Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
While watching Katrina Kaif gyrating to “Chikni Chameli”, more than halfway through Karan Malhotra’s “Agneepath”, I couldn’t help but wonder about the similarities between the song and the film. Both are adaptations of an original product (“Chikni Chameli” has been adapted from a popular Marathi song), both have ample production value and some great moves, but they are also ample proof that remaking an original may not always work.
Malhotra’s version of “Agneepath”, to be fair, is not a direct copy and is quite different from Mukul Anand’s 1990 version. A lot of the plot points of the original film have been swapped for newer stories, but the gist of the story remains.
Hrithik Roshan plays Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, a gangster from the Mumbai slums, who is obsessed with killing Kancha (Sanjay Dutt), the man who killed his father over a dispute more than 15 years ago.
Vijay feeds his revenge, joining a rival gang and rising to the top quickly, but in the process alienates his mother (Zarina Wahab), who cuts off all ties with him. To his credit Roshan portrays that angst and that loneliness beautifully and in one particular scene, where he eats at his mother’s house after fifteen years, you do feel for him.
More than 20 years after he first mesmerised an entire generation with his baritone and signature dialogue, Vijay Dinanath Chauhan is going to be back on celluloid, but this time in a different avatar.
Producer Karan Johar said the original film which was produced by his father didn’t “meet commercial expectations” and he thought this one would hit bull’s eye. Directed by debutant Karan Malhotra, the film stars Hrithik Roshan as Chauhan while Sanjay Dutt plays dreaded villain Kancha.
At one point in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Guzaarish”, the protagonist of the film Ethan Fernandes sings “it’s a wonderful world” while his mother is being buried. It’s a poignant moment, one where you feel the pain of the man. It’s also one of the very few genuine moments you will find in the film.
Instead, it was just a melody that served as a background. Given the memorable music of his earlier films, there are a lot of expectations from this one.
It has been such a long time since Bollywood has made a true-blue romance that purely on that merit alone, “Kites” is worth a watch.
Passion, chemistry and the cruel world against true love have become secondary when it comes to matters like reforming our education system or discovering new worlds.
And that’s not just because he is brilliant in the part — he is. But the scenes capture perfectly the subtle performances and nuanced characters this film is bursting with.