Everyone is aware that Agneepath is a remake of the classic 1990 film, in which Amitabh Bachchan immortalised the character of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan. Hrithik Roshan takes over the mantle of the legendary character in this remake, with debutant Karan Malhotra helming the film.
Agneepath begins in the village Mandva, where Master Dinanath Chauhan (Chetan Pandit) is falsely implicated by Kancha (Sanjay Dutt), and is brutally murdered by the village residents and Kancha, in front of his son Vijay. After this incident, Vijay and his mother (Zarina Wahab) land up in Mumbai, where they set up home. Vijay, however, is drawn to a life of crime, working for Kancha's arch enemy Rauf Lala (Rishi Kapoor), with the view of returning to Mandva to take revenge on Kancha. 15 years pass by, and a grown up Vijay (Hrithik Roshan), who is in love with his neighbour Kali (Priyanka Chopra), starts to put his plan in action.
This remake has done away with some of the well loved characters from the original (Krishnan Iyer MA), and introduced some new characters (Rauf Lala and Kali). While the re-imagining of the original film is admirable (rather than making a frame-for-frame remake), not all of the new characters make a mark. Kali is an unnecessary add-on for the Bollywood cliche of a love story and a couple of songs.
In his past couple of films, Hrithik Roshan has been following the Shahrukh Khan route, where his star persona has overtaken the character. Luckily this is not the case with Agneepath, where he gives a fiery performance. Priyanka Chopra is passable as Kali, but as mentioned before, the character is completely unnecessary. Zarina Wahab is fast becoming the stock Dharma mother, and passes muster in her role. Sanjay Dutt is suitably menacing as Kancha, but all actors in this film are overshadowed by Rishi Kapoor. He lives the role of Rauf Lala, and his sheer presence on the screen disgusts people.
Chikni Chameli took India by storm (and Katrina Kaif looks and dances tremendously in the item number), but unfortunately, this has taken centre stage of a good soundtrack. Gun Gun Guna, although a good song, seems to have been inserted into the film for Priyanka to have another song to dance to at award functions. Shah Ka Rutba, Deva Shri Ganesha, and Abhi Mujhme Kahin have all been well incorporated into the film, and have been tuned well by Ajay Atul.
Karan Malhotra does have the directorial talent to create an engaging film, and some part of the screenplay do keep you hooked, but the film suffers from two fatal flaws. Firstly, at almost 2 hours 45 minutes, the film is extremely long by modern standards. Secondly, it is relentlessly violent.
All in all, Agneepath is a fairly engaging film, although as expected, this cannot be compared to Mukul Anand's original.
A final note to the Censor Board - please start rating films properly. Agneepath is deserving of an 'A' certificate, not the 'U/A' certificate that is was given. The film has rape, selling of girls as prostitutes, numerous murders and brutal violence throughout. I don't understand how the Censor Board think that this is acceptable for children to watch in the presence of their parents, and this film has a lot more adult content than other 'A' rated films. And Mr Karan Johar, simply putting a warning about excessive violence at the start of the film does not absolve you of the moral responsibility you have towards your audience. However, by now, the film has raked in over 100 crore, so I guess no-one is particularly bothered.