Agneepath (1990)


What a film! What a performance! I have just walked the Path of Fire – Agneepath.

This one is full-on melodrama and reminds me of Brian de Palma’s bombastic Scarface. The first 30min is one of the best openings ever. A boy is taught a life lesson by his father – every person in his lifetime will walk through the Agneepath and how he turns out is important. Before long his righteous father is humiliated and killed. The boy drags his father’s body in a cart with all his might out of the village. Together with his mother and sister, they leave the village. The boy promises his mother he will give the village back to his mother one day. How to interpret ‘give’ I won’t say. The boy then works the slums of Mumbai through the ranks and becomes the Don. He will eventually illterally and metaphorically walk the path of fire to proof his worth.

I find the movie very violent. Lots of fake gloriously red blood everywhere. The violence is gratuitously portrayed and it is helped by the sound effects of the 70s. Think Bruce Lee’s films and you will understand. But the violence wasn’t pointless. It serves a purpose. And the action keeps getting more and more epic as it progresses through a run-time of 2hr 47min. One of my faves occurs somewhere in the mid-way mark – a mud-fight. The staging involves hundreds of extras and was simply awesome to watch. I thought it couldn’t be topped but I was wrong.

Amitabh Bachchan is simply outstanding here. His speech pattern reminds me of Marlon Brando in Godfather and the anger that seethes just beneath his skin, intoxicating. This film belongs to him, absolutely. There are some Terminator moments but I was so vested in his journey through the path of fire that I could forgive anything. Bachchan is Animal! Bachchan is Magnetism! This is one of the best performances I have ever seen in the cinema of Bollywood.

There are a couple of song and dance numbers here but thankfully I didn’t see Bachchan do the boogie woogie. Personally I rather the whole film be dark and murky but I can see why some humour from a coconut seller, the Don’s savior is much needed.




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