Movie Review: 'Agneepath'

'Agneepath(2012)'; Starring: Rishi Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Om Puri; Written and Directed by Karan Malhotra; Rating: ****

Friday, January 27, 2012 | 10:18:09 AM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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rishi kapoor in agneepath movie

'Agneepath(2012)'; Starring: Rishi Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Hrithik Roshan, Priyanka Chopra, Om Puri; Written and Directed by Karan Malhotra. 

Long before the damsel in the den Katrina Kaif signs her writhe petition 'junta ke naam', the film's imposing villain and by extension the film, have written their destiny. In bold bloodied letters. E-mail didn't exist in the 1990s.

Sanjay Dutt as Kancha lording over a no-man's-land called Mandwa where the only law that exists is lawlessness is so formidable in his vile antics, you fear for the hero, a decent bloke with eyes that tell a million untold stories.

Hrithik Roshan opts for a perfectly-tuned low-pitched performance to offset Sanjay Dutt's larger-than-life diabolism. The combination of the flamboyant and the understated works.

This is Agneepath Retold or Agneepath Deconstructed. Either way, the revenge formula never seemed more rousing in its invocation of Good and Evil in their most elementary avatars.

Debutant writer-director Karan Malhotra has chosen to restructure one of the most complex but unsuccessful Amitabh Bachchan starrer. The plot leaps at you through its sanguinary design, building brick by brick an edifice of low-life and high-drama.

This new-rage 'Agneepath' retains the core of Mukul Anand's failed drama. And yes, it retains Harivnansh Rai's 'Agneepath' poem, though, alas, we don't get to hear Amitabh Bachchan recite the lines.

Karan Malhotra's script alters many of the original's dramatic moments, adds new characters (most notable among them, Rishi Kapoor's Rauf Lala), and finally fine-tunes and assimilates the plot's subliminal statement on crime and retribution to a pitch where we often hear the screaming protests of social inequality through the protagonist's pain-lashed expressions of angst, disgust and rebellion rather than his words.

agneepath movie

Hrithik Roshan opts for a subdued interpretation of his vengeful character where he could've easily been larger-than-life. He lets Sanjay Dutt take charge of the blizzard of the bravura.

Sanjay Dutt is delightfully in form. During the 'Chikni chameli' song when he quizzes the newly-arrived Mandwa-resident Vijay on why he's where he is, Sanjay's eyes go from the molten to the melting...His best in years.

But the finest performance comes from Rishi Kapoor. Playing a loathsome flesh trader and drug dealer who takes Vijay under his wings, he delivers a bludgeoning homage to skin-crawling villainy. A glorious departure from his lover-boy image.

The prolonged sequence where Hrithik Roshan takes on Rishi Kapoor is the single-most riveting episode of filmed violence in Indian cinema since Gabbar Singh's mayhem over the Thakur's family in Sholay.

'Agneepath' works so wonderfully within its high-voltage 'masala maad-dhaad' genre because of the actors who instinctively grasp the street-level gut-wrenching grammar of Malhotra's storytelling.

Barring Priyanka Chopra who seems strangely cosmetic in a land of looming credibility, every character shines through the crime-drama maze.

The action sequences by Abbas Ali Mogul convey rawness. Every blow that Hrithik Roshan so manfully receives on his chin makes you flinch. You wait for him to give back as good as he gets.

This is not a film for the faint-hearted. Its basic structure and the leitmotif of the 'tree of death' (where Vijay Chauhan's father was hanged and where his wrongdoer will finally meet his nemesis) draw audiences into a vortex of viciousness and sadism.

katrina kaif still in agneepath's(2012) Chikni Chameli

This is a dark brooding world; this is a world where the laws of retribution and redemption are re-written according to who rules the underworld. This is 'Agneepath' where the poet gets hanged and the pervert gets promoted.

Karan Malhotra revels in the language of commercial Hindi cinema. The characters in Vijay's chawl are all good-hearted. Every character in Kancha's kingdom is a creep or a coward. The battle lines are tightly drawn. The pace is breakneck.

The mob scenes of violence and religion often merge on the streets of Mumbai and in the lawless backwaters of the imaginary Mandwa. The narrative features a Gokul Ashthami matki-breaking sequence at the start and a Ganesh visarjan sequence towards the end, both shot spectacularly on Mumbai streets.

The background music is a suitable banshee of memories and pain. Since Hrithik Roshan has chosen the language of understatement to portray the wronged wounded social outcast Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, it is up to the eloquence-level of the soundtrack to supplement the hero's stunning silences.

Every component of the film falls into place, with a resounding thump. 'Agneepath' is brilliant in its brutality. It's a riveting and hectic homage to the spirit of the cinema when revenge reigned supreme. And content was King. This new 'Agneepath' takes us back to the era when there was no computer or cellphones. And communication with the audience was immediate and electrifying.

Relive that tingling sensation of watching the hero get his groove back. In gory detail.

Rating: **** (Four Star)

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Posted on: 25 May 2017 at 8:28pm
It is really a outstanding movie and all songs of the movie are very nice and in this movie Hrithik Roshan's acting is amazing.

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Posted on: 06 February 2012 at 3:37am
Yes,I liked the article the movie is supereb and the review is nice too...

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Posted on: 31 January 2012 at 5:14am
omg this movie is really super hit movie ...

1 member(s) Liked the above comment :

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Posted on: 30 January 2012 at 5:36am
ohh god, watched agneepath yesterday...magical...
i luv d new vijay dinanath chauhan...hats offf Hrithik, he just stole d show...
alll d oder bollywood actors shud b aashamed of demselvs aftr seeing hrithik acting...luvvv himmm

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Posted on: 29 January 2012 at 9:10pm
omg i gone in to transe state after seeing your acting hrithik. so much feelings that too with eyes only. you are just uncomparable hrithik.

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kinara.sara, jp_mars, prassy.kavi

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Posted on: 29 January 2012 at 8:05pm
you are too good as vijay and how lovely you potrayed that character. you totally rocked in agneepath.

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kinara.sara, lallikavita, prassy.kavi, jp_mars

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Posted on: 29 January 2012 at 6:53pm
hrithik you are outstanding. love your emotions.

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kinara.sara, lallikavita, prassy.kavi, jp_mars, miss.ara

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Posted on: 28 January 2012 at 8:19pm
just watched it yesterday loved the movie

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sweety2141976, lallikavita, kinara.sara, jp_mars, prassy.kavi, miss.ara

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Posted on: 28 January 2012 at 9:58am
Im goin 2mrw 2 watch it!!!

thnks fr the review!! cant wait 2 go fr it :)

6 member(s) Liked the above comment :
priyankaberry, lallikavita, kinara.sara, jp_mars, prassy.kavi, miss.ara

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Posted on: 28 January 2012 at 8:18am
Hrithik was amazing and magical one of his best performances yet. Sanjay Dutt and Rishi Kapoor are brillant..and give you the chills espically when kancha laughs crazily..Priyanka does well in her role although i felt it doesnt make differnece in the story...but a special mention for me goes to the young actor who plays the younger Hrithik/Vijay...a talented young wonder...welldone cast and crew of agneepath...

Edited on:28 January 2012 at 8:19am

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