Agneepath is a 2012 Indian Hindi action thriller film produced by Karan Johar. It is a remake of a 1990 cult classic film of the same name and is directed by Johar's former assistant Karan Malhotra. While Hrithik Roshan plays the lead role of Vijay Deenanath Chauhan, Sanjay Dutt plays the role of the main antagonist Kancha Cheena, originally played by Amitabh Bachchan and Danny Denzongpa respectively. The film stars Priyanka Chopra as the female lead. Other members of the cast include Rishi Kapoor playing a newly introduced negative character, Om Puri and Zarina Wahab among others. The award winning character of Krishnan Iyer M.A played by Mithun Chakraborty in the original has been totally done away with. Shooting of the film mostly took place in Diu and Mumbai's film city. Agneepath released on 26 January 2012 to highly positive reviews from critics.
The story opens in an island village of Mandwa. The school teacher of the village,Dinanath Chauhan (Chetan Pandit),who is highly respected by the villagers tries to dissuade them from giving away their lands on lease to Kancha Cheena (Sanjay Dutt),the son of the village head who plans to start a drug mafia.Knowing this,Kancha decides to get rid of the school teacher.He devices a plan which agitates the villagers against the school teacher.Kancha,with the support of the villagers kills the teacher by hanging him to death from a tree which is witnessed by young Vijay Chauhan (Hrithik Roshan),the son of the teacher.Vijay Chauhan along with his pregnant mother Suhasini Chauhan (Zarina Wahab) leaves the village.Destitute, they find shelter in the city of Mumbai but Vijay keeps the fire to go back to Mandwa and kill Kancha burning.While in Mumbai,Vijay Chauhan's mother delivers a baby girl named Shiksha.Vijay Chauhan is attracted to Rauf Lala (Rishi Kapoor),a local girl trafficker,drug lord and importantly an anti of Kancha and wants to get into his company.During this period,he testifies in favour of Rauf Lala and kills a cop.Eventually he is joined into the gang by Rauf Lala.Meanwhile,his mother along with his baby sister leaves Vijay because she thinks he was wasted by the thought of taking revenge for his father's death.
Vijay through the years,works for Rauf Lala and finds himself as a trusted worker for the drug lord.Meanwhile,he also does several charity activities on the name of his sister.Once inspector and now commissioner,Gaitonde (Om Puri) acts as a silent guardian for Vijay and tries to eliminate crime in the Mumbai city.During the time when Rauf's influence over the drug business in Mumbai is falling,Kancha decides to grow his influence as a drug lord in the city and sends one of his men over to Mumbai for the process.Vijay with the help of the commissioner disrupts this plan and is lauded by Lala.He further gains the trust of Lala by taking a bullet shot which was thought was aimed for Lala's son but is later revealed as a conspiracy involving Vijay and the man kancha sent over to Mumbai to whom Vijay offers to help Kancha in expanding his drug business in Mumbai.
On the night of his marriage,Lala's son Mazhar Lala (Rajesh Tandon) gets the information that the shot was fired by Kancha's man and along with Vijay leaves to end him in the process of which is shot dead by Kancha's man right in front of Vijay who is unmoved.Vijay later shoots the killer for leaving the evidence of their conspired plan.Lala on seeing his son dead falls sick and is admitted into a hospital unconscious.In the meantime,Vijay takes the place of Lala and stops all the crimes committed by Lala's gang.He then is then contacted by Kancha.He accepts Kancha's offer and goes to Mandwa for a business deal.While in Mandwa,Vijay puts his deal in front of Kancha which is handing over the drug business in Mumbai over to Kancha and in return taking Mandwa.Though Kancha initially suspects this deal, he later agrees on the condition that the commissioner must be killed.
Meanwhile back in Mumbai,Lala regains health and knows the truth behind his son's death.He gets hold of Vijay's sister Shiksha(Kanika Tiwari) and calls out for her sale in public to one who bids the most.Vijay is notified of this by Kancha and he flees back to Mumbai and kills Lala after which he gets closer to his family.In the meantime,Kancha sents a man to assasinate the commissioner.This man identifies Vijay to be the son of the teacher killed by Kancha and reports this to Kancha.This man while trying to assasinate the commisioner is killed by Vijay.The commisioner later warns Vijay to be careful as Kancha posed him a threat.Vijay then marries his love interest Kaali (Priyanka Chopra)who is killed right after their marriage during a shooting spree by Kancha's men.
Vijay leaves for Mandwa to avenge the death of his father and his wife by killing Kancha and on the otherhand,Kancha gets hold of Vijay's mother and sister and brings them to Mandwa.During the final showdown,Vijay bearing a couple of initial stabbings from Kancha garners energy and kills Kancha by hanging him from the same tree to which his father was hanged to. Finally, Vijay succumbs to his injuries and breaths his last in the hands of his mother.
Debutant director Karan Malhotra and Karan Johar approached Hrithik Roshan in 2010 instead of the more obvious choice of Abhishek Bachchan as Vijay Deenanath Chauhan. He agreed to the play the role even before he finished hearing the script. Actress Genelia D'Souza was originally considered to play the female lead but the part eventually went to Priyanka Chopra. Sanjay Dutt was signed on to play the character of Kancha Cheena, the main antagonist. The award winning character of Krishnan Iyer M.A. originally played by Mithun Chakraborty was totally done away with and rather a completely new negative character of Rauf Lala was introduced and to be played by actor Rishi Kapoor. Other members of the cast include Om Puri & Zarina Wahab. Actress Katrina Kaif was approached to do an item number for the film, which she eventually agreed.
Filming started in January 2011. The entire film was shot in Diu with a few scenes shot in a mill in Mumbai. Hrithik Roshan and Sanjay Dutt both undertook a strict exercise regime to gain muscle for the film. The initial release date of the film was November 11, 2011. It was pushed to January 26, 2012. On October 18 it was reported that Hrithik Roshan had injured himself during shooting; the shooting will now be delayed by 15 days. Director Karan Malhotra had tweeted that the second trailer of Agneepath will be released at the end of December alongside Don 2. Katrina Kaif is doing an item song choreographed by Ganesh Acharya in Agneepath called "Chikni Chameli" which will also feature Hrithik Roshan and Sanjay Dutt. The first promo of "Chikni Chameli" was released on 13 December.
According to the art director Sabu Cyril, Mandwa, the village in the film is close to Mumbai but at the same time is an island and the characters commute by boat from Mumbai to Mandwa. Diu being a terrain and totally cordoned off from other places, was chosen such that it looks like a small village next to the sea. An elaborate set of the village was put up at a lower level with huts, a school and a lighthouse to give a realistic effect. A banyan tree with fibre was made to have a particular look of a tree at the edge of a hillside, protruding out due to erosion, with not enough soil.
A big haveli like structure with some tantric paintings on the walls, resembling an old fort built by the Portuguese (who had historically occupied Diu) was created as the den of film's main antagonist Kancha Cheena. The den was later recreated in Mumbai to shoot the song "Chikni Chameli". Vijay's (main protagonist) shelter, a small sack-like thing on the terrace in a chawl was built on some open ground with a hundred houses. The huge set boasts of about 60 feet in height and 110 feet in length. A small cave in Diu was also used after adding a Buddha statue.
The team consisting of around 200 members, had to carry all the materials from Mumbai and walk on the sand with heavy instruments to create the sets three-and-a-half kilometers away from the beach, without any approach road. A road was later built for the artistes and other crew members with prior approvals from each villager. Five to six palm trees were made as there was no shade and the landscape looked very flat.
The first look of Hrithik Roshan's character was revealed on July 5, 2011. Producer Karan Johar posted a link on Twitter to Agneepath's Facebook page, which contained an image of Hrithik as Vijay Dinanath Chauhan. For the purpose of a guaranteed screen coverage and wider recognition for the film, the Dharma Productions team planted the first theatrical trailer of the film with the prints of Salman Khan's Bodyguard, which released on August 29, 2011 and the second theatrical trailer was circulated with the prints of Shahrukh Khan's Don 2 which released on December 23, 2011.
All the songs are composed by the duo Ajay-Atul while lyrics are penned by Amitabh Bhattacharya. The song "Chikni Chameli" is a remake of the Marathi song "Kombdi Palali" composed by Ajay-Atul for the Marathi movie Jatra, the song features Katrina Kaif, Hrithik Roshan and Sanjay Dutt.
The music of Agneepath got rave reviews from some of the top reviewers of Tinsel Town. Joginder Tuteja gave 4.5 stars, quoting" Chikni Chameli would be a good enough reason to set up brisk sales for the album. ". Sukanya Verma of Rediff gave the album 3 out of 5 stars and said that the film's music was "promising". "After a couple of false starts earlier this year, Ajay Atul have truly arrived in Bollywood with Agneepath", said Music Aloud which rated it 8.5/10
The movie opened to highly positive reviews from critics. According to review aggregator Review Gang, professional critics have given the film a rating of 7 out of 10. Taran Adarsh gave the film a score of 4.5 out of 5, and said "Agneepath is an uncomplicated story of revenge, is hard-hitting yet entertaining, dwells on strong emotions and aggressive and forceful action, yet is dissimilar from the original. ... It is a fitting tribute to the masterwork. The movie has all the potential to scale dizzy heights of victory and catapult Hrithik Roshan as the newest member of the 100 cr Club, besides providing the Hindi film industry with the first giant Blockbuster of 2012. A definite winner!". Subhash K.Jha of IANS gave it 4 out of 5 stars, pointing "Every component of the film falls into place, with a resounding thump. Agneepath is brilliant in its brutality. It's a riveting and hectic homage to the spirit of the cinema when revenge reigned supreme. And content was King. This new Agneepath takes us back to the era when there was no computer or cellphones. And communication with the audience was immediate and electrifying." Rahul Kapoor of Realbollywood gave it 4 out of 5, mentioning "This is a dark brooding world; this is a world where the laws of retribution and redemption are re-written according to who rules the underworld. This is 'Agneepath' where the poet gets hanged and the pervert gets promoted." Kaveree Bamzai of India Today rated the movie 4 out of 5, noting "Melodramatic, choir-inducing sentiment, ecstatic.Agneepath is that rare mainstream movie written well." Aniruddha Guha of DNA gave the film 3.5 out of 5, reviewing "An adaptation rather than a remake, the film assumes a life of its own once the central plot has been established... the film then charts a journey of his own." Piyali Dasgupta of NDTV gave it 3.5 out of 5, stating "Watch this film because this one is unadulterated Bollywood entertainment." Daily Bhaskar gave the film 3.5 out of 5 stars, adding "On the whole, Agneepath totally rests on star power which will lure the cine-goers to halls but how far will it impress them remains to be seen." Sukanya Varma of Rediff gave it 3 out of 5, commenting "Agneepath, less of a remake, more of a tribute. The makers of Agneepath should have just called it Dharmapath." Mansha Rastogi of Nowrunning gave the movie 3 out of 5 stars, wrote that "Much against some flaws, Agneepath deserves to be lauded for performances and should be encouraged for a very convincing remake to a cult classic." Mayank Shekhar of Hindustan Times gave the movie 3 out of 5 stars remarking "This is the kind of genuine theatre experience, now getting rare, which remains most precious in the life of a film-goer. Reason can take over later. I had a ball!" Sonia Chopra of Sify gave it 3 out of 5, mentioning "Debut director Karan Malhotra shows great promise in making the film visually arresting and maintaining the consistency of performances. But remaking a cult film means you have big shoes to fill. If you’re a loyalist of the Late Mukul Anand’s Agneepath, you’re likely to have reservations with this one. But if you leave the comparisons aside and are willing to forgive the faults, Agneepath is worth a watch essentially to savor Hrithik’s performance."
Agneepath opened to packed houses throughout the country. Despite having less screen number and excessive length, it still succeeded in becoming the biggest first day grosser ever in Indian Cinema, according to box office India it collected Rs. 25.76 crores breaking previous record held by Bodyguard of 21.5 crore.
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