Remaking Agneepath was a big challenge, but the biggest of them all was playing the role of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, one of Bollywood’s most iconic characters.
Has Hrithik Roshan as the new Vijay Dinanath Chauhan lived upto those expectations? Below is a compilation of reviews, from almost all of the credible critics in India.
- MDTV (thumbs up) – Hrithik remains grounded. He, like his lover Kaali, is the boy-next-door at heart. Circumstances change his life and surroundings, but his heart remains the same. The pain in Hrithik’s eyes when he returns to Mandwa, the climax, the grim Ganesh visarjan – oh there are just so many.
- MovieTalkies (thumbs up) – Critics will hold that Hrithik’s performance doesn’t match up to that of Bachchan’s. But then, Roshan isn’t actually trying to recreate that classic growl and stagger. Instead, Hrithik’s Vijay Chauhan is a character all his own. He doesn’t wear suits and doesn’t drive big cars. Instead, he is content living in his small rooftop hut in Dongri, because his single-minded focus is Kancha. Taking centrestage, Hrithik’s Vijay speaks little, believing that his actions speak louder. And speak louder, they do. Brilliantly intense and controlled in every step, Hrithik shocks with the sheer force of his performance, so much so that as you glimpse into his face, you actually ache for him to have his revenge.
- Mayank Shekhar (thumbs up) – Bachchan’s irreplaceable, of course. So is Hrithik, India’s hardest working, most intense super-star, ever. In a career spanning 12 years, there’s something to be said about an actor for the number of times he’s likely to have heard, from masses or critics, that “this is his best performance yet”: Koi Mil Gaya, Lakshya, Krishh, Dhoom 2, Jodha Akbar, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, Guzaarish. One can safely add this film to the list.
- Aniruddha Guha (thumbs up) – Hrithik underplays Chauhan, relying on facial expressions rather than dialogue baazi (why straddle him with a typical Bachchan trait). It’s refreshing to see Hrithik bereft of glamour and style, and he portrays the angsty, rooted hero well.
- Mansha Rastogi (thumbs up) – Right from the first promo itself the unanimous opinion remained that Sanjay Dutt would easily overpower Hrithik Roshan in this film. However, Hrithik proves everyone wrong and outshines in his portions.
- Sonia Chopra (thumbs up) – And then there’s Hrithik Roshan. How does he do it every time? Roshan will blow your socks off with his rendering of Vijay where he masterfully folds in vulnerability with strength.
- Oneindia (thumbs up) – As Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, Hrithik Roshan has given superb performance. He has not tried to copy Amitabh Bachchan from the original. He has his own distinct way of portraying this role.
- Taran Adarsh (thumbs up) – The pertinent query that comes to one’s mind is whether the new avatar of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan has enough inferno in him to match up to the magnificent performance of Sr. Bachchan. The answer is in the affirmative. Hrithik comes up with an astoundingly arresting performance. He does not emulate the veteran’s portrayal of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan. Instead, he approaches the character in his own distinctive mode. AGNEEPATH only reiterates the fact that Hrithik has grown into a far superior and complete performer. In fact, the performance has the potential to keep the whistle blowers busy thanks to his magnificent interpretation of an iconic character.
- Komal Nahta (thumbs up) – Hrithik Roshan does an absolutely mind-blowing job. He plays Vijay so wonderfully that this could go down in Bollywood history as one of his best performances to-date. Note, for instance, how he uses his eyes and body language to convey the emotions, whether of anger, hurt, love or joy. He is terrific indeed and his performance is award-winning! His physique is to die for.
- Zee News (thumbs up) – Very early in his career, Hrithik Roshan had played some intense and brooding characters in movies like ‘Fiza’ and ‘Mission Kashmir’. Although the films were major Box Office failures, Hrithik the actor, was appreciated for taking up such roles so early in his acting career. The actor became a star and slowly got engulfed in glitzy glamorous roles. After almost a decade, Hrithik comes back in the same brooding avatar in this week’s new release, ‘Agneepath’. And oh boy, he is fantastic!
- Kunal Guha (thumbs up) – Hrithik completely absorbs his character and makes the outdated elements about the original character acceptable if not commendable.
- Gaurav Malani, Times of India (thumbs up) – The usually suave Hrithik Roshan convincingly glides into his coarse character here and has a towering presence. He completely redefines Vijay Dinanath Chauhan and never in his act do you see even a glimpse of the original.
- Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Reuters (thumbs up) – Roshan uses his eyes to express the turmoil his character goes through in the film, delivering a powerful performance.
- Karan Anshuman, Mumbai Mirror (thumbs up) – Roshan consciously reconstructs Vijay’s DNA to be different from Bachchan’s. And in this he succeeds. He makes Vijay his own and comparisons pointless.
- Rajeev Masand (thumbs up) – Amitabh Bachchan, who won a National Award for his performance in the earlier film, defined Vijay Dinanath Chauhan with a stylized performance, including a hoarse voice and a swagger. But it’s Hrithik Roshan who redefines this Agneepath. He plays the character without the flourish that Bachchan brought, turning him into a ruthless machine for revenge, yet shouldering layers of hurt, pain and rage that make you match step with him on his journey. He commands the camera once again and delivers a riveting, sincere performance.
- Martin D’Souza (thumbs up) – Hrithik conforms himself to the mould set by Amitabh. He sticks to the plot working with vengeance as his crutch. If you blank out Amitabh’s performance in the original, Hrithik stands out.
- Anuj Kumar, The Hindu (average) – Hrithik doesn’t commit the mistake of going the Amitabh way to play Vijay Dinanath Chauhan. If Amitabh Bachchan played Vijay as a booming sarcastic soul, somebody who had the ability to laugh in turmoil, Hrithik, perhaps aware of his limitations, tries to internalise the pain and plays it as a brooding character, waiting for his turn to settle scores with Kancha. In the process, he becomes a one-note character, but the upshot is that one note is immensely noteworthy. Wish his eyes reflected a little more retribution. Wish in the crucial dining table discussion, he had given vent to his years of pent-up feelings after taking a few bites.
- Sukanya Verma (average) – Hrithik Roshan doesn’t have the magnetism or gravity of Bachchan. He plays Vijay like a boy. AB played him like a man. But, BUT, he has the physicality of a mega star and astuteness of an actor who knows how to use his anxiety, ire and vulnerability to its fullest potential. And he does just that, pays a tribute instead of making the colossal mistake of embodying the established and esteemed.
- Avijit Ghosh (thumbs down) – the more restrained and refined Hrithik, normally a competent performer, often appears pale. Vijay is obsessed with killing Kancha. That single-minded obsession doesn’t come across. The protagonist is carrying a wound in his heart. There is no evidence of it on Hrithik’s face. In the 1990 Mukul Anand version, the young and old Vijays blended seamlessly into each other. Here they don’t.
Overall, with more than 16 out of 19 critics appreciating his performance, it’s safe to say that Hrithik Roshan has not only managed to avoid comparisons with Amitabh Bachchan, but has redefined the character of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan. Does he deserve the Best Actor award? Tell us in the comments section below.