Agneepath: Why remakes are worth it

Published: February 5, 2012


PHOTO: PUBLICITY PHOTO: PUBLICITY This film is not for those who don’t appreciate Bollywood for what it is: paisa wusool entertainment. PHOTO: PUBLICITY

They say you shouldn’t redo a role that Amitabh Bachchan has done before. And if the role is the character of Vijay Deenanath Chauhan in Agneepath, then the only thing you should be redoing is mulling over your decision to replay it.

Hrithik Roshan went through that process of thinking and then rethinking some more, and as a Bollywood fan, I am grateful that he decided to take up the challenge. He did justice to the character of an angry young man whose sole purpose in life is to avenge the death of his father; a vulnerable man who is a brother, a son and a lover.

The three-hour-long film, with an overdose of melodrama and sometimes even violence, is not for those who don’t appreciate Bollywood for what it is: paisa wusool entertainment.

The great news is that the film does not waste precious minutes on songs that serve no purpose. Contrary to what most of us would have thought, nobody really bothered with Katrina Kaif’s horribly done item song Chikni Chameli. In fact, several people in the theatre murmured, “Can we get on with the film please?” as the song made an unfortunate entry at a point where the two main characters were meeting after 15 years.

Even though it is difficult to ascertain what era the film is set in, it is appreciable nonetheless; a brilliant mesh of the 90s India – where beneath the surface, every hero was an angry young man who lived in a jhopar patti – and 2012 Bollywood cinema, which has progressed by leaps and bounds in terms of technology.

While staying true to the 90s plot with minor additions such as Rishi Kapoor’s role as Rauf Lala, director Karan Malhotra and his team have exploited the almost unlimited resources that a mega producer like Karan Johar put at their disposal, making Agneepath a great viewing experience.

The film belongs to Sanjay Dutt as much as it does to Roshan. Dutt, who had admittedly proven himself in negative (Khalnayak) and semi-negative (Vaastav) roles, is absolutely disgusting as Kancha, a man who hangs men to death as he pleases. Dutt manages to depict Kancha very well.

For me, however, the real star of the film was Rishi Kapoor. Best known for soft roles like the chilled-out father (Hum Tum and Namastey London), he is surprisingly compelling as the repulsive villain who rules the Mumbai drug scene. Nowhere in the film does he appear the typical cuddly (and often tipsy) Rishi Kapoor – he is Rauf Lala and that is all.

When he announced plans to remake Agneepath, producer Karan Johar had said he wanted to set the record straight since the film had under performed when his father made it in the 90s. Apart from achieving that success, Agneepath is the final answer for those who are still critical of the concept of remakes.

Now that Indian filmmakers have proved that they are capable of re-imagining legendary roles like Vijay Deenanath Chauhan and Don, next on the cards should be a Sholay remake. I’m sure you’ll agree!


Read more by Zainab here. And follow her @zainabimam.


Zainab Imam

A journalist, on a hiatus to pursue a Masters in Public Policy at The University of Chicago. Gender parity advocate, urban policy enthusiast. She tweets @zainabimam ( and blogs at

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Abhishek

    Why exactly when i come to a Pakistani newspaper i read more about Bollywood then most Indian Newspapers???Recommend

  • Zaidu Chhaliya

    They should remake our favourite old videos of Suckeena Biwi, Pakistani on Moon, Azmal Kasab theories and our regular last and final warning to everyone who cares or don’t care.
    -Zaid HamidRecommend

  • Tribune Reader

    Worth a watch, I am convinced Hritick can finally Act, Lol
    and Rauf Lala the Show stealer, What a performance.Recommend

  • Indian


    Why do you think hollywood films have reviews in Indian newspapers.

    Instead of commenting on the review you are indulging in put downs and comparisons…just shows your insecurity. India with more than a billion population shouldn’t try to compete with Pakistan. Try competing with US or European Union for a change.. Recommend

  • PN

    FABULOUS movie….Hrithik is just breathtaking…………Rishiji…Amazing..Recommend

  • AMZ

    Agneepath is an awesome movie….I havent seen old one…but still I think Hrithik was just outstanding !!! Loved his performance. Sanjay Dutt was damn scary and I think its a good thing as that’s how negative characters are shown..lolxx…over all its a paisa vasool movie…everyone starting from Hrithik to Priyanka to Sanjay to Rishi to that girl(who played Vijay’s sister) did an awesome job !!! its a must watchRecommend

  • Dia

    Contrary to what most of us would have thought, nobody really bothered with Katrina Kaif’s horribly done item song Chikni Chameli. In fact, several people in the theatre murmured, “Can we get on with the film please?”

    My favorite lines.. YOU rock ;)Recommend

  • NSK

    Hirithik the real hero !!Recommend

  • ME

    a movie worth watching!! loved hrithik’s acting…Recommend

  • shahida kazi

    So you dont even know that a remake of Sholay has already been made?The pathetic ram gopal verma ki aag. Really what world are you living in ?Recommend

  • Anoop

    I thought there were a lot of unwanted songs and scenes which should have been deleted. A whole hour could’ve been saved and the movie much more fast paced and entertaining.

    You forgot to mention the kid who plays the lead role when young. After Rishi Kapoor, I think he is the best actor in the movie. That means a lot in a movie where Sanjay Dutt and Hrithik Roshan have given fabulous performances.

    I still cant believe how tiny Hrithik Roshan looked when Sanjay Dutt takes him by the neck or the collar. Dutt is HUGE!Recommend

  • imran

    wow Hrithik is amazing,how good actor he is love you Recommend

  • Ash

    Excellent Movie…i saw both agneepath… two different movies… comparisons should be avoided…n we should give the actors of Agneepath 2012 a true tribune to have excellencein their roles… Hats Off to Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt n Rishi Kappor… AMAZING!!!Recommend

  • Syeda

    I had seen this remake a few days before… I found it good.. Everyone performed at his/her best… But the kid performing Vijay’s role has different eyes’ colour than that of Hritik Roshan(Grown up Vijay) Lol… But overall “Yeah paisa wusool film hai bhaaai”Recommend

  • Vishnu Dutta

    Bollywood goes back to its roots and finds a gem in the form of Agneepath.
    Amazing moving, hritik and sanjay were awesome , so was rishi.Recommend

  • Yumna

    Katrina Kaif’s Chikni Chameli was unnecessary!Recommend

  • cosmo

    All you Chikni Chameli bashers go to hell !! Chikni rocks !!Recommend