Movie Review: Ghayal Once Again

February 5, 2016

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters)

Twenty-six years after he first appeared on Indian movie screens as a revenge-seeking crazed man, Sunny Deol is back – more ghayal (injured) than ever.

GhayalThicker make-up and a receding hairline mark his return, and instead of eliminating the bad guys, the new quest for justice involves recovering a hard drive with damning evidence against an evil businessman.

Deol not only reprises his role as the daring vigilante who will stop at nothing, he also directs the cliche-riddled project. Evil businessman Raj Bansal (Narendra Jha) lives in a phallic-shaped, towering residence and owns half the city. He’s in cahoots with a corrupt, balding politician (Manoj Joshi) and an army of police and city officials seem to be at his beck and call.

Leading the fight against them is Ajay Mehra (Deol), out of prison after serving time for murdering the villain in the previous film. Deol monitors crimes in Mumbai, operating from an underground cave.

An RTI activist is killed and all hell breaks loose when college students on a bird-watching trip unwittingly film Bansal’s son pulling the trigger on the activist. A large part of the film is a chase sequence through the streets of Mumbai, and later in a mall, as Bansal’s henchmen try to snatch the evidence before it reaches Ajay Mehra. This is also the part of “Ghayal Once Again” that is enjoyable, and even though the treatment is rough around the edges, Deol keeps it fast-paced so you are not bored.

It is when the chase ends and the homilies come into play that the film loses steam. There are plot twists involving long-lost offspring and a badly executed CGI-aided climax that casts a blight on the earlier chase sequences.

This modern version of the angry young man out to seek justice is more muted than the 1990 film. Say what you will, but at least “Ghayal” director Rajkumar Santoshi wasn’t squeamish about depicting what his characters go through. And when justice involves saving a nondescript hard disk rather than killing the bad guy in an amusement park in front of hundreds of onlookers, the required dramatic effect is missing.

(Editing by Tony Tharakan; Follow Shilpa on Twitter at @shilpajay and Tony at@TonyTharakan. This article is website-exclusive and cannot be reproduced without permission)

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