Let’s get one thing straight! To remake a film that not only set box-office records and is referred to as a classic, but also one that by far has the biggest recall value, is playing with aag. Ramgopal Varma, the maverick film-maker, has the courage to remake SHOLAY, a film that continues to be one of the favorite entertainers across the globe.
Comparisons with SHOLAY are obvious and one presumes, RGV knew it all along that’s he’s bound to feel the heat by those who swear by SHOLAY. To give the credit where it’s due, RGV remains faithful to the classic, not once does he deviate from the plot, not once does he twists facts… you know exactly what to expect and where the story is heading.
Jai, Veeru, Thakur, Basanti and above all Gabbar are characters that attained cult status over the years, especially Gabbar. RAMGOPAL VARMA KI AAG does justice to those characters, especially Gabbar, who wore a sinister look on his face all the while. Terror has a new name now. It’s Babban!
Shortcomings? Oh yes! The romantic track, involving Ajay – Nisha Kothari, is a yawn. To be more specific, the by-now-famous ‘suicide’ sequence doesn’t work. Prior to that, Prashant and Sushmita’s meeting with Nisha’s parents to seek her hand in marriage for Ajay also falls flat. Besides, this is not for the faint-hearted who detest violent films. RAMGOPAL VARMA KI AAG is sure to give them hiccups.
To cut a long story short, the comparisons with SHOLAY will tell on RAMGOPAL VARMA KI AAG.
In the dark underbelly of Mumbai city, a nihilistic new leader has risen to rule the fetid underworld. His name is Babban [Amitabh Bachchan]. Cruel beyond imagination, psychotically violent and far more devious than any gangster the city has ever known.
Nobody has ever seen him and if they did, they didn’t survive to tell the tale. But one man believed in his existence. And that is Inspector Narsimha [Mohanlal], who has a single-minded determination to finish Babban.
RAMGOPAL VARMA KI AAG is SHOLAY, yet different. Sure, the story is the same, but the setting and interpretation of the story are different, very contemporary. As a storyteller, the RGV stamp is visible in a couple of sequences. Note Bachchan’s spine-chilling introduction. Nisha’s introductory sequence also makes you break into a chuckle. The Sachin episode that gives birth to a bitter enmity is tremendous. The sequence outside the courtroom [Bachchan - Mohanlal face off] is remarkable. Bachchan avenging his brother’s death by eliminating Mohanlal’s family is terrifying…