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Joined: 02 November 2007
Sajid Khan's Himmatwala has opened poorly across India on Friday. The opening was as low as 25-30% at multiplexes in Urban cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon.. to name a few. Reports from Bangalore, Mangalore (which come under the Mysore circuit) are worse as the occupancy was below 20% for the morning shows.
The response at mass-centres (Rajasthan, UP/Bihar) was better, 50% for the morning shows and around 55-60% for the noon shows. But the overall occupancy was lower than Ajay Devgn's last release Son Of Sardar.
A lot more was expected out of Himmatwala, as the film had a wide release (3000 screens) on a National Holiday. If business at multiplexes picks up over the course of the day, the film could put up decent opening day figures.
Joined: 02 November 2007
Sajid makes an attempt to pay homage to the cinema of yore, but what he delivers makes you sit motionless for most parts. If a movie fails to invoke wolf whistles or ovation at the right places, you realize something is seriously wrong. The biggest problem is Sajid does nothing, absolutely nothing out of the box or path-breaking in the current scenario to grab your attention, which is why HIMMATWALA fails as a film. The romance lacks fire, the drama is devoid of intensity, even the action is plain ordinary… Frankly, HIMMATWALA has nothing that warrants a repeat viewing.
While harsh words ain't really my style of expressing, it is the turmoil Sajid Khan unnecessarily puts us through that gives mouth to the imp inside me. Luckily, the director refrains from recreating the original scene by scene, sparing us anymore pathos than the film already is. However, he deserves credit for understanding the 80s' genre of cinema in all its ornate frames and glossy flamboyance, almost alien to most of us bred largely in the nourishing air of intelligent contemporary cinema.
Ajay Devgn plays to the gallery. He mouths loud dialogues, dons ridiculously garish clothes, hobbles his way through the dances, fights a tiger and does unbelievable stunts. In one scene he heaves a bullock cart and throws it -- sans the bull -- at the goons, sending them flying back in the direction they came from. Tamannaah dances well but doesn't act half as good. Paresh Rawal is the only source of respite in Himmatwala. As the droll and derisive sidekick of the antagonist, he's surely funny at times. Mahesh Manjrekar as the huffing, puffing, nostril flaring sarpanch overdoes his part. On the sidelines, Adhyayan Suman and Asrani are wasted.
Himmatwala is Sajid Khan's first film without Akshay Kumar. But in Ajay Devgn, he finds an equally willing ally. So banish all illusions of a better deal.
This isn't of course an exact copy. The director makes freewheeling changes both in terms of characters and situations. But no amount of tweaking can do much to save this piece of tawdry twaddle from being a complete washout.
The comedy sequences do their bit and so do the breathtaking action sequences. Fans of Devgn can look forward to his fist fight with a tiger and get swayed into the world of fantasies. But the portions where Zarina Wahab mouths "sentimental" dialogues (though they are meant to make you go teary eyed), you can't help but burst into laughter.
While talking about his remake… oops… rewrite, Sajid had proudly said that we wouldn't have seen Ajay Devgn in such a role before. Right Sajid, no director has ever wasted a powerhouse of talent like Ajay like you did (of course, not to forget your predecessor, David Dhawan in Rascals). Ajay's entry, which according to Sajid was supposed to be one of the top three hero entries of Hindi cinema, is simply average. Sajid, you lose the bet, there was nothing for people to whistle and clap… we want our money back! The filmmaker had also made it clear that he personally doesn't approve of superficial action sequences in films as it's out of fashion. But then here we have Ajay knocking down 20 imported bouncers using temple bells and even lifting a bullock cart, minus the animal thankfully.
Anyway, I revisited the Jeetendra-Sridevi starrer again recently for the sake of this article. Barring Kader Khan's (whom I admire unconditionally for sheer cheek) geography-dependent humour, dotty camaraderie with a rifle-toting Amjad Khan and Sri-Jeetu's sprightly jhatka-matkas to loony lyrics, I didn't find Himmatwala anything more than a formulaic masala about oppressive village landlords being taught a lesson, spoilt rich shrews begging to be tamed, destitute mother-sister duo with an ever-ready supply of glycerine and a string of jarring sub-plots to prolong its third act.
Khan has a dry sense of humor and that comes across not just while talking to him, but also while watching his films.No other film maker might have thought of usingwords like 'YouTube' and 'Nazi' in his one liners and got away scot-free.If this was his first film, the jokes might havebeen marginally funny, but revisiting the same formulaic routines to create humor is like trying to pump air into a flat tyre that's already about to burst. The sequence with the tiger who doesn't look menacing enough fails to have the right roar.
I expected Himmatwala to be predictable, not only because I have faint memories of the older film, but because it follows such a template. I also expected it to be annoying, and it doesn't disappoint on both scores. But I didn't think it would be so dull. There's a spot when Devgn, blood dripping from his hand, tells his leading lady: 'yeh 1983 hai yaar, dupatta phaado aur baandh do'. We smile at this line. Because it is a smart send-up of the films we used to love despite themselves. If this Himmatwala had adopted that tone and kept it flowing through the film, it would have been something to watch. Devgn manages to get it in a couple of moments, but only in a couple.
You cozy yourself in the chair, expecting to be entertained. And that is exactly what Sajid does and manages to maintain the momentum throughout the first half. But what really brings all his hard work apart is his eagerness to throw more twists and turns into the already well-twisted plot.
Sajid Khan Direction, Script is not up to the mark. Movie failed in comedy sequences. Technically, he has given a glossier look to the Himmatwala, which is good. Composed of a few impossible to read instruct, the film drags on its hard work for a throbbing two and half hours. Boring dialogues in the complete film. Editing is not up to the mark. The music is well-mannered in all areas of the movie. Cinematography is good.
Except that Ajay Devgn plays the 'Himmatwala' Ravi this time. The heroine, hired because she could pass for Sri Devi, is the 'Hunterwali' with a leash in her hands that she strikes at her driver because he didn't come to pick her up from the station. "I hate gareebs," she mutters repeatedly, two 'city girls' in strange skirts and hats nod. This isn't exactly how she is after her brief intro. Exactly at what point does she start loving the gareebs and is willing to destroy her wealthy villain father is an existentialist question we would much rather avoid. There is too much fun to be had otherwise.
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