India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

Himmatwala: Do not step into this time warp

March 29, 2013

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

At the end of a long monologue in “Himmatwala”, where Ajay Devgn rattles off the same sentence in five different languages, he turns to the camera and asks “mazaa nahi aaya na?” (That wasn’t fun, was it?) It’s almost as if director Sajid Khan knew what a bad film he was making, but went ahead and made it anyway.

What they say about the past being viewed through rose-tinted glasses must be true, because if this is what our films were 30 years ago, we should all be glad we’ve moved on. But not Khan. He wants to take us back to corny dialogue, garish sets and the lack of absolutely any logic in the story whatsoever.

This is a film where a mother wants her daughter to go back to the husband who physically abuses her, because a woman can only leave her husband’s home when she dies, no matter what happens. How this attitude is part of a film in 2013 is beyond me.

“Himmatwala” also has a tiger, a bumbling villain and an all-conquering hero, who seemingly does nothing for a living except playing saviour.

Ajay Devgn is Ravi, who returns to his village to avenge the death of his father many years ago. He finds his impoverished mother and sister living on the outskirts of the village, banished by the same man responsible for his father’s death — Sher Singh, the village headman.

Ravi vows to make life hell for Sher Singh (Mahesh Manjrekar) but before he does — he chats with a tiger, plays messiah to the villagers and falls in love with Sher Singh’s daughter Rekha (Tamannaah). Rekha is an arrogant and spoilt girl, who wears short, tight clothes, but mellows and starts wearing traditional Indian attire once she falls in love with Ravi.

Of the cast, Ajay Devgn flexes his muscles, but the ones on his face refuse to move, rendering him expressionless for the most part.

Tamannaah isn’t required to do much, but the remaining cast, including Zarina Wahab as the melodramatic mother, Paresh Rawal as the slimy villain’s sidekick and Mahesh Manjrekar ham it up like there’s no tomorrow.

Finding a semblance of a story or logic in this film is meaningless, but Sajid Khan doesn’t even make it funny. “Himmatwala” is boring, long-winded and reeks of arrogance that the audiences will lap up anything that remotely resembles humour or drama if it is presented by an A-list star and with enough fanfare.

Watching “Himmatwala”, you wonder whether the film industry has indeed come a long way from the 1980s, or are we still stuck in a time warp?

Everything old is certainly not gold and “Himmatwala” is the worst way to pay tribute to the 1983 blockbuster. Avoid this one like the plague.

 

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