For once, Bollywood has come out with a sequel which feels organically grown. The 1990 hit ‘Ghayal’, featuring Sunny Deol as the ordinary-guy-forced-into-taking-the-law-into-his-own-hands, gave the leading man a lasting edge in the snarling stakes. No one could do it better.
‘Ghayal Once Again’ picks up threads from where the original had left off (there are brief flashbacks to prove it), borrows a character from the previous film, and presents the same leading man as older and grizzled, but as filled with hurt and rage as before, doing what he did before: acting as a one-man army against the corrupt system.
The difference is in the director. Sunny Deol picks up the baton, and tries running with it. But he doesn’t go too far. Because the plot is a tired, tiresome cobbling together of bits and pieces of films we’ve seen before: the villains are familiar—a wealthy businessman (Jha), a complicit politician (Joshi), and their henchmen. Same old, yes, but with one more difference: many of the bad guys are ‘firangis’. (Read: Ghayal Once Again, Sanam Teri Kasam to clash at box-office today)
And that’s the trouble with this ‘Ghayal’ redux. The foreign element is all over the place: parts of the film remind you of ‘Die Hard’, ‘Mission Impossible’, ‘True Lies’, and other Hollywood actioners, overlaying a bunch of youngsters being terrorized by hoodlums, a Mumbai over-run by goons belonging to a billionaire who lives in a distinctive shaped building, an RTI activist (Puri) who comes to a sorry pass, and Ajay Satyakam Mehra galloping to the rescue.
The chief antagonist, on paper, may be the richie-rich played by Jha, and his cohorts, but the guy who squares up to Sunny Deol, and spends a lot of screen time chasing him, and being chased by him is a faceless, nameless ‘firangi’ fellow. That’s an instant bummer. Here’s our very own home-grown ‘dhai kilo ka haath’ who can show up the likes of Arnie Schwarzenegger any ol’ time, and who can kick it still, and there’s not even a properly menacing villain who can match up to him, snarl for snarl?
Bahut na-insaafi hai. Amrish Puri, we miss you. (PHOTOS: Ghayal Once Again, Sanam Teri Kasam to clash at box-office today)
Till the film keeps moving briskly—the chase scenes are effective, if stretched—you stay with it. And then the ludicrous plot with all those hanging threads kicks in, and prevents us from getting what we’ve come to this film for : to see Sunny D. do his thing the way only he can.
Sunny the actor is still a lethal weapon and can blow his opponent all the way across the room. Sunny the director should just get out his way.