By: Keyur Seta
Director: Sajid Khan
Producers: Puja Films and UTV Motion Pictures
Writers: Sajid-Farhad and Sajid Khan
Cast: Ajay Devgn, Tamannaah, Paresh Rawal, Mahesh Manjrekar
Genre: Action/ Drama
Rating: * *
Story Outline: As a kid, Ravi has to to flee from Ramnagar after zamindar Sher Singh (Mahesh Manjrekar) and his nephew Narayandas (Paresh Rawal) force his father (Anil Dhawan) to commit suicide. Years later, he (Ajay Devgn) returns to his village to take revenge from Singh and Narayandas and improve the condition of his mother (Zarina Wahab) and younger sister (Leena Jumani).
Review: The original Himmatwala released 30 years ago and acquired a cult status among the lovers of commercial Hindi cinema. But 30 years is a long time. In these three decades, the audience’s taste has undergone a massive change. Now, we no longer feel moved by seeing a woman being physically and mentally tortured by her in-laws, a ‘hero’ saving a helpless woman from rapists or (worst of all) a helpless mother begging in front of Maa Sherawali for a miracle by mouthing some unintentionally hilarious lines.
This is the biggest reason for Sajid Khan’s Himmatwala, remake of the 1983 hit, failing to create impact. The other reason is the absence of entertainment most of the times. You just have to wait for a genuinely funny or amusing moment which hardly arrives. There are plenty of forceful attempts to make the audience laugh or entertain through some silly situations and ordinary ‘heroic’ moments. This comes as an unpleasant surprise since Khan, along with his writer duo Sajid-Farhad, has always been particular about entertainment in all his films before this one.
As said earlier, the subject hampers the movie the most. Still, they could have made a whacky film by giving tribute to the 80s era. In fact, this was Khan’s intention going by his pre-release interviews. But giving a tribute to that era doesn’t mean you make a film which appears absolutely outdated. Of course, there is a huge twist at interval point but, instead of shock and drama; it takes the film to a lower level due to its stupidity.
The only respite comes from some hilarious moments which, sadly, are few and far between. Khan’s PJs and crazy humour, typical of his old TV shows, are the only factor that makes the film a watchable affair.
The technical departments (cinematography, background score and editing) can hold their heads high. The old classic songs ‘Naino Mein Sapna’ and ‘Taki Taki’ are retained from the original film so the composer duo Sajid-Wajid doesn’t deserve credit for that. Their original songs fail to impress either. The two songs mentioned above also don’t satisfy because of Devgn’s unfamiliarity with dancing.
Ajay Devgn carries the film on his shoulders and lives up to the title of Himmatwala, although we have seen him carry off such action packed roles with more perfection. Although Mahesh Manjrekar doesn’t do badly, he is a way better actor than what he does here. But it is the writing and the faulty characterization that is to be blamed.
Paresh Rawal also becomes the victim of the same and also of some over-desperate attempts to create humor. It is the actor’s brilliance that he pulls off this one and manages to provide the much needed laughter. Like most of the action films of today’s times, Tamannah Bhatia doesn’t have much to do. Even acting-wise, she is average. Leena Jumani shines in her debut while Zarina Wahab is likable. The rest of the actors aren’t much to speak about.
Overall, Himmatwala disappoints due to its faulty subject selection and lack of entertainment. Despite the presence of big stars and the commercial nature of the subject, the film will find it tough at the box office.