Anand Raj on 4th Sep 2007, 5:45pm
haven't seen the movie...but going by your review, I think the movie must be pretty bad...but we must remember that the original 'SHOLAY' per se is not as great a movie as we all make it out to be...the original Sholay too was Ramesh Sippy's amateurish attempt to indianize a Hollywood western with a bit of melodrama, gawdy action and showy one-liners thrown in….fortunately for Sippy, the attempt stood out among the mediocrity that was Bollywood at those times and the movie had become a roaring hit...just because it was such a huge hit doesn't mean that one can classify it as a ‘immortal classic’...we should be careful when using the word 'classic'...a true classic is a movie that touches upon all the right chords of human psyche and usually capable of cutting across all races and nationalities e.g. Scorcese’s Taxi Driver or Satyajit Ray’s Apur Sansar….usually in a classic the only things that may change with times are its fashions, because all generations of all times can readily identify with the fundamental human elements such films usually manage to capture…in that sense, Sholay was hardly a ‘well-made movie’ let alone ‘a classic’…. Sholay was a titillating entertainer at best and a pretentious action thriller at worst ( there are many rubbish scenes in Sholay such as armless Sanjeev Kumar beating the hell out of Amjad Khan, childish and gross romantic sequences between Dharmendra and Hema Malini, the mawkish exchange of cinematic sentiments between Dharmendra and Amitab, when the latter is in throes of death, the silly dance of Hema Malini on the broken glass to save her lover etc.,etc., etc.). In fact, Sholay has done more than considerable damage to Indian Cinema because it has set false standards for the countless action movies of the similar kind or its variations that were to be made later. We had to endure many such movies devoid of any subtlety and nurtured on the bad cinematic traditions kick-started by Sholay( the stereotypical traditions such as very feminine leading ladies dancing in the the villains’ den to save their tethered lovers, the gang of bandits wreaking havoc on goody-goody policemen and the goody-goody policemen or their offspring avenging their ruination, one introverted and one extroverted heroic duos and the unbearable melodrama that is unleashed upon us upon the death of one etc., had come to stay for a long time in Indian cinema….). It is high time we disengage ourselves from the tradition of mistaking every massive hit in the bygone eras for a classic and consider it off-limits for us to be critical of it. Webster’s Dictionary defines the word classic as “something that is balanced, formal, objective, restrained, regular, simple, a term generally opposed to romantic”…most of our movies lack almost all those qualities (especially objectivity that is mark of a truly great movie) and Sholay is hardly an exception…..moreover, the movies like Sholay are dead-end romantics that cannot be usually improved upon because they lack those essential human themes that are the invisible driving forces behind great movies….movies like Sholay are more dependant upon decorative narrative that has come together by a fluke but has the potential to entertain the audience than any consciously worked out human theme which viewers can identify themselves with….hence, ironically, it is the truly great movies which can offer a director more space to weave an entirely different narrative based upon its intrinsic theme using different set of characters or situations and yet retain its human flavor….if it takes a smartass, pseudo-genius like Ram Gopal Varma, who can only appreciate the bare silhouette of bona fide film making but fails to understand its core engineering to waste his energies on remaking a superfluous movie like Sholay, then it takes intellectually-dead and arrogant Indian audiences to seriously believe such an attempt to be an affront rather than childish…..besides, had RGV been cleverer, he would have chosen to remake a honest movie like Nihalani’s Arthsatya and probably would have been more successful……….
Before I get to the business of analyzing Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag, let me state that this film is by far not the worst film you can or will see this year. This is also not as bad as the worst of movies that somehow escape our radar. There may be other films that are technically worse or more painful to sit through, but none of them bring their suckiness together in the way that Ram Gopal Varma has managed to do here.
There’s something else that I must assure some of you: some might think that my opinion of this film is colored by a direct comparison to the original (Sholay, if ....