An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind the Mahatma is quoted by Chetan Pandits Dinanath Chauhan Vijays ideological father, in an attempt to instill his son with what according to him is the right way of going about life. Little prepares him for young Vijays reaction, as it stuns both - the viewer and Dinanath.
It means the Mahatma never lived in Mandwa.
More than two decades later, Karan Johar revisits his fathers beloved production, Agneepath which released in 1990 to a dismal box-office reception. His director Karan Malhotra armed with screenwriting partner Illa Dutta Bedi sticks to the vendetta theme of the film but adds layers of complexities to their characters, both old and new.
Too small to do anything to protect his father getting brutally hanged for a false accusation, Vijay stares at Mandwas sociopath goon Kancha Cheena with a stabbing gaze. The village and its people do not only witness the unjust murder, but also encourage it. Vijay and his mother move to Mumbai, but the gruesome killing with his fathers body suspended over a Bargat tree an element used repeatedly by the director as a metaphor has left an undetached scar on Vijay right during his most impressionable years. He craves for revenge, in fact he chooses, at a painfully young age the path of crime with the sole agenda to avenge his fathers murder.
Probably something which Dinanath Chauan wouldnt have wanted himself.
But in wonderful use of irony, Vijay is shown applying his fathers principle, of retaining the right information for the right time; and using it at a criminally wrong life-altering stage. This is where Vijay forges a liaison with Mumbais notorious gangster-pimp Rauf Lalla and in a set of thoroughly calculative moves, uses him to reach his ultimate stop the bald-headed and brow-pierced Kancha.
The grown-up Vijay is a muscular man with the same stabbing gaze. Hrithik Roshan plays the part and in a film where most men are exaggerated in their appearance and traits, he perhaps is the subtlest of them all. He is indifferent with his disguised loyalty toward Lalla, being an unapologetic henchman who has been hardened by his haunting past; but the same man when reunited with his sister breaks down showing a sort of vulnerability, largely left untouched in Bollywood movies where mainstream heroes are concerned shedding copious tears. He runs an ambulance service on his sisters name, also has fallen for the localitys lively girl Kali. But he would rather be reticent with his feelings, almost as much forthcoming as she is.
Which is what makes this hero a character that isnt just a rough sketch, but well-conceived. On the other hand Sanjay Dutts Kancha Cheena hasnt been left redundant, but has converted Mandwa into his drug-trafficking fortress. Secure of his foothold in the grainy land, Kancha wants Mumbai. Aware of his ambition, Vijay has emerged as Rauf Lallas throne-bearer, keeping the city not in his pockets, but fists; readying him and viewers for a bloody gore of a climax.
Review Continued: http://www.desimartini.com/reviews/ankur-pathak-agneepath/rd14285md1205.htm