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Himmatwala  : Need himmat to watch it
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Friday, March 29, 2013
Action/drama
Sajid Khan
Ajay Devgn, Tammannah, Paresh Rawal, Mahesh Manjrekar, Zarina Wahab, Adhyayan Suman, Leena Jumani
It’s as Sajid Khan promised. The old Himmatwala is back with new gloss and ancient this-one’s-for-you-mom revenge melodrama. But Sajid can’t quite decide whether he’s making a parody, a tribute or a remake.

The plot: Ravi (Ajay Devgn), a street fighter, returns to his village, Ramnagar, to find his sister Padma (Leena Jumani) and mother (Zarina Wahab) in a pitiable condition. He vows to take revenge against village terror and sarpanch, Sher Singh (Mahesh Manjrekar), the man who broke his family and led his father to commit suicide.

To add to the woes of the traumatized villagers, Sher Singh’s arrogant daughter Rekha (Tamannaah) arrives. Meanwhile, Sher Singh falls low enough to take advantage of the romance between Padma and Shakti (Adhyayan Suman) to get back at Ravi. Sher Singh’s brother-in-law, Narayandas (Paresh Rawal), keeps switching sides – bad-mouthing Sher Singh and helping him in turns.

Ravi is the himmatwala who can take them all on with an expected ally in Rekha who predictably falls in love with him.  But in the end it is Ravi’s battle alone with the vile powers ruining his village.

The good: No worries if you can’t imagine Ajay Devgn in Jeetendra’s white shoes. Devgn breathes life and fire into his role, never mind if he can’t quite dance like the renowned Jumping Jack. Paresh Rawal and Mahesh Manjrekar are superb. Their comic timing is pat and their break dance sequence showcases yet another dimension to these all-round performers. As the beleaguered Ma in the white sari, protective of her son, sacrificing, screaming challenges at the villain and throwing typical 80s-style tantrums at the Goddess if she doesn’t help her son, Zarina Wahab works wonders. Leena Jumani is effective as the ideal sister.

The sets are beautiful especially for the vibrant ‘Naino mein sapna’ song. The tiger sequence is funny, especially in the end when he comes to the rescue (completely predictable). The action sequences are also pretty entertaining.

Although Sonakshi Sinha’s item song is dull, she looks charming and it is fun to watch her moon-dance.

A few dialogues here and there like, “Arre, yeh 1983 hai, pallu faado aur bandho” or “Ye lo YouTube – U shape mein jo tube hai usi bartanon pe paani daalo” and a few more witty dialogues will elicit a few chuckles.

The bad: The much-talked-about Bollywood outing for Tamannah is a waste of a journey as it is a really small role. The tiger has a meatier role than her! Tamannah tries very hard to reprise Sridevi’s Rekha but the sparkle is clearly missing. Ultimately, it is an Ajay Devgn show and she is easily overshadowed by him. Another poor call here is Rekha’s character. The spoilt brat from the city who hates the poor, wears skin-tight skirts, minis and funny frocks. But the moment she has a change of heart and becomes a ‘better person’, she goes traditional in her gear. What a slap to the modern woman.

Adhyayan Suman also fails to bring out Shakti Kapoor’s charm (in the original Himmatwala)  and lacks the punch required for his role. Riteish Deshmukh in a brief guest appearance is also completely wasted.

The continuous reminder – “Hai koi arena mein aane ke liye Himmatwala?” or “Tum Ravi nahi, Himmatwala ho jo iss gaon mein aane ki himmat ki”, “Jab jab kisi aurat pe zulm hoga, tab tab har insaan hoga Himmatwala”, “Aap ka kekda bahut Himmatwala nikla” get irritating after a point. Yes, we all know the name of the movie, stop shoving it down our throats. Another unnecessary dialogue is the Singham-patent – ‘Ata maazi satakli.’ Sajid Khan really overdoes it.
There are also Mr & Mrs Khiladi-like moments for Paresh Rawal where he speaks to the audience in-between. But while the earlier one was innovative and fun, here it feels completely out of place.
Sajid-Wajid’s music is not at all impressive. Choreography (Chinni Prakash, Ganesh Acharya and Farah Khan) also fails to amaze.

As a parody, Himmatwala works well but as a remake, it is a sneer at the original.
Alas, for a film that’s supposed to be a complete entertainer, it is not laugh-out-loud funny.

Overall: Entertaining in parts (doff your hat to the actors), you still need jigar and himmat to sit this one out till the end. But don’t fret if you are disappointed – the director has after all promised a refund to anyone who is unhappy with his Himmatwala!

Priyanka Ketkar

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