The Himmatwala reboot starring Ajay Devgn will be a re-write, not a remake, says director Sajid Khan. “I’ve grown up on the film and love its energy, but if I attempted a shot-by-shot remake today, it would fall flat on its face,” he reasons, adding that he will simply include some fun elements from the Jeetendra starrer.
The actor-director points out that the film coined several words and phrases — PT dance, mindless cinema and potboiler — that have become part of Bollywood’s vocabulary today.
“Himmatwala was a cult movie that I watched not for great cinematic moments, but for pure guilty pleasure. Since the release on February 25 1983, I have watched it 36 times in the theatre,” says Sajid, whose film, produced by Vashu Bhagnani, should go on the floors in August, soon after the release of his much-anticipated sequel, Housefull 2.
Jeetendra is one of Sajid’s matinee idols and he is also a huge fan of Sridevi. “Even if I can get them together for one scene in my film, it will be a big high,” he says. “Once we have locked the script and I have something concrete, I’ll approach them.”
Point out that Ajay is not known for his dancing skills, and it would be hard to imagine him as Jumping Jack balancing atop ‘matkas’ (earthern pots), and Sajid says, “He’ll be dancing, but he won’t be doing PT steps like Jeetendraji. The film will have a strong dose of the drama and action that Ajay is known for.”
Dancing Devgan gets 7/10
Caeser (of the Bosco-Caeser duo), who choreographed Ajay last in an item song for Sanjay Dutt’s Rascals (2011), and more recently for an ad commercial with wife Kajol, attributes his 7/10 rating of Ajay’s dance prowess to the actor’s fitness and body language. “Unlike other stars who usually slouch, Ajay’s upright torso and flexibility is a definite plus. And I love the attitude he brings to a song,” says the dance director. “He always manages to look good onscreen, comfortable with the steps he’s given and makes you believe you could just as easily do the moves.”
Caeser gives Jeetendra in his ’80s potboilers a perfect 10, like Disco Dancer Mithun Chakraborty: “He had a unique style that wasn’t comparable to other actors from that era.”