Mama Melodrama and the Movie Mania

Movies have cast a spell on the human population. I need to specify this because dogs and cats, not to mention jello-blobs from space, also constitute the viewership. And since visual trumps imagination any time of the day (smart people it’s your cue to groan) this magic has maintained its influence even after six decades of coming into play (or was that seven?). And what better way to reinforce such a heavy netting over the mind’s eye than creating a re-make of a famous movie from the olden days and replacing the then superstars with the ultrastars of today?

A week back a similar phenomenon occurred in Bollywood (that is the Indian Film Industry to you). A remake of a super-duper hit of the yester years was released to the movie-crazed crowd of the Indian subcontinent and as expected the populace camped outside movie theatres for weeks to be the first to feel the magic woven again. Okay, that bit about camping for weeks was exaggerated.

The movie was christened the same as its prototype (is that right?). It is called Agneepath. For those of you who went “Huh?!?”, Agneepath was a superhit movie of 1990 starring Amitabh Bachchan, the LEGEND of Bollywood. Therefore, to guarantee success at the box-office the new Agneepath (2012) also had a star-studded cast, starring Hritik Roshan who is one of the top four GODS of Bollywood today.

Being a fan of action-packed movies, and also an Indian, I was eager to taste some Bollywood manna myself. And seeing that the last Amitabh Bachchan movie remake, DON had exploded in the box-office positively I was sure that the general crowd and the critics (who happen to be Big B fans themselves) were right when they rated Agneepath four out of five.

And so my friends and I decided to go for an afternoon movie session on Thursday, the 2nd day of February, which coincided with the day we had a test in Anatomy Dissection. And no, we didn’t bunk the test, although I know most of my buddies would have happily hoppity-skipped to the theatre rather than identify the deep structures in the neck. 

The only spanner in the mix was the afternoon Biochemistry practical that we couldn’t bunk since they happened once every two weeks. And given the fact that the first batch students had finished their work by 4 pm the previous week, we were all pretty-much wired high with anxiety since the movie began at 4.30 pm. 

Finally, after rushing through with the urine experiments (oh yeah, the added misery) we all managed to finish by 3.15 pm without anyone knocking over a sample and drenching themselves in yellow fluid straight from hell.

And so when we finally made it to the theatre and grabbed seats I was pretty much expecting a mind-blowing performance to knock the previous hassle off my mind. And was I rewarded handsomely for not bunking a test and attending lab too? Well, we shall come around to that later.

Agneepath began quite promisingly with the first scene in celebration mode showcasing the joyous festival of Janmashthami and the game of Dahi Handi. A young boy is seen running towards the human pyramid underneath the Handi hanging more than ten feet above the ground. This boy is Vijay Chauhan, the son of the only school teacher in the village of Mandwa.

After Vijay successfully climbs up his mates and shatters the earthen pot full of Dahi (curd) to loud cheers, the scene changes. We see another village boy handing Vijay some pennies. It turns out the ugly snot has not distributed the collected money equally among the boys, which Vijay vehemently opposes. And as expected the argument culminates into a brawl with Vijay breaking the nose of the stuttering bully with one punch and the other boy retaliating back in fury.

The fight breaks up when Vijay’s father, “Master” Dinanath Chauhan arrives at the scene of the crime and removes his son from the location. As expected, Vijay is furious at his father for stopping him when the other guy was wrong. To this the Master replies that an eye for an eye would make the entire world blind. I don’t remember the dialogues after that but it becomes clear that the schoolmaster is an intellectual, and more importantly a good man. 

The father and son duo then take a walk through the village reciting a poem named Agneepath, which asks the listener to continue on his path with single-minded determination without expecting any help or relief from the world around him. 

After that the entire outlook of the movie shifts into the grim zone as we are introduced to the villain, Kancha Cheena who is the son of the village head. Besides the ridiculous name, Kancha is an ugly bastard who hates mirrors. This is revealed when he goes psycho on finding a piece of mirror in a pile of salt outside the village salt factory. Add to the fact that he is a bad man who believes he doesn’t feel attracted to the comforts of the world and you have your Class A villain to boot.

Kancha wishes to be a drug lord in Mumbai and wants to take over the lands of the poor farmers so that he can cultivate coca plants for cocaine. Thus he puts forth a “humble” petition to the illiterate farmers to lease their lands to him for a HUNDRED years (wow!). He even adds that he would give them part of the profit reaped from their lands once the years are up (how generous!).

In an effort to thwart Kancha’s evil plans the schoolmaster gathers the villagers and explains to them that they wouldn’t be alive for hundred years to enjoy the fruits of their labor (really?). And also that cocaine is illegal and they would be persecuted by the government. The villagers on hearing this quickly change sides and agree not to give Kancha their lands.

Watching the schoolmaster mobilizing the crowd against him, Kancha formulates a plan and frames the Master for rape of a young girl. And then he drags the innocent man with the help of the fickle-minded, blood-thirsty villagers to an old banyan tree in the village and hangs him before everyone.

Young Vijay watches all this unfold and pledges to take revenge for his father’s murder. And that’s when the movie starts to get interesting…

I shall continue the story in another post since I do not wish to stop at any important point (and miss some choice sarcasms) because the post was getting too long. So watch out for more melodrama from the Movie Mama. Enjoy!

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