Film: Ghayal Once Again
Starring: Sunny Deol, Soha Ali Khan, Om Puri, Tisca Chopra, Neha Khan, Shivam Patil, Diana Khan, Aanchal Munjal & Narendra Jha
Directed by: Sunny Deol
What’s It About:
26 years after it established the angry young man of the 90s, Ghayal is back. It’s impact then was so overwhelming that two-and-a-half decades later, lead protagonist Ajay Mehra still remains a favourite. This time around, Ghayal Once Again starts off with a disturbed and distraught Ajay, coping with the loss of his wife and daughter, doing his bit for society with his fearless acts through a newspaper. Mehra is forced back into action when four teenagers (Neha Khan, Shivam Patil, Diana Khan, Aanchal Munjal) accidentally capture on camera the killing of Joe D’Souza (Puri) by the son of a powerful industrialist Bansal (Jha). When the biggie starts getting after the youngsters, Ajay makes it his mission to protect them and bring out the truth. And in this process, just like in Ghayal, he gets everyone pitted against him – including the cops.
The sheer nostalgia factor of Ghayal (which perhaps would be lost on many from the present generation) is the greatest highlight of the film. As the background score from the original plays on, there’s a rush of adrenaline. Sunny Deol who has directed this version is probably aware of that. So he begins the film with flashes from the original, as a glorious reminder of the Raj Kumar Santoshi-helmed taut thriller. Deol somehow underplays the character of Mehra and that’s a breather. The first half of the film is superbly handled – the almost 15-20 minutes long chase sequence before interval is guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seats. The film has far more action than its predecessor. That a foreign action team has overlooked the proceedings is quite evident – it’s real and gripping. Except the climax where Mehra crashes a chopper into Jindal’s penthouse – but then, he is Ajay Mehra. Deol also goes against tradition by having just one song and that’s a relief. As director, it’s commendable how he maintains the tense mood of the film right from the first frame. Production values of the film are outstanding. Look out for the aerial shots of Mumbai – seen on the big screen for the very first time. Among the performances, Deol holds himself back from playing to the gallery. The Sunny charisma is evident every time Ajay Mehra is missing from the screen – you want him back. The four kids don’t have much to do but do their parts fairly well. Narendra Jha is a revelation – he handles the myriad shades of his character from dangerous to vulnerable really well.
It’s important in a thriller to be able to maintain the pace constantly. This one falters quite a bit in the second half after a good start. Even in Ghayal, one of the reasons the film stood out was because of how the protagonist used his intelligence against the system. Even if they had to use the same formula in this one, it would’ve been enough. The whole climax of the hero bringing down a chopper into the villain’s house is a bit too much, especially when the VFX is also not up to the mark. There are also a few edit jerks in the film that could’ve been avoided.
What To Do:
Despite its flaws, this dhai kilo ka haath is worthy of a watch. Because they don’t make heroes like Ajay Mehra anymore.