Bollywood review: You just can’t take Ajay Devgn’s ‘Himmatwala’ seriously

‘Himmatwala’ is a lesson in ridiculousness, and a painfully long one at that.

It blatantly assaults our senses, visual and mental, leaving us severely scarred.

In director Sajid Khan’s trademark style, he botches up an already over-the-top 80’s original, by the same title, with innumerable, nonsensical twists and turns.

Shockingly, through his remake, Sajid  even attempts an Ang Lee, and gives a tiger a “meaty” role. Only, Sajid’s appetite for spoofs and the illogical leaves this introduction rather unfunny and bland.

He’s so focused on the buffoonery and dim-witted dialogues, that there’s very little that will tickle you in ‘Himmatwala’.

“I live on the ground floor, so I don’t need a lift,” responds a character, when another asks if he needs a lift.

At, another time, after indulging in a silly, scream contest, an angry man tells another; “I’m bored of As, let’s start with Bs now.”

Surely, Sajid’s target audience demands a little more credit, or should I say, grey matter.

Much like his whimsical take on the original, Sajid eliminates many characters from the original, and introduces a few, unimpressive ones, among them a bunch of eager item girls.

Of the six dancing beauties, only one we identify as the shimmery Sonakshi Sinha, who sways to a dull disco track.

The deaf-and-mute needy bloke and his pleasing ladylove, and the annoying ‘cousin’ are cut out to make way for an elderly righteous villager, a ticket collector and a growling tiger.

Sajid even substitutes the crucial drama surrounding a dam construction in the original with a village election in the remake.

Even, an attempted gang-rape, allowing for a political lecture, and a case of mistaken identity are added to the narrative, that stretches out to 150-minutes.

Surely, the indulgence doesn’t bother Sajid, because for him it’s less about the logic and more about the gags.

Veteran Asrani is probably the only link between the original and the remake, and takes on a new role as the animated ticket collector who mouths the same dialogue over and over again.

Ajay Devgn takes on Jeetendra’s idealist Ravi in this revenge saga, with a lot more gusto and muscle power. He punches a tiger, knocks down the baddies using temple bells and even lifts a bullock cart, minus the animal thankfully.

And, while he sleepwalks through most parts, we sense an obvious awkwardness when he tries to match steps with the versatile Tamannaah. She, in turn, works tirelessly on Sri Devi’s brash Rekha, but not quite her thunder thighs.

While Zarina Waheb impressively reprises Waheeda Rehman’s mommy duties as the resilient Savitri, Mahesh Manjrekar gives Amjad Khan’s notorious Sher Singh a decent punch.

But, it is Paresh Rawal who walks away with the top honours as Sher Singh’s loyal sidekick Narayan Das. A role that even Kedar Khan had perfected in the original.

The only miscast is Adhyayan Suman who is unable to fit into the shoes of the menacing Shakti Kapoor. Clearly, that’s a feat not many can achieve.

While Sajid has refrained from doing scene-to-scene recreations, he has made a few exceptions, especially when illustrating the 80s kitsch in flamboyant dances, and when a bunch of notorious in-laws needed reforming.

I do know that apart from Sajid, there are many, who might enjoy such frivolity, but for some, who’ve not lost their senses, just yet, this is such a waste of valuable time.

And, with the delusional filmmaker, promising to refund anyone unhappy with ‘Himmatwala’, we won’t have to fret about losing our money.

It’s only the long queue for the refunds that should have him worried.

Evidently, it takes a brave heart (himmatwala) to endure this one!

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