Himmatwala: A film critic's 10-point guide to surviving the film
Every now and then Paresh Rawal starts talking to the camera. In fact, he orders the camera.
New Delhi: Whether Sajid Khan gives a second thought about the criticism or not is a different debate altogether but does he care about the audience either? 'Himmatwala' is monotonous, slapstick and an insult to the mental capabilities of the viewers.
There are spoilers ahead, so proceed at your own will or come back later after watching the film.
Inspiration versus copy: A remake is expected to take the original thread forward but shouldn't the director put some original ideas into play. Jeetendra was an engineer in the previous edition while Ajay Devgn is a street fighter. This is the only striking difference in the characterisations of both the films. The writers haven't even thought of giving a twist to the relationships among the actors.
Revenge: On an outset, 'Himmatwala' is a revenge drama but after some scenes the director points his gun towards the spectators. Here onwards, it changes into a pure revenge story with a revised target. The director himself gets confused mid-way about the protagonist and the antagonist as everybody starts targeting everybody. So many heart changes are difficult to handle at one go sir!
The camera is a player: Every now and then Paresh Rawal starts talking to the camera. In fact, he orders the camera to come closer and go farther. This might be planned as a part of an interactive narrative strategy but its execution on screen comes across as an indifferent attitude on part of the director. Paresh Rawal is the pick of the actors despite everyone opting for overacting but the way he bosses the camera around seems like a gesture which is oblivious towards the presence of the spectators on the other side of the lens.
Time and space: Yes, 'Himmatwala' talks about some social evils and would be diseases (as per the standard of 1983) but these things take place so abruptly that you miss the motive of the scene (if they are actually intended). What do you think about the dialogue, "Ye 1983 hai yaar, pallu phado aur baandh do," (This is 1983 my friend, just tear your 'dupatta' and tie). This happens when Ajay Devgn gets injured during a fight and Tamannaah is worried about his wound. The film takes such swift transitions at regular intervals and you start thinking 'what exactly is the era of the film'.
Patience: How much patience does one expect the viewer to display? First Ajay fought a tiger, then he fought the goons, then some more goons and when he gets tired then the tiger joins him in his endeavour. Rest is all history.
New age sensibilities: So, here is a heroine who says, "I hate ghareebs," and here is a hero who kicks her on the back. As if this was not enough, he starts singing (of course, with chorus), 'Maar de bum pe laat,' (Kick her back). I guess you can imagine what was happening during the entire song.
Dialogue: Not many filmmakers would like to believe cinema as a regressive medium, but Sajid Khan has different ideas. There are some scintillating dialogue in 'Himmatwala'. 'Lagta hai kisi ne iski ticket kaat li,' (Seems somebody has cut her ticket, situation: Tamannaah fakes her pregnancy), 'Kasam hai mujhe apni maa aur behan ki teri zindagi ki maa-behan kar doonga,' (I swear on my mother and sister that I will ruin your happiness).
The drama reached its zenith in the sequence where Ajay Devgn fights a tiger, he says to the tiger, "Agar tu ne iss basti pe dubara attack kiya toh main tum logo ki biradari ko itna maaroonga ki 20-30 saal baad log kahenge save the tiger," (If you will again attack on this colony then I will beat your species so much that after 20-30 years people will say save the tiger).
Situational songs: We are more or less tolerant to dream sequences and songs but I don't think we are ready for forced item songs anymore. 'Dhoka dhoka' starts absolutely out of nowhere. The makers of 'Ambe hai meri maa, Durga hai meri maa,' should sue Sajid Khan for using the song.
Ajay Devgn's entry: There is nothing special about the hugely publicized entry of Ajay Devgn in 'Himmatwala'. Every third film has a similar entry for the hero, in fact Ajay himself has made better entries in the past. It's just another effort to encash the 'Dabangg' phenomenon.
Don't blame Sajid: Ravi's (Ajay Devgn) signature dialogue is 'Main pehle hansata hoon fir rulaata hoon,' so Sajid Khan was actually conveying his philosophy through Ravi.