When the remake of Himmatwala was announced there were obvious questions around how the film would be presented in the current times. After all, the Jeetendra starrer was a melodramatic affair and for audience of today, it may have been difficult to digest the proceedings in as-is format. However, since it was said that the film would be presented in a new avtar to cater to today’s audience, there were expectations of something really interesting in the offering. As it turns out though, a major part of it is very similar to the original. Also, it catches your attention on and off, not in entirety.
Let’s face it, the very core of Himmatwala isn’t really striking enough to make you expect anything extraordinary. A son (Ajay Devgan) taking on the village lord (Mahesh Manjrekar) since he has scores to settle for death of his father and poor state of his mother (Zarina Wahab) and sister is a storyline that was explored multiple times in the 80s. Of course this is where the treatment comes into picture. The 80s version did work but in the current times, one would have expected something really strikin
This is where Sajid Khan brings in certain elements as well which do aim at bettering the original. One such element is the tiger track which is indeed woven well in the film. Whether it is the first sequence where Ajay takes the tiger heads on or later when latter comes back on the scene, there are moments of genuine thrills. The fight sequence in the truck, where Ajay beats the pulp out of a goon, is executed well too. Also, the last 20 minutes of the film where Zareena Wahab indulges in some dialoguebaazi works as well, more so due to the fact that it makes you feel nostalgic about films of yore.
However, and as stated earlier, this by itself isn’t really something that holds the entire film together. This is because as a core storyline, Himmatwala doesn’t have much to offer. The plots around Ajay’s sister being tortured and later Tamannaah coming to Ajay’s rescue don’t really engage. The dramatic quotient isn’t as striking either while the flashback sequence is ordinary. Yes, Sajid Khan thankfully does eliminate a couple of sub plots centred on a deaf-n-villager (which was quite loose in the original as well) as well as a relative who intends to marry the heroine. However from the add-on perspective, he is further limited by the distance he can cover due to an ordinary core base of the film.
Thankfully Kadar Khan’s track from the original is very well brought back on scene with Paresh Rawal not just emulating the character but also the actor himself. Watch out for the way he communicates with the camera, a la Kadar Khan; it is truly nostalgia from the 80s. Moreover, his dialogues should find good acceptance from the masses. Mahesh Manjrekar does play to the gallery though one misses the occassional menace that Amjad Khan brought in the original. Adhyayan Suman, who reprises Shakti Kapoor’s part, is okay and so are the other supporting actors.
As the actor in and as Himmatwala, Ajay looks the part and going by the theme, is convincing as the character. He bashes up the goons, teases the heroine and also indulges in comedy. The part doesn’t require him to turn overtly intense though. Tamannaah is decent though one waits to see how she performs in a character that comes with more meat. She is a good dancer and that is an added plus. Music goes well with the film’s narrative.
Overall, Himmatwala is a film that could have done better with newer elements added to the overall narrative. With more than just the core of the original being retained, there was as much distance as the film could have travelled.
Rating: 2 Stars
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