The man who was once the uncrowned Shehanshah of Bollywood was staring at a decline of his irrefutable dominance.90s had brought along with them a severe dent in the fortune of the Angry Young Man and many anticipated that the glittering star which illuminated the canvas from 70s onwards would make the final retreat soon.But as it happens with men who have scaled the heights inconceivable by a normal man, Amitabh even when the chips were down gifted Indian audience a legendary character presented in his unique style .Agneepath had come and gone with little commercial success but we came to know of one Vijay Deenanath Chauhan.The movie did not do much to the dwindling market value of Amitabh as it flopped but Vijay Deenanath was to leave an indelible mark.
Karan Johar's Agneepath started making its appearance on the TV sets as early as November.The promos looked good but that was hardly an assurance that the movie would do justice to your expectations.In case of a remake the equations which define the set of expectations as you stand in the queue buying that ticket of yours are a bit intricate.There is a benchmark already set and you wonder what you would be satisfied with.
It was an insistent desire to revisit the original Agneepath and I could only admire the movie once it was finished.It certainly did not belong to the period when it was made.Here was a movie which had a hero with shades of grey.A concept perhaps not too acceptable in those times.Above all the main protagonist dies in the end.Perhaps a few reasons why the movie failed at the box office.But there was no doubt about the fact that the movie belonged to one man ,Amitabh.He carried the movie on his shoulders with his breathtaking dialouges and screen presence.
Karan Johar's movie started in a similar way. Father and son taking a walk by the ocean.The lesson in ethics coming to end with the now famous recital .Almost 20 years down the line the story had to be told in a different way.One of the reasons is that the audience has matured and expect narratives remarkably distinct way from the 90s.But more importantly because there was no Amitabh in it to mesmerise the people.The characters were given a different perspective.Kancha was turned into a homegrown goon with an ugly and terrifying look.The story was given an additional epicentric character Rauf Lala who gives refuge to the young boy full of vengeance.Vijay's sister was much younger and only becomes aware of him later in the movie.Vijay's lover is a childhood friend .Their's is a relationship which seemed to have stood the test of time.The mother and the empathetic police commissioner though have the same elements which they had in the original version.Overall if you compare the plot was more compact with no unsual or abrupt twists which could defy logic.The relationships between the characters elaborated themselves as the story unfolded.It seemed like the changes were done to deliberately tie up the loose ends which you could trace in the original version.
But what was Vijay like? Was he the same arrogant and angry man as we knew from the original movie .Probably Not.Hrithik could never have replicated Amitabh and the writer did him a great favour giving this character an entirely different attitude.New age Vijay has the same motive of revenge.But he is sulky and sadness reflects in his face.He does not speak arrogant dialogues to express what he feels.His anger is supressed.The inherent dilemma takes precedence .Amitabh's Vijay was a showman whereas Hrithik's Vijay can sulk and was more grounded.They were the same characters with the same motives but entirely different personalities
Original Agneepath had Amitabh and his towering presence which glued you to the screen.His dialougues in the movie stood apart ranging from hilarious to intense.It was ,with due respect to others, a one man show.The present version does not have Amitabh to make it a one man show but there are three diffferent men who have done well.Hrithik has been subtle as Vijay .He could not be an Amitabh but i guess it was never intended either.Sanjay Dutt has a commanding presence as Kancha.Perhaps too commanding and the only questionable aspect of the story .Kancha seemed to overshadow Vijay at times.But the stellar performance comes from Rishi Kapoor as Rauf Lala.He stole the show and his character was not even there in the original movie.The addition of this character makes story more continuous and credible also.The movie could not have left the impact which it did without the background score it had.The high voltage music in the background gave the story one more dimension.The chemistry between the characters evolved and elaborated itself as the story unfolded which seemed to flow without any abrupt twists.It ends underneath the same tree where it began.There was a sense of dark romanticism in the climax.It was a closure for the spirit of the young boy whose quest of revenge begins and ends underneath the same tree.This was a story well told
Amitabh's Agneepath became a classic over a period of time whereas the new one has already become a hit.These two are offshoots of the same story but entirely different experiences.Both enjoyable though !