I watched Agneepath 2012 with mixed feeling. While I enjoyed the original Agneepath, and still remember the last scene (AB completely over the top - running through a path of fire - literal translation of Agneepath), I never thought it as a very exceptional piece of story telling or a great movie.
Danny - the original Kancha villain, was smart, sophisticated, and not a bad villain at all but the movie appeared to be a slightly better than a run of the mill pot boiler, prevalent during those times.
I never thought this movie deserved a remake. However hearing the good reviews, and the new look Sanjay Dutt, I decided to give this a try.
It is a completely new take, using the same basic script. The direction is far more gritty, realistic, dark and violent. The Ramayana effect - Mandwa as Sanjay Dutt's Lanka is quite interestingly done. The story is still full of loop holes, and some things are difficult to understand - for instance the relationship between Home Secretary and Om puri - goes from Om puri going all the way to Goa to try to find cocaine in his house - and apparently not finding it, to Om puri haranguing the home secretary in a press conference daring him to take action against Kancha, to Om Puri helplessly begging him to take action when Hrithik's sister is being sold to the highest bidder by Rauf lala. Some other cliches remain - a teenage sister is pretty much good for only one thing, as a target for kidnapping, potential rape/ molestation candidate - she probably gets kidnapped at least thrice, and worse. Continuing with cliches, why every Mumbai movie needs to have a Ganpati Visarjan scene, this one is hardly original, though full of vibrant colors, and loud music. Maa ke haath ka khana assumes a lot of emotional significance too. Finally the songs, especially at the start of second half seriously dent the pace, and better editing could have kept the story line even more engaging. But since style is the key here, all this is only somewhat of an issue.
It is the actors who take the real credit though. Hrithik is more than able to bring the character of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan to life, and Priyanka reminds me of Kareena in 'Jab we met' bubbly, funny and cute. Om Puri can probably sleep walk through the role of a diligent, conscientious policeman now, and does. However the real scene stealers are Sanjay Dutt as the menacing, psychotic Kancha aka Raavan, and the surprisingly well cast Rishi Kapoor as Rauf Lala. This is probably one of the best performance by Rishi Kapoor, one that I never thought he would be capable of.
This movie is definitely a cut above the original, and if you can ignore the fairly conventional story line (with a few plot twists), and the gore/ violence, this is a good start to 2012.
3.5 stars out of 5