Saturday, 1 September 2007

AAG - NDTV Movies Report

After months of hype, controversy and court cases, RGV Ki Aag finally arrived in theaters this week. Ramu has never been short on guts. He has played by his own rules and created space for his brand of distinctive cinema.In Sarkar he took on the classic The Godfather. And now he reinvents the other cinematic holy cow: Sholay.The difference is that in Sarkar, the spirit of The Godfather hovered in the background. Sarkar was a fully realized film that stood on its own.In Aag, the spirit of Sholay has consumed the film and turned it into half-baked mess much like Linda Blair in The Exorcist.Characters, scenes, dialogue and even the background music echo the original. Only the names have changed because of legal complications. So anyone who has seen the original - and that's everyone over twenty-five-can't help but compare the two and I'm afraid there is no comparison.

Ramesh Sippy's Sholay is a classic because every element in it worked to perfection. The ingredients of popular Hindi film-action, romance, emotion, comedy-were blended perfectly to create the premium masala mix. Each character was finely-etched, every dialogue memorable.In Aag, only the drama of Narsimha versus Babban comes alive. Everything else, especially the romance and comedy, is absolutely limp.The milieu isn't the Bombay underworld that Ramu specializes in but a strange, half-urban-half-rural space called Kaliganj where Babban stomps around in giant boots.The stand-out performances here are Monhanlal as the upright cop and Amitabh Bachchan as the heinous criminal. Mr. B chews up the scenery with his psychotic bad behavior.There's a spectacularly funny moment when he looks at Nisha Kothari and declares: Toh yeh hai Miss Kaliganj. But beyond a point all the guns, gore, snarling and ugly men shot at impossible angles becomes totally exhausting.Thirty-two years after the original, the only improvement Ramu has managed is that he's fleshed out the character of Sambha, here called Thambe and performed superbly by Sushant Singh.Aag might work for teenagers who haven't seen Sholay but for those of us who've savored the original film not once but ten, twenty, thirty times, RGV Ki Aag is an exercise in futility.

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Malayalam Actress, Bollywood Actress, Hollywood Actress, Indian film

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