Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

March 29, 2013

Old is cold!

Filed under: Our FIlms — Rajeev @ 10:45 pm

March 29, 2013

Cast: Ajay Devgan, Tamannah Bhatia, Mahesh Manjrekar, Paresh Rawal, Zarina Wahab, Adhyayan Suman

Director: Sajid Khan

It must take a special kind of skill to remake a mediocre film like 1983’s Himmatwala without even marginally improving on it. Director Sajid Khan’s potpourri of excessive melodrama, puerile humor, cartoonish action, and garish songs plods on for two-and-a-half hours with little concern for your bladder or your mental health.

The all-new Himmatwala has many of the same problems that plagued the earlier film, and a few new ones of its own. Chief among these is its inability to decide what it wants to be – an honest remake, evocative of the tone and spirit of those 80s ‘Madras potboilers’, or a tongue-in-cheek spoof of that very genre.

Ajay Devgan is Ravi, our nostril-flaring hero who returns to the village of his birth seeking vengeance on the man who destroyed his family. Sher Singh (Mahesh Manjrekar) is the gentleman in question, although his actions are most ungentlemanly. He’s the oppressive, land-grabbing sarpanch of the village who’s instilled fear in the hearts of locals.

To be honest, Sajid Khan doesn’t so much direct, as he launches an assault on our senses with a string of tired clichés you thought you’d seen the last of – the hero’s widowed mother who repeatedly binds him in a “maa ki kasam”, his unfortunate sister who only exists to be raped by the villain’s henchmen and tortured by her in-laws, the villain’s spoilt but good-hearted daughter who falls for the hero much to her father’s disdain, and even an old foe who turns up at a crucial moment to help the hero in return for sparing his life earlier…that character, by the way, is played by a tiger!

But Himmatwala is intended as much as a comedy as it is a revenge saga, even if the humor alternates between regressive and plain pedestrian. Sher Singh’s daughter (Telugu star Tamannah) carries around a whip and declares: “I hate gareebs!”. Paresh Rawal, playing Sher Singh’s sidekick brother-in-law is always ready with an obvious pun. The only genuinely clever bit is a black-and-white spoof on the infamous shower scene from Psycho, but it’s too smart for this film.

Packed from start to finish with too many underwhelming action scenes, and song sequences that pale in comparison to Jeetendra and Sridevi’s matka-jhatkas, the new Himmatwala is a busy, crowded film but one that’s deathly dull in the final reckoning. So predictable and boring in fact, that Rohit Shetty’s films feel like Citizen Kane in comparison.

Amidst the sea of hammy performances, it’s Ajay Devgan, expectedly, who manages not to entirely embarrass himself. He pummels the bad guys competently, and carries off some of the film’s corny lines without tripping. But it’s such a shame to watch this reliable, robust performer reduce himself to appearing in this drivel.

I’m going with one out of five for director Sajid Khan’s Himmatwala. The movie opens with a disco song featuring Sonakshi Sinha that goes: “Thank God, it’s Friday!”

Not this Friday, believe me.

(This review first aired on CNN-IBN)


  1. sir,

    believe me actually I was waiting for your review..but was disappointed…because this review could not beat review of Char DIN KI CHANDANI….

    u need to be Himmatwala to watch Himmatwala…

    Comment by Dharmesh — March 29, 2013 @ 11:16 pm

  2. really feel sad for ajay devgn who was once one of the most promising intense actors (remember his gangajal,khakhi,omkara days) now has stoop down to such level that every time i see him acting in rohit shetty movie makes me CRINGE..but working with sajid khan is different level altogether..sorry boss cant waste my dollars on this movie..but rajeev you man once again rocked it with your humor..thats why i call you “India’s Roger Ebert”…

    Comment by indrani — March 29, 2013 @ 11:23 pm

  3. I was looking forward to a good laugh before reading this review, disappointed!!

    Comment by Akash — March 29, 2013 @ 11:43 pm

  4. Bullshit movie..! such a headache

    Comment by Shiv — March 30, 2013 @ 12:01 am

  5. ”’So predictable and boring in fact, that Rohit Shetty’s
    films feel like Citizen Kane in comparison”’lozzzz you made my day rajeev//

    Comment by shrish — March 30, 2013 @ 12:43 am

  6. I nominate d tiger for best supporting actor..shitty remake..spoof sounds better

    Comment by Shankz — March 30, 2013 @ 1:01 am

  7. rajeev sir if you can please reply to this question of mine……..i really request you sir please answer
    why such kind of cinema is so popular now a days and why such non sensical idiotic films are being made one after the other and they are entering the 100crore club every now and then and all i know is everyone around me is not enjoying such movies then who the hell on this earth are watching these movies that producers want to make one after the other
    and when will this trend or phase finally be over so we can watch actual CINEMA which is supposed to entertain (as well as educate) audiences, such movies are insult to our sense of intelligence which these so called Directors are making every now and then
    if they have so much knowledge about cinema why cant they make something Progressive which will help not only them but the whole industry and us audiences…….if they cant why cant they just step aside and see how good films are made……………….
    movies like these can be reviewed a day or even months prior to their release……….
    we are celebrating the 100th year of hindi cinema but with movies like these coming one after the other so fast its like soon we will be served with movies like these only because how can can you try to make meaningful cinema if utter non sense can make you a millionaire
    strength to those coming of age filmmakers and to our audiences
    hope this phase will end soon and as they say there is always a light at the end of the tunnel……….

    Comment by tushant — March 30, 2013 @ 1:20 am

  8. The TGIF punchline is seriously a Great ONE

    Comment by Aashkaran — March 30, 2013 @ 7:50 am

  9. I sud be awarded ‘The Bravery
    Award’ for watching ‘Himmatwala’!!!

    Comment by Mehul — March 30, 2013 @ 7:57 am

  10. Sajid Khan: I’m allergic to critics.
    Critics: Cool!

    Comment by JMo — March 30, 2013 @ 9:50 am

  11. bwahahahahaa !! Trust me that is exactly what I expected from Sir Sajid Khan.

    Comment by Vishal — March 30, 2013 @ 10:22 am

  12. Great review once again Mr. Masand 🙂 Keep up the wonderful work. Here is my review of ‘Himmatwala’ http://aajani.blogspot.ca/2013/03/movie-review-himmatwala_4554.html

    Comment by Amin Ajani — March 30, 2013 @ 11:51 am

  13. gr8 Mr.Rajeev ,Now u spell the magic words correctly ,right star for deserving movies,I am also agree with mr. masand to give only poor 1 star to this movie,Sajid Khan proof himself he is a very very worst director of our cinema 2013.

    Poor Script
    Poor Music
    Poor Acting (from all)
    Poor Direction,screenplay(mainly those idea of ajay’s mother and sister in a jhopper-patti in a jungle)

    Comment by Rakesh DaS — March 30, 2013 @ 12:14 pm

  14. 😮 u have been generous !! i was expecting 0 or 1/2 stars

    Comment by Animesh — March 30, 2013 @ 12:22 pm

  15. Thank God Its Friday and i didn’t see this movie, Great Review Rajeev!
    These are the types of movies that make me hate more and more Bollywood cinema.

    Comment by Jay Walke — March 30, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

  16. why do people watch these type of movies
    if they are not encouraged they will not be made……..period

    Comment by santosh — March 30, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

  17. wow! an increasing disconnect between the ‘plex’ reviewers like Mr masand and the single theatre audiences who are filling up fast…..not that mr sajid khan, who thinks he is Mr Entertainment, can spell the same yet…Mr Masand…how do you explain a one star with a blockbuster collection weekend…which it looks well likely to get?

    Comment by aditi rao — March 30, 2013 @ 3:17 pm

  18. Haha Rajeev I was eagerly waiting for this movie…. not so that I can watch this piece of crap but to read your review about the film…. Its a shame that we release such movies overseas. Very Very bad example of Indian cinema is set by these movies…. Sajid and Farah have A LOT to learn from there cousins if they are really looking forward to direct more movies(?)

    Comment by Tejas — March 30, 2013 @ 5:41 pm

  19. i am diagree with ur review.1 star is not good.u had given 2 star to son of sardar.this movie is far better than sos.

    Comment by rohit — March 30, 2013 @ 5:54 pm

  20. hadd ghatiya movie .. i doubt sajid khans sense of humour and irritating overconfidence

    Comment by srk rocks — March 30, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

  21. Yes i totally agree with u sir (y)

    Comment by Ravi kumar — March 30, 2013 @ 6:53 pm

  22. See thats the great thing about movies, you can love them or love to hate them. This was a great bad movie review in a long long time. I knew this was going to be a treat as soon as I read the first sentence. I missed your review on the Shiny Ahuja movie ‘Ghost’ couple of years back, I am sure that movies like these adds that fun element to your job once in a way.

    Comment by Feroz Habib — March 31, 2013 @ 2:45 am

  23. “Not this friday, believe me”

    Comment by Sushan\ — March 31, 2013 @ 2:55 am

  24. By making such a remake, Sajid Khan has proved that Ramu is better than him( the case of Ramu ki sholay).

    Comment by vijay — March 31, 2013 @ 3:36 am

  25. Hahaha,rohits film feels like citizen kane

    Comment by Rohan — March 31, 2013 @ 4:53 am

  26. Any 1980s film reminds me of my childhood. Some of my best fims in that decade were Dance Dance, Prem Pratigyaa, Mujrim, Waqt Ki Aawz or even Pyar Jhukta Nahi. I just loved Mithun at his very best

    Comment by Surojit Nag — March 31, 2013 @ 8:05 am

  27. Rajeev…please stop writing reviews for such movies. 150 bucks for utter non-sense. I regret paying for the tickets. It could have paid a poor man’s meals for that day.

    Comment by Nirav — March 31, 2013 @ 9:37 am

  28. Sajid Khan shuld be banned from making films

    Comment by Mini — March 31, 2013 @ 4:39 pm

  29. Man, if this movie does well (and it will), it’ll set a dangerous precedent for remakes, that crude (read Sajid Khan) is good. At least Agneepath’s remake was an honest attempt at reinterpreting a story, however bad it was.

    Comment by mydyingbride23 — March 31, 2013 @ 6:34 pm

  30. Well written! I spent my sunday afternoon hoping for some good entertainment but I ended up ruining after sitting through the whole of Himmatwala. An obvious outcome of an overconfident and over ambitious director, I see his movie becoming lamer year by year.


    Comment by Roshan S — March 31, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

  31. ‘Rohit Shetty’s films feel like Citizen Kane in comparison.’ Well said. 😀
    I am not touching Sajid Khan’s ‘masala entertainer’ films with a ten-foot barge pole. Whoever needed the 80s back?!

    Comment by Rahul — March 31, 2013 @ 8:24 pm

  32. Who can believe that sk is paid 25cr fr such a flop movie .

    Comment by kp — March 31, 2013 @ 10:54 pm

  33. their must be LIKE button for your review.

    Comment by Shubham Bansal — March 31, 2013 @ 10:56 pm

  34. the choice of movie to be remade itself was questionable…….forget about th cast n crew….. nobody cn make best out of nonsense especially sk….. just brng ur ego levels down mr. sk abt critics opinions bcoz may be u brought th 80s back bt for th wrong audiences…..better luck next time….

    now waiting for next friday….Chashme Baddoor !!!!!!

    Comment by rekha — April 2, 2013 @ 12:16 am

  35. burn the prints..!!

    Comment by Hardeek — April 2, 2013 @ 10:39 am

  36. SK, please dont waste your money on such director, UTV is brand which produce good movies, Except Hey Baby! all other his movies are very BAKWAAS!
    Please dont watch this BAKWAAS movie. for an option buy DVD and watch Special 26.
    Khiladi bhaya, 1 our movie karlo Niraj Pandey ke saat lekin House Full 3 matt karna.

    Comment by ganesh — April 4, 2013 @ 12:20 am

  37. sajid khan where r u? i guess counting 150 crores lol

    Comment by cyberpunk — April 4, 2013 @ 1:17 am

  38. i am disappoint by your review because this movie can not deserve more than zero even zero is also good it is far … away from zero in negative territory so please honest with your review do not try to be modest specially when it is your job .

    Comment by pradeep singh — April 4, 2013 @ 1:59 am

  39. A song like ” bum pe laat ” is enough reason not to see this flick , there are many other reasons though. And Sajid Khan was promoting this film as a family drama, do families really want to see something like bum pe laat with kids , Negative .Music is a big factor in promoting a film, if only people behind this remake knew that.

    Comment by shobhit — April 4, 2013 @ 11:33 pm

  40. Hats off to you sir! You ACTUALLY sat through it.

    Comment by Jyoti — April 6, 2013 @ 11:04 am

  41. Hey, I think Ajay devgan and akshay kumar are under the impression that they will keep on making crap and people are going to come and watch such dumb films. This is ajay’s second nonsense movie in a row after “son of sardar”. Hope he learns from it.

    Comment by kapil — April 10, 2013 @ 5:35 pm

  42. Sir this is very good movie ,,, i don;t no how u review always but this movie was a great movie …no boring part at all in this movie …thanks

    Comment by Abhishek Vishal — July 24, 2013 @ 7:53 pm

  43. pls dnt make shit movies like this

    Comment by hari k — October 25, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

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