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Critics Verdict: Agneepath has the fire

Critics are saying more good things than bad about Agneepath, which released on the Republic Day today. While some reviewers have given the film 4.5 stars, none have rated the film below 3.5. Read on...

bollywood Updated: Jan 26, 2012 19:01 IST
Hindustan Times
Hindustan Times,critics report,agneepath

Film: Agneepath

Producer: Karan Johar

Director: Karan Malhotra

Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt, Rishi Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra

The story of Agneepath, as most of us already know, is that of vendetta. It tells the story of how Vijay Chauhan avenges the death of his father, who was killed by Kancha Cheena.

While the original film saw Amitabh Bachchan playing the lead role of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan and Danny Denzongpa in the iconic role of Kancha Cheena, Hrithik Roshan and Sanjay Dut seemed to have stepped into the shoes rather well. Rishi Kapoor who plays the drug lord Rauf Lala, a departure from the original, seems to be creating quite a buzz as well, while there are mixed views of Priyanka's role as Kaali in the film.

Critics are saying more good than bad things about Agneepath, which released on the Republic Day today. Here's what they said:

Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama

Rating: ****1/2

Most Hindi films initiate with a bang, but run out of gas by the time they reach the finale, often getting deflated in between as well, but AGNEEPATH is vigorous from the very commencement to the absolute conclusion. The conflict at the very initiation and also towards the closing stages, the tension between Vijay and Kancha and also between Vijay and his mother, the game of one-upmanship played by Vijay to grab power… AGNEEPATH is one exhilarating ride.

AgneepathA vendetta story needs to be garnished with several terrific dramatic moments and Malhotra does just that. His handling of the subject deserves brownie points. The only 'hiccup', if one may say so, is the romantic track towards the first hour, which is lackluster.

The assessment of the movie would appear fragmentary if one would disregard the colossal contribution by action director Abbas Ali Moghul. Raw and gritty are two expressions that best illustrate the action scenes in AGNEEPATH. Kancha is larger than life and stronger than the protagonist, so when good eventually triumphs, the heroism ought to come to the forefront and it does so forcefully, convincingly and copiously. The action scenes are sure to draw whistles and claps, especially the one in the finale.

On the whole, AGNEEPATH is a fitting tribute to the masterwork. The movie has all the potential to scale dizzy heights of victory and catapult Hrithik Roshan as the newest member of the 100 cr Club, besides providing the Hindi film industry with the first giant Blockbuster of 2012. A definite winner!

Komal Nahta,
Rating: ****1/2

The film, adapted from the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer of the same name, has more or less the same story. However, its screenplay is so engaging that it makes for compelling viewing. Screenplay writers Ila Bedi Dutta and Karan Malhotra keep the audience interest alive throughout despite occasional dull moments, because they offer so much drama and so many characters. The film, no doubt, is a bit too lengthy and heavy because there aren’t many light moments but the lack of humour is intentional so that the revenge angle is not diluted.

Womenfolk may not approve of the blood, violence and gore but it is not as if they will not approve of the film which has a lot of other things to offer to them too. The best part of the screenplay is that it packs in emotions in the violent drama so beautifully that it would make the weak-hearted cry and at least emotionally move the others. Another plus point of the screenplay is that the characterisations are so well-defined that no one ever digresses.

Hrithik Roshan does an absolutely mind-blowing job. He plays Vijay so wonderfully that this could go down in Bollywood history as one of his best performances to-date. Note, for instance, how he uses his eyes and body language to convey the emotions, whether of anger, hurt, love or joy. He is terrific indeed and his performance is award-winning! His physique is to die for. Priyanka Chopra shines in a comparatively short role. She makes the character of Kaali very endearing. Her dances are extremely graceful and she shines in emotional scenes. Sanjay Dutt looks supremely menacing as Kancha. His get-up is well thought of and his acting only adds to his terror and his eccentric character. Sanjay Dutt’s performance will be loved by the masses and the single-screen audience. Rishi Kapoor plays Rauf Lala to such perfection that he deserves distinction marks for it.


On the whole, Agneepath is a surefire hit. It has taken a bumper initial and its four-day weekend would be stupendous. Given that it has already recovered more than half its investment of around Rs. 75 crore from sale of satellite and audio rights and another around 15% from sale of Overseas and home video rights, recovery of the balance 35% (from the point of view of the producers) should be a cakewalk.

Gaurav Malani, Times of India
The remake isn't essentially remodeled to modern times because the film retains its original era thereby reviving the raw essence of the 1990 film. And beyond the epoch, Malhotra also imparts the cinematic treatment of that time period to his film. So both the villain and hero have stylized entries, their confrontations boast of high-voltage drama and, in the climax, when the bruised and battered protagonist rises to take revenge (in exactly the same manner like his father was killed), he wins instant applause. Also the idea of Vijay concealing his identity from his teenaged sister is so intrinsic of the era (a la Anil Kapoor's Jeevan Ek Sanghursh).

Where the new Agneepath raises the bar is by casting Sanjay Dutt as the baddie. In his black-attire and bald-look, Dutt has such solid screen-presence that the director makes things difficult for himself with a challenge of how would Hrithik's hero overpower the villain. Thereby the film employs some extreme action, which is more brutal than boisterous, to justify Kancha's imposing persona and the subsequent seethe in Vijay's revenge. Thankfully, what puts Agneepath a notch above the recent mindless actioners is that it has a basic human connect which it reasonably balances with the extreme action and never blatantly exploits any emotion.

AgneepathBeyond his hold on the subject, Karan Malhotra succeeds in extracting inspiring performances from the impressive cast. The usually suave Hrithik Roshan convincingly glides into his coarse character here and has a towering presence. He completely redefines Vijay Dinanath Chauhan and never in his act do you see even a glimpse of the original. Sanjay Dutt reeks of menace and malice through his sadistic laughs.


Better than Good.

Piyali Dasgupta, NDTV
Rating: ***1/2

Comparisons are inevitable in a remake, especially when they involve Amitabh Bachchan. This is where Agneepath scores the first win.

Comparisons are damned. This *is* the new Agneepath. Though it shares a name with the original and begins with a flashback, Bachchan’s larger-than-life- surma-rimmed Vijay Dinanath Chauhan is a page in movie history. A new one begins with this Agneepath.

The next big win is the meshing of the past and the present. This is Karan Johar’s emotional tribute to his father, the producer of Bachchan’s Agneepath. So director Karan Malhotra retains some of the classic scenes. I won’t give them all away, but this one is so masterfully done that it must be mentioned – the killing of Vijay’s father. Kancha hangs him to death – terrifying, gripping and around me - in a packed theatre – silence.

This brings me to the next big win – the action – by Abbas Ali Moghul. For context, Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai was his other recent film as action coordinator. In Agneepath, there a great mix of loud swaggering noisy action and hand-to-hand combat.

Now for the few missteps in the film; the pace falters in both the first and second half despite the action. It doesn’t escape the usual Hindi film fail – it’s too long. A pointless song, a few extra flashbacks spoil a hardcore Bollywood masala flick.


But here’s the thing. Watch this film because this one is unadulterated Bollywood entertainment. I’ll go with three stars and add half a star for the sheer excitement palpable in those who I watched the film with, first show this morning. Near packed attendance, hearty applause and complete silence in parts. What a bright start, it can only grow from here.

Rating: ***1/2

Comparisons are inevitable when a classic like Agneepath is remade. Now, the question remains, will Agneepath surpass the expectations and live up to the hype it has created so far? Well, first of all, current Agneepath isn’t the exact replica of the original one in terms screenplay. New entrants like Rauf Lala add new interesting dimensions to the story. This Hrithik-Sanjay starrer flick is a collage of some impactful moments but fitted in the most haphazard manner which makes it impact less at many moments. Irrelevant sequences like intimacy between Hrithik-Priyanka and overtly dragged brother-sister reunion sequence further add to the misery.

Stupendous performances, fresh storyline despite a remake, Chikni Chameli song and cinematography are strengths of the film. Music, editing, long duration are the weak points.

On the whole, Agneepath totally rests on star power which will lure the cine-goers to halls but how far will it impress them remains to be seen.

Aniruddha Guha, DNA
Rating: ***1/2

The only way to make it work was to rewrite the character differently, which Malhotra does. Hrithik underplays Chauhan, relying on facial expressions rather than dialogue baazi (why straddle him with a typical Bachchan trait). It's refreshing to see Hrithik bereft of glamour and style, and he portrays the angsty, rooted hero well.

The film's emotional quotient is balanced with some brilliant, intense action sequences, none of it slick but packing a solid punch, and captured superbly by two very accomplished cinematographers -- Ravi K Chandran and Kiran Deohans. All the scenes depicting Mandwa, and the Ganesh Chaturti sequence, stay with you thanks to deft camera work, and polished post-production.

You do wish though that the melodrama was kept a little under check, and the background score was less cacophonic. The film plays unabashedly (shamelessly) to the gallery, and you almost feel manipulated at certain places. The weakest bit, perhaps, is the half-baked romance between Vijay and Kali, which does little than keep the run-time longer than required.


Devoid of fluff, the hyperbole toned down, and shorter, Agneepath would have been a far superior film. In its present form, it packs in enough punch to warrant a viewing. How much you enjoy it, though, will be directly proportionate to how much melodrama you can withstand. Old school Hindi film lovers, however, are in for a treat.

Our Verdict

A remake of the 1990 hit made by Mukul Anand, the new Agneepath definitely seems to have managed the mammoth task of living upto the expectations of a cult film. Considering not even one of the reviewers has rated the film below 3.5, the film certainly looks like one you wouldn't want to miss.

First Published: Jan 26, 2012 14:57 IST