‘Himmatwala’ review: A poor cousin of the original!

Gayatri Sankar

As the film opens with Sonakshi Sinha grooving to a disco number doing a Parveen Babi and Sridevi, you will certainly be left to anticipate a typical retro-styled film with comedy, action, ‘melo’drama, naach-gaana around matkis and gagris all in equal proportion.

Sajid Khan’s “entertainer” ‘Himmatwala’ starring Ajay Devgn has all the ingredients of a mindless masala film. But it does jolt you at regular intervals, for sopping up a 30-year-old formula, proves fatal to your contemporary digestive system!

Ravi (Ajay Devgn) is an action master, who earns his livelihood by showing his muscle power at a club run in Mumbai by an ardent fan of Pop Legend Michael Jackson- Michael Jaikishen (Chunky Pandey). And on one odd day, the son of Rampur, Ravi decides to visit his birthplace. He goes in search of his grief-stricken mother Savitri (Zareena Wahab) and sister Padma (Leela Jumani), only to find them in dire straits. And that is when his mother narrates to him the tale of her miseries.

Savitri wants her son Ravi to settle the scores with Sher Singh (Mahesh Manjrekar), the merciless landlord, who has used his position and wealth to suppress the villagers. Sher Singh, the greedy zameendar, is assisted by his brother-in-law Narayan Das (Paresh Rawal). And at his mother’s behest, Ravi is all set to avenge his enemies.

The film revives a tattered and a bizarre formula that may work at the Box Office but will rattle sensibilities.

Nonetheless, performances of certain characters make the film bearable. Paresh Rawal as Narayan Das is outstanding. He literally reminds you of comic legend Kader Khan and his witty dialogues, something that has been missing in films these days. Rawal’s impeccable performance in the film proves that character artists are either not being used appropriately or rather being abused nowadays.

Filmmaker Mahesh Manjrekar has done a commendable job as an actor in the film. Tamannaah Bhatia as Rekha looks very promising. She is pretty, delicate and good at her job. And last but not the least, Ajay Devgn, without whom the film wouldn’t have been possible, will enthrall his fans yet again. He is thoroughly entertaining and looks mighty fit even at 43!

And the one to have made Ajay - the invincible ‘Himmatwala’, Sajid Khan has indeed produced an “entertainer” (a film devoid of cinematic aesthetics). The filmmaker doesn’t really believe in winning applause from critics, for he makes films solely with the intention of entertaining the audiences. And rightly so - to each his own! But one needs to find some sense even in utterly contrived situations…no??

The comedy sequences do their bit and so do the breathtaking action sequences. Fans of Devgn can look forward to his fist fight with a tiger and get swayed into the world of fantasies. But the portions where Zarina Wahab mouths “sentimental” dialogues (though they are meant to make you go teary eyed), you can’t help but burst into laughter.

The songs ‘Naino Mein Sapna’ and ‘Taki Taki’ are refreshing. But the ‘Dhokha’ song featuring divas from the television world looks forced.

In totality, the film is a typical masala entertainer, as director Sajid Khan would like to put it. You will certainly get entertained only if you had nursed the desire to travel back in time, especially to an era when cinema revolved around a helpless mother-daughter duo and their life-savior ‘Himmatwala’.

One and half for the film and half a star more for Paresh Rawal.

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