Release Date: 26th January 2012
Director: Karan Malhotra
Star Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt, Priyanka Chopra, Rishi Kapoor
Rating ***1/2 / 5
Before I begin the review, I have to be brutally honest – I have not yet managed to watch the original 90’s classic cult version with Amitabh Bachchan. Therefore, this review will look at Hrithk Roshan’s Agneepath (as I like to call it – because the film completely belongs to him) as a stand-alone film.
Don’t be mistaken, the film is filled with tragedy and violence and is definitely not for the faint hearted. The story begins in the year 1977 in the small village of Mandwa, where local schoolteacher Dinanath Chauhan (Chetan Pandit) is unjustly killed at the hands of evil villain and drug dealer Kancha (Sanjay Dutt).
His son Vijay witnesses the brutal murder in front of his very eyes and after leaving the village for Mumbai alongside his pregnant mother, he joins a gang belonging to Kancha’s rival run by drug-don Rauf Lala (Rishi Kapoor), in a bid to get revenge for his fathers death.
Fifteen years on we are introduced to Vijay (Hrithik Roshan) who is happy working with a drug dealer and pimp and taking other peoples lives to achieve his own personal goal. Yet the director attempts to show us his softer side by revealing how all of his earnings are given to charity, and through his love for his sister Shiksha and respect for police commissioner Gaitonde (Om Puri).
Amid the dramatic 90’s plot and intense action scenes there is a bit of comedy to ease the tension through Vijay’s love interest Kaali (Priyanka Chopra), who apart from providing a few laughs and looking pretty doesn’t have all that much to do in the film (or have any significance to the plot).
Throughout the film, we hear some gutsy dialogues penned by Piyush Mishra (which were commonly used back in the old days), some very chilling and violent action scenes as the two main gangs cross paths, and witness some great direction by debutant director Karan Malhotra.
Hrithik Roshan is simply brilliant essaying the role of Vijay. While he has that unstoppable violent streak which charges him along to get revenge, we can see the anguish and pain in his eyes as he vows to protect his sister and make Kancha suffer for killing his father. Sanjay Dutt is very menacing as Kancha and you can almost feel a chill down your spine as you see how he’s turned the one-time happy village of Mandwa into something described as being similar to one of Hitler’s concentration camps.
The real surprise for me was seeing Rishi Kapoor playing the role of mafia Rauf Lala. It’s astonishing to see a man who was never associated with negative roles just glide through effortlessly! He proves yet again just how good of an actor he is. Chetan Pandit was also a great choice to play the masterji, while Arish Bhiwandiwala, who portrays the young Vijay, is superb. Om Puri and Priyanka Chopra do well with what they have.
The negatives for me were sadly the songs. Although choreographed well and composed well by Ajay and Atul Gogavale, sadly they unnecessarily ate into the already extended timely length of the film. And even though Vijay’s relationship with Shiksha was touching, it was a little over the top to see the entire chawl celebrating the birthday of a girl who hadn’t even visited them yet.
The film begins with a tragedy and sadly also ends on a tragic note with the original Agneepath poem. Whether or not you’ve seen the original – go watch this one for Hrithik Roshan!
Check out the video below to hear the public review on Agneepath: