Sukanya Verma in Mumbai
Of, at any rate, matching the standards and aesthetics if not beating the impact of the original. After Shah Rukh Khan in Farhan Akhtar's Don, it's Hrithik Roshan's turn in Karan Johar's Agneepath to forge a new introduction of an iconic character played by Amitabh Bachchan.
Directed by newbie Karan Malhotra, the earlier Vijay Dinanath Chauhan vehicle was, again, a Dharma Production but not a big commercial success, something K Jo aspires to remedy with the revision. The makers have tweaked the storyline of late filmmaker Mukul Anand's intense revenge drama to render the new one co-starring Rishi Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Priyanka Chopra and Zarina Wahab a more dramatic, stylized appeal.
Only unlike Don, wherein Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's compositions channeled Kalyanji-Anandji's soundtrack, to the point of remixing two of its most popular songs -- Khaike paan benares and Yeh mera dil, Agneepath offers a brand new sound.
Let's see how Ajay-Atul's tunes compare to the Laxmikant-Pyarelal-helmed predecessor by examining individual tracks of each:
Alibaba mil gaya chalees choron se
Bangladeshi pop sensation Runa Laila despite her best attempts, fails to create a foot-tapping sensation out of Ali baba, a loud party song with overwhelming, conflicting arrangement and blaring chorus that tries really hard to recreate what Alisha Chinai achieved with the Hero/Zero number in Ram Lakhan, also scored by L-P.
The latter eventually made up for the lack of a knockout item song in Agneepath by ripping off Mory Kante's Yeke yeke to concoct Jumma chumma de de. While memorable this song isn't, watching Archana Puran Singh in Madonna's Like a Virgin-inspired get-up, shaking a leg with Shakti Kapoor (in a cameo) even as Goga Kapoor and Bob Christo make merry in a swank swimming pool while Big B and Danny Denzongpa sternly look on like gods in glam goggles?
Chikni ChameliImage: The Chikni Chameli song
And that explains Chikni Chameli, a rambunctious pick from Ajay-Atul's own stock, originally Kombadi Palali (from Marathi film Jatra), this song's super-hit appeal continues to make a connect in Shreya Ghosal's oomph dripping voice, even more so since Katrina Kaif decided to show her bawdy side as the Chikni in question.
Ganpati apne gaon chaleinImage: The Ganpati apne gaon chalein song
It's one of those typical 'basti' songs exhibiting community camaraderie that underlines Big B's return to faith while co-stars Mithun Chakraborty and Neelam fill the backdrop with their colourful moves.
In the meantime, Danny's Kancha Cheena is busy getting himself freed of all charges by gunning down every possible witness.
Deva Shree Ganesha
The high-strung energy and devotional fervor of singer Ajay's dynamic rendition, especially when he arrives to its concluding verse, has quite a stirring impact.
Disco NariyalImage: The Disco Nariyal song
And part of his introduction was breaking into an impromptu 'Disco nariyal' at a discotheque to embarrass Neelam and himself in a red ganji and belt over a white shirt and lungi.
It's as farcical as it gets but, back in the day, S P Balasubramaniam and his inimitable ability to make anything amusing worked in its favour.
Gun gun guna
Guess there's no replacement for Mithunda.
Probably why Karan Johar has done away with Krishnan Iyer's character altogether.
In its place you have a Priyanka Chopra trying out various antics to cheer a downcast Hrithik Roshan with the breezy Gun gun guna, performed by Sunidhi Chauhan and Udit Narayan in their perky best avatars.
Kisko tha pata kisko thi khabarImage: The Kisko tha pata kisko thi khabar song
He fulfills the latter by prancing around his doll-faced co-star against stunning backdrops of Hampi and various other locations of Karnataka to the beats of a run-of-the-mill LP duet rendered by SP Balasubramaniam and Alka Yagnik.
And acquires a new wardrobe, read trousers, too. What's odd is how Bachchan's car mysteriously lands in the middle of this dream sequence to spot his kid sister and odd-dressing employee engaged in a obvious rendezvous.
In complete contrast, there's Roop Kumar Rathod's rich, compelling baritone conveying the anxiety and eagerness of Hrithik and Priyanka's affections again in all earnestness.
While the original did not focuss too much on Big B and Madhavi's romance nor did it feel the need to explain the same with some elaborate song, the remake deems it as a crucial link to the story and its principal character.
Agneepath strategically opens and dramatically ends with the Chauhans -- Dinanath and later Vijay Dinanath reciting the ethics and philosophy of Dr Harivanshrai Bachchan's original poem.
Though it doesn't qualify as a composition, it's easily one of the best-remembered aspects of the film that earned AB a National Award trophy.
Shah ka rutba
Ajay-Atul compose an additional pair of songs for the adaptation, Shah ka rutba, a extensive semi-qawaali and Abhi mujh mein, a melancholic reflection over life's many challenges.
While Dharma Productions is yet to release the video, it will be interesting to see whether these tracks contribute or obstruct the flow of an incensed tale of resentment and retribution.
While the new Agneepath is decidedly a better soundtrack, it hardly makes for a half-the-battle-won scenario. It will take substantial blood, bluster and baritone to substitute the original's memories, or at least co-exist with the same, to achieve that.