Friday, January 27, 2012

Dear Karan,

I am told that a production of yours that released today (and getting great reviews & collections) is a remake of the 1990 film, Agneepath. The media and people of this country are making this assumption because the names of the two films are same. But then, you produced a film called Dostana a few years back that had no resemblance to the story of the 1980 film of the same name.

I haven’t seen the latest Agneepath yet (and I don’t think I will, either). But the reviews – or more importantly in today’s Bollywood – the buzz seems to be quite positive. People, especially of the female persuasion, seem to have loved Hrithik Roshan’s ‘uber hot’ screen presence. The biggest praises are, however, reserved for Sanjay Dutt (playing Kancha Cheena) and Rishi Kapoor (playing Rauf Lala, who seems to be a new character). Nobody seems to have noticed Priyanka Chopra or missed Krishnan Iyer MA yet.

Which brings me to the question I want to ask you – why the hell are you calling this film a remake? Though to be fair, it is being said that Agneepath is not a ‘remake’ but a ‘tribute’… whatever that means. In that case, I must point out what – at least, what I feel – was the crux of the original Agneepath and what needed to be paid a tribute to.

When you pay tribute to an ‘angry’ film and the biggest pre-release buzz is about an item song, then one can safely say you’ve failed.
When the tribute is to a film with some of the most accomplished ‘dialogues’ in Bollywood and not a jot of the post-release chatter is about the lines the hero speaks, then you’ve failed.
When most people end up discussing Kancha Cheena’s unholy, hairless looks after the film and they don’t remember anything about the hero except the biceps, then you’ve failed spectacularly.
In paying a tribute, that is. I am sure that the film will succeed in every other way.

Also on a different level, the real Agneepath was about a producer’s courage.
Yash Johar took an ageing leading man and an insignificant heroine to lead his film. The leading man was known for his voice but for this film, but it replaced with a rasping, new voice. The hero was said to be nearly 37 years in the old. And the hero died a bloody death at his mother’s feet when all of Bollywood was singing ‘saanson ki zaroorat hain jaise…’ and riding into the sunset.
You pay a tribute to this risk by taking on Bollywood’s most conventional leading man and the No. 2 heroine. You then take on Bollywood’s No. 1 heroine to dance to one sizzling number, for good measure. And you promote the hell out of the song, using the money you’ve saved from not having to hire a dialogue writer.  

You could’ve made exactly the same film and called it Inteqaam or some such. I think the film would have been just as successful and the old fogeys (we, 35+ year old viewers and the producer of the original) wouldn’t have felt so restless.

Wishing you great success in all your films –
Dipta

(My earlier post on Agneepath - here.)

8 comments:

Anirban Halder said...

Dipta, loved this post. And can't agree more. I'm of the opinion that some classics shouldn't be remade, Agneepath included. I am from your age group and can recall what a hysteria the original 'Agneepath' created after it released (was in std X then) and that Amitabh had to re-dub in his oroginal voice to pacify his fans strongly dissatisfied with his experimentation with voice. I love the original husky voice but. It sounded so Marlon Brando-ish (from Godfather, the character on which Vijay Dinanath Chauhan was modelled on). Am following your blog. By the way, I have a blog called 'Kolkata Curry' (www.kolkatacurry.blogspot.com) that's about the city I love and live in. I guess it has the same spirit as your blog.

Velu said...

Great Post!

mysticnmovies said...

Brilliant and was completely disgusted when i left the movie hall leading me to even write a review out of sheer anger.

http://madaboutmoviez.com/2012/01/26/agneepath-movie-review-not-a-patch-on-the-original/#more-3962

Would love to know your views there in case you watch this shit.

Anirban Halder said...

Dipta, your comment is gaining popularity on Facebook after Pratim D Gupta, the film critic at Telegraph shared it (after me). Congratulations.

Diptakirti Chaudhuri said...

@Anirban - Thanks. The film, by all accounts, is a big success. I only wish they hadn't called it Agneepath.

Anamika said...

You are so right about what a mistake this movie is. That it is raking in the moolah is even more disgusting.

At the risk of annoying the loyal fans of Senior B, I think the first Agneepath was a flop for good reason and the National Award was controversy rife at that time since AB was considered a "has been" then. (of course, the AB comeback and his position today is what defines a superstar.)

Blogxploitation said...

great observation, may be it comes naturally to all fans of the original film. Here's my post on behalf of the Late Mukul Anand, reviewing this latest piece of trash from Dharma Productions. http://blogxploitation.blogspot.in/2012/01/open-letter-to-karan-johar-from-late.html

Suchi said...

I so agree with your post. I had the misfortune of watching the new one. My husband who loves the first Agneepath wanted to check out this one. I have not seen the first one. Neither am I keen.
About this one, it is a complete waste of time, budget and creativity (Sanjay Dutt and Rishi Kapoor) . My God they have created a parallel India where only mafias and gangs operate. There is no civil society, police never arrive (am tired of this cliché)neither does ambulance. Zamindars still rule the roost...as if land redistribution never happened...my husband kept telling me it was symbolic...I failed to see the symbolism...what they have done is a weird concoction of the old and the new. Now we can go into a debate about India's falling systems but this movie is so not worth it...in this day and age of smart movies this was such a let down!
About Priyanka why on earth after Saath Khoon Maaf would an actor want to do Don 2 and this is beyond my understanding!
Katrina almost looks like a boy in that dance number...all the charms and magic of Sheela Ki Jawani is missing.
Waste of money and three hours of my life!