading man Hrithik, as he goes through a range of emotions of playing an avenging son, an exiled boy, an anonymous brother, an ambitious gangster, a reluctant lover; all of which he plays to perfection. If Hrithik Roshan’s ability as an actor hasn’t shone through before this film, then let it be known now!
Sanjay Dutt as the vile and villainous Kancha does his bit so perfectly, that I doubt I can ever watch him again, without feeling enraged. A brilliant performance as a religious evil man, who relies on his brains as much as his brawn! Then we enter Villain No. 2: Rishi Kapoor as Lala.
The most surprising performance here HAS to be Rishi Kapoor, known more these days for his cute, and lovable father routines. This time, Kapoor fires back with a revolting role as a Mobster, specializing in the pimping of underage girls. Yes, Rishi Kapoor, whoring out pre-teens in AGNEEPATH. If that doesn’t make one watch this movie, I don’t know what will!
The supporting cast was great in their respective bits. Om Puri was doing his usual aged cop routine. Priyanka Chopra was excellent as ‘the girl’ in this totally action driven, male dominated fare.
But, the cream of the crop of all these performances has to be the Director’s, Karan Malhotra. A relative newcomer in the Indian Film Industry, Malhotra kicks ass with AGNEEPATH. Cinematographer Ravi K. Chandan styles each shot so beautifully, giving each locale it’s own unique identity. The bright and cheerful slums, the eerily creepy Kancha’s village are handled so seamlessly by the Cinematographer, that one has to notice. Not to mention Malholtra’s framing of each shot, utilized to give the scene that much more of a dramatic effect. Just brilliant!
Each scene of AGNEEPATH is carefully structured to give the next scene it’s own punch and flair. The story never lets up, and paces itself brilliantly to such a crescendo of amazing-ness that… one’s left catching their breath at the last frame.
AGNEEPATH is not the typical Bollywood fare. Sure, it’s got its song and dance routines, but the graphic violence and content is unexpected. The story itself, featuring a village, and righteousness also seems like it would be a little lost on today’s audience. However, the execution and writing of AGNEEPATH make it an exhilarating ride from beginning to end.
During the viewing of AGNEEPATH, I laughed, I cried, I raged in anger, I moped… it’s a great story, executed even better by Karan Malhotra. AGNEEPATH is a must watch for anyone that loves actions films, dramatic films, or films in general.
Very well told story, and despite it’s running time of 2 hours and 40 minutes, AGNEEPATH never seems like it’s dragging or as being too lengthy. AGNEEPATH is the perfect retelling of an original classic, without having to change the setting or time that the story is set in, and still have it be a relevant film for it’s audience.
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