Deepa Gahlot: Reviewing the Reviews of Agneepath

30 Jan,2012



Key Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Sanjay Dutt, Rishi Kapoor & Om Puri


Directed By: Karan Malhotra


Screenplay by: Ila Dutta Bedi & Karan Malhotra, based on Mukul S Anand’s Agneepath


Produced by: Karan Johar


It happens very rarely that critics are mostly in agreement and so is the audience. It was generally agreed that Karan Malhotra’s Agneepath remake, hit the spot, reminding everybody what was appealing about Bollywood formula flicks before filmmakers started trying to crossover. Simple revenge plots kept Bollywood chugging through most of the seventies and eighties, and it does look like moviegoers never forgot the taste of masala.


With the exception of a couple of pans, and a couple of inordinate 4.5 kind of raves, a lot of critics gave Agneepath three star ratings, and everybody raved about Hrithik Roshan, Rishi Kapoor as villain; Sanjay Dutt as the bald-headed baddie got his share of kudos too.


Was the 1990 Agneepath really such a cult film as it is now being made out to be?


Karan Bali of who obviously kept track writes, “One was surprised when the decision to remake Agneepath was announced. Especially, since though the 1990 version is (now) regarded as some sort of cult film (I wonder why), it is actually little more than a standard revenge story of the hero after his father is killed with several shades of Deewaar and Scarface thrown in already giving it a strong sense of deja vu. And of course there was the whole shoo shaa of Mr Bachchan’s ‘different’ voice (did not work) and his getting the National Award for Best Actor. With due respect to all, Agneepath (to me) has always been a highly overrated film as has been Big B’s performance. Sivakumar can rightly consider himself robbed when the National Awards for the films of 1990 were announced and his absolutely brilliant work in Marupakkam lost out to Agneepath.”


Shubhra Gupta of the Indian Express writes, “This one is more an adaptation than a faithful remake of the 1990 original. Which is a good thing, because with the new characters and plotpoints, and minus some of the old stuff, the 2012 ‘Agneepath’ becomes its own film, which works precisely because it’s both a tribute and a stylish re-invention of the 70’s-spilling-into-the-80s retribution formula.”


Sukanya Varma of also concurs, headlining her piece ‘Agneepath less of a remake, more of a tribute. “The name, the man, the voice, the aura bears a lot of weight, the kind that’s impossible to measure. Or live up to. A multitude of films, including Mukul S Anand’s Agneepath, celebrate this indescribable draw he enjoys enhanced through sharply-written scenes and/or technical wizardry. Not everyone has such resonance among the audience. Realising this inadequacy rather humbly, the makers of the new Agneepath take an altogether fresh approach to its 22-year-old source. Remakes, however, are a slippery territory. They invite inevitable comparison and yet aspire for an exclusive identity.”


Mayank Shekhar of The Hindustan Times justifies his 3 stars thus: “An earnest Vijay Dinanath Chauhan delivers poetic justice before a nearly packed hall on the proverbial ‘first day first show’. Audiences at my cinema respond to the cues and lines. The comments passed sometimes distract you from the screen. Everyone guffaws at the same time. This is the kind of genuine theatre experience, now getting rare, which remains most precious in the life of a film-goer. Reason can take over later. I had a ball!”


Komal Nahata of was one of the ‘ravers’. “Director Karan Malhotra has handled the revenge drama with authority and he makes a fantastic first impression in his debut directorial venture. He is in total command of the subject and his cast and not only extracts great work from out of the actors but also keeps the audience engaged in the drama which unfolds on the screen. The man knows his art and craft and also seems to understand the commercial side of filmmaking. He is producer Karan Johar’s New Year gift to the industry just as this film is Johar’s Republic Day gift to the audience.”


So was Taran Adarsh of “On the whole, Agneepath is a fitting tribute to the masterwork. The movie has all the potential to scale dizzy heights of victory and catapult Hrithik Roshan as the newest member of the Rs100 crore club, besides providing the Hindi film industry with the first giant blockbuster of 2012. A definite winner!


Rajeev Masand of IBNlive found it well made but too long. “Debutant director Karan Malhotra’s re-telling of Mukul Anand’s 1990 vendetta movie ‘Agneepath’ is a glossy, well-acted production. Compared to recent ‘mass entertainers’ that tend to lazily sacrifice story and plot for retro-style action and star appeal, this remake rolls along like a well-oiled machine. And yet, after watching three hours of stabbing, gunfire, blasts, and hand-to-hand fighting, you realize the film is somewhat crippled by its over-indulgent length.”


Sanjukta Sharma of Livemint was, however, left cold. “The film is made on a wide, impressive scale, and the cinematography by Kiran Deohans and Ravi K. Chandran makes it visually a celebration of colour and chaos. Everything about this Agneepath is over-emphasized. And at a running time of 3 hours, it is a test of your patience.”


And Mihir Fadnavis of Mumbaiboss rants: “Karan Malhotra’s debut sits in a patch somewhere between a shameless cash grab and a callow vanity project. What is certain though, is that the film is compulsively horrible and full of unintentionally hilarious OTT drama. It’s been over 20 years since Big B’s Agneepath released, but there is not a shred of freshness to be found in the new version. The movie leaves absolutely nothing whatsoever for the viewer to digest – Mr Johar and Co just offer a frozen cadaver of Bollywood tripe and expect it to be reheated by paying audiences who can find nothing else in their fridges to snack on. It’s hard to say what’s worse, the film’s utter lack of entertainment value or the unabashed condescension towards its viewers.”


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One response to “Deepa Gahlot: Reviewing the Reviews of Agneepath”

  1. Kirankarthik89 says:

    Disappointing film…..eventhough i am a hrithik fan.
    Damn Story….bad direction….bakwaas sentiments….not an entertainer….
    waste of money!!!!!!
    wt happened to Hindi movies ????? !!!!!!…. y the standard of hindi movies are going down

    poor film……saw agneepath with much excitement…..Disappointed, disappointed…disappointed……..Directors must learn to direct well from South Director Shankar.

    No good script writer left in Hindi Industry.????…..poor film…

    Bakwaas movie

    But full marks for CHIKNI CHAMELI !!!