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  1. #1
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    Default Film Review: Himmatwala

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    Starring: Jeetendra, Sridevi...Oops, Ajay Devgan, Tamanna, etc.

    Directed by Sajid Khan

    Rating: **

    Sridevi famously said recently that her 1983 career-making potboiler Himmatwala was no Mughal-e-Azam. She was right to a point...Until now, when Sajid Khan’s remake of the 1983 K. Raghvendra Rao film has come along to provide a comparative viewpoint.

    And suddenly the old Himmatwala does appear to be a classic. It gave us the timeless Sridevi as an arrogant spoilt rich bi**h who mouthed insanely capitalistic dialogues like, ‘I hate the poor.’

    30 years later Tamanna Bhatia does a Sridevi. She gets into Sridevi’s leather pants, with a whip to match and tortures the peasants in a village lorded over by a fatuous feudal dad who is not really evil. He is just mad.
    Somehow Tamanna misses the bus and the bullock-car by a wide margin. Not her fault, really. It’s the mood and milieu that this oddball of a remake generates.

    We hear the larger-than-life hero Ravi (Devgn) mouth words of old-fashioned heroism with a straight face. But somehow we aren’t convinced if he means business. Indeed, there was more than a dash of Shakespeare’s Taming Of The Shrew in the way the original Himmatwala Jeetendra brought Sridevi to heel.

    The new-age Sridevi is a squeal. She quickly changes from her audacious miniskirts and high heels with whips as accessories, to being a simpering salwar-kameez-clad doormat who is willing to walk that extra mile for the man in her life.

    There are only two other female characters in the entire plot. The hero’s long-suffering mother (played with commendable dignity by Zarina Wahab) and a sister (Leena Jumani). Vanquished by the villains, the mother and daughter live in the village forests. Curiously the daughter appears to have walked straight out of gym. Like all good sisters from the past history of commercial cinema this one too nearly gets gang-raped .This one happens in a sealed van (Delhi’s grislyrape reconstructed?) until the hero appears to literally crush the wannabe-rapists’ balls. Ouch. Devgn ends his ballsy crusade with one of the film’s many bravura-tinged exclamation lines: “As long as women are attacked Himmatwalas would be born.”

    Chalk up a long-hurrah for this dime-store brave heart. We can look at Ajay Devgn in Himmatwala as the man who came in from the cold and warmed up the bucolic baddies’ backsides with what he calls a bum pe laat. That, we can say is the other side of the jadoo ki jhappi which Sanjay Dutt used to heal the world not so long ago. I guess Dutt’s jadoo ki jhappi got a bum pe laat.


  2. #2
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