Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fire Extinguished

“You saw Agneepath?” “No!” “Full of fighting, man.” That was the 90s. That was when the age was still a single digit. That was me being told why I need to watch this one movie without wasting a moment. I wasted a few before I actually did. “Fighting”? I loved.

Over the years, I saw it again and a few times more. Over the years, I also picked up a DVD. (Over the years, I also saw Scarface.) Over the years, I got my thrills hearing, “Vijay Dinanath Chauhan….poora naam”.

Years later there arrives another movie, incidentally also called Agneepath, allegedly a tribute. I am older now. Try “atthais saal, chhah mahina, aath din…ye unneesva ghanta chal raha hai…maloom (28 years 6 months 9 days.…19th hour this…dig)?”

This time around, I merrily hop to the movies. I have been told it is a must watch. I have been told it is way beyond the original. I have been told it is the lead actor’s finest performance. I have not been told my heroes are going to die a terrible death.

To cut a long story short (and I wish Karan Johar did that too), this was not what I ordered. Agneepath (2012 film) as Wikipedia loves to say -- fail, fail, fail almost everywhere.

Now where do I begin? How about the time I dropped my BlackBerry holster the minute I sat (For all you Agneepath – 2012 film lovers who will ask, ‘Why did you not walk out if you hated it from the very beginning?’)? It is an expensive holster and I had to wait till the very end for the lights to be turned on. So, thank you very much.

What is happening, boss? I know you wouldn’t want me to compare it with the original because you apparently have tried reinventing the movie altogether. I won’t. And even then, what is happening, boss?

I have to give it to the team for actually not copy pasting the original. Good move! Being a part of a heavy metal band in India, I know the flak we receive when we cover a classic song. Why did we not play an original composition? Why did we not reinvent the song if we were so keen on covering it? Same logic. So good show there.

The original was not without its flaws. I would not be in blind awe of it. But the grand manner the story was told; how could you miss that bloody point? My basic trouble with your version? Your characters and the way they were essayed.

I was bloody excited to see the way Hrithik Roshan interprets Vijay Dinanath Chauhan. I was bloody sad eventually. Of course, he should not have based it on Amitabh Bachchan. He didn’t. Some may say, successfully so, I see it as an absolute disappointment. This is not about Bachchan, this is about Chauhan!

You see, the grand daddy of all fictitious Indian angry men convinced me that he was a man on a mission. He was wronged and he was out to kick your damned ass. You know what? His character had style because he was Chauhan in the story and not Amitabh Bachchan. No you cannot pick an eye candy and try to tell me that this guy has learnt his lessons the hard way and watch out, revenge will be sweet. I would like to think there is a certain intensity that comes with this particular protagonist and a mere trembling of the fingers, a loud scream and slow motion fail to bring it out.

Years ago, I saw a movie, I liked. It was called Mission Kashmir. Incidentally, it featured the same actors at war with each other. I loved Sanjay Dutt. I could not stand Roshan. I mean, here is a guy who has very valid reasons for his anger. He wants to burn the world down, shoot the person responsible for his woes at sight but what does he do? Oh! He screams, he screams at the drop of a hat. That was Altaaf. Years later, it is the same Altaaf who becomes Vijay Chauhan.

Do you really want me to believe Roshan looked even for a bit as a leader of men, a mobster with a plan? Not for a moment did I even feel for the character. Hell! I even screamed out loud after he is stabbed multiple times, “Why doesn’t this man fucking die”! I didn’t feel the same when Bachchan was shot several times and came out alive and kicking.

Not for a moment does the 2012 Vijay Chauhan evoke any sort of sympathy. And to remember 1990 when Chauhan comes home to dine with his family or heads to Commissioner Gaitonde’s den to warn him before his family or when he goes out dining with his girlfriend at an upscale restaurant. Each time he is reminded, he is a ‘goonda’, you feel sorry for him. When this edition tries to replicate, you just yawn.

Kancha minus Cheena (minus hair)? What. The. Fuck. If you want a Voldemort, remake Harry Potter. Since when did being evil have to do with looking straight out of a graphic novel? Once again, remember the hairy Kancha? Now that was one suave evil sonofabitch! He didn’t have to go out of his way to make his intentions apparent. Once more, the character, mind you; this is not Danny Denzongpa versus Sanjay Dutt. What is with his cheesy pseudo dialogues right out of the Gita? Once more, was Dutt’s character convincing? Not to me by a mile.

Not for once I am biased about the two actors. I’ve seen enough movies to know better than point fingers at their talent and that is why my problem is with the ones responsible for such shoddy storytelling.

Fine, the unwanted characters were done away with. Thank God there is no one to compete with the corniness of Neelam or Madhavi or Avatar Gill, Sharat Saxena and the other, I forget. But what about the ones those were not? Some justice to them? No? Ok!

Commissioner Gaitonde is reduced to a sorry cop who has nothing to do, nothing at all in the movie. In fond memory of Vikram Gokhale. Why the need for Azhar Lala (Deven Bhojani)? Where does the power of Suhasini Chauhan disappear with Zarina Wahab?

Why in the name of God does everybody have to break into a song and dance at every possible excuse? Oh, that is Bollywood, is it?

A brother’s not at all happy with the arrangement that his sister is not aware of his existence and there you are, the whole slum needs to start dancing to express solidarity in grief and what is worse, the brother soon starts dancing too.

Supposedly intense is the scene when Commissioner Gaitonde approaches Chauhan with words of wisdom as the latter is on his way to end Kaancha (and my misery). What is with what that follows? Chauhan’s girlfriend is sending her man to the front? Oh! My! Fucking! God! And then Chauhan decides to put his “war” at hold….and get married.

The story fails to remain consistent. The moment you think Chauhan will be up to something his girlfriend turns up to spoil the party, his sister decides to show up demanding a picnic and what not?

“Time please, Sir. I have suddenly decided to get married and another song (terrible like the rest) has to fit in” or “Kancha! Chill for a bit. The sister is here and I need to hit the beach with balloons…and guess what…sing another song.”

Just a few hours it has been since I’ve returned from the movie hall and I can’t remember one single dialogue from the 2012 edition. Over two decades and I still remember “Hawa tej chalta hai Dinkar Rao, topi sambhalo, udd jaayega”, “Bandook bhi dikhata hai aur peechhe bhi hatta hai” and some more. Do we miss the Salim-Javeds and the Kader Khans of the industry? Yes, we do.

It doesn’t have to be forever cloudy in Mandva to tell me that it is one fucked up place ruled by the Devil Himself. Karan Johar and Karan Malhotra need not be reminded time and again that it is a movie and not DC Comics.

Goddammit, it is a revenge saga. That 7 year old wanted some “fighting”. This 28 year old wanted an intense storyline or at least something that “looked” like it. Not a bloody glossy family drama.

Not all of it was hopeless though. While Krishnan Aiyar YUM YAY was missed, Rauf Lala more than compensated. What a performance, Mr. Rishi Kapoor! Who would’ve thought? Now that is fucking evil. No dumb make-up, no over the top screen presence but you want to tear into the screen and rip Lala’s head off. I think the last time I felt something like that was watching Denzel Washington play Alonzo Harris in Training Day. That motherfucker deserved to die (Both Lala and Harris).

Priyanka Chopra as Kali, if forgiven certain corny shades is definitely preferred over Madhavi’s Mary. A little more development of the Kali character sure wouldn’t have hurt.

But that is me! I regret watching this piece of crap and I can’t say that enough. I regret my slippery BlackBerry holster worse though.

And I didn’t mention Chikni Chameli because I didn’t care enough to. Katrina Kaif does make a better option than Archana Puran Singh who is busy laughing somewhere. Singh judges comedy shows, I hear. Nice!


All roads fiery as Biprorshee