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Ram Gopal Varma Ki AagRam Gopal Varma Ki Aag: Review
31st Aug 2007  22.13 IST
By Nikhil Kumar  

Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag doesn't come anywhere close to the real thing, Ramesh Sippy 's Sholay .

Unlike the original film, 'RGV Ki Aag' has nothing that leaves a lasting impression on a viewer. The movie is a mere assorted collection of Varma's own interpretation of scenes from the original. There is no cohesive linear flow in the story. The dialogues, with frequent references to America, Iraq and Al Qaeda, are horribly amateurish. Nowhere close to the mastery of Salim and Javed in the original.

Varma was seemingly very obsessed with the idea of remaking 'Sholay'. But he did not realize the mammoth task of recreating the same magic. And in his blind zeal and obsession, Varma has floundered big time.

Firstly, he cast wrong actors in the roles of Heero and Raj. Ajay Devgan (as Heero) doesn't have the flair to tickle the funny bone. And newcomer Prashant Raj (as brooding Raj) simply doesn't know how to act. With these two pivotal roles going to inappropriate actors, the movie is already half sunk. Only Mohanlal and Sushmita Sen look convincing in their respective roles.

Ramu has given a very different interpretation to the character of Babban Singh (originally Gabbar). His Babban looks menacing, repulsive and fatigued. He is a bit psychotic with a slight caricaturish streak. And yet you don't dread this character half as much as you did Gabbar Singh. Unlike the latter, there is not a single dialogue of Babban Singh that you would carry home with you.

'RGV Ki Aag' stays loyal to 'Sholay' as far as the basic plot of the story is concerned. Two small-time crooks, Heero (Ajay Devgan) and Raj (Prashant Raj) catch the eye of honest police inspector Narsimha (Mohanlal) because of their bravery. Later, Narsimha hires them to catch the dreaded and notorious gangster Babban Singh Amitabh Bachchan ) who killed Narsimha's family and cut off his fingers.

Heero and Raj arrive in Kaliganj where Heero falls for the charm of a beautiful auto-rickshaw driver Ghungroo Nisha Kothari ) while Raj develops feelings for the grim widow Durga (Sushmita Sen).

As Heero and Raj begin cracking down on Babban Singh and his men, battle lines are drawn. Babban, along with his henchman Thambi Sushant Singh ), will fight to the bitter end to eliminate the two brave recruits of Narsimha.

Ram Gopal Varma gives his own twist to the story and characters of the original movie. But he does incorporate some scenes from 'Sholay'. Like the scene when Heero threatens to commit suicide if Ghungroo's mother does not agree to marry her with him. Or Heero teaching shooting to Ghungroo. Or Durga nursing a wounded Raj.

What Ramu fails to do is to create a right chemistry between the characters. For instance, you don't see and feel any camaraderie between Heero and Raj. Even the muted love between Raj and Durga is bland. To cut to the chase, Ramu fails big time as a director.

The cinematography by Amit Roy is brilliant, but Amar Mohile's background score is terrible. Even the film's songs are just mediocre compositions and the much talked-about Mehbooba Mehbooba (with special appearance by Urmila Matondkar and Abhishek Bachchan ) is not a patch on RD Burman's composition.

The movie could have been salvaged only through performances, but there too one meets with disappointment only. Ajay Devgan is just average. Prashant Raj can't act. Nisha Kothari hams. Mohanlal is good and Sushmita Sen is very expressive. Amitabh Bachchan does his best to enact Ramu's interpretation of Babban Singh.

All in all, 'RGV Ki Aag' is a letdown. The movie only reminds you how great and matchless the real 'Sholay' was and is.

Rating: *

Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag
Ramesh Sippy
Ajay Devgan
Prashant Raj
Sushmita Sen
Amitabh Bachchan
Nisha Kothari
Sushant Singh
Ram Gopal Varma
Urmila Matondkar
Abhishek Bachchan

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