Himmatwala Movie Review by Taran Adarsh


HIMMATWALA was THE film that gave an impetus to the trend of remaking South Indian films in the 1980s. Post this film, there was a sea of remakes, with Jeetendra, Sridevi, Kader Khan, Shakti Kapoor and Asrani featuring in almost every remake…

It’s easy to remake a successful film, but the responsibility that Sajid Khan carries on his shoulders cannot be assessed in mere words. Right from the masala quotient to Ajay and Tamannah matching steps with Jeetendra and Sridevi, respectively, each and every aspect of the new version will be examined with a magnifying glass. While a section of the industry [as well as moviegoers] opine that trendsetting movies should not be touched [read remade], there also exists a section that feels that the present-day generation would love to watch those films in new avtaars. The debate continues…

The pertinent query is, does Sajid Khan’s HIMMATWALA recreate the magic of K. Raghavendra Rao’s HIMMATWALA [1983], which itself was a remake of a Telugu film? At the very outset, let me inform you that the two HIMMATWALAs are almost similar, yet dissimilar. While the basic premise remains identical, besides retaining two hugely popular tracks, Sajid has modified certain portions of the film, besides adding a few episodes. What’s common between the two versions is the intent to provide entertainment to its target audience — those who relish masala fares.

Now let’s talk of the new HIMMATWALA. It’s all about entertainment, entertainment and entertainment. Right from the styling to death-defying action to fiery dialogue delivered in high decibels, everything that you get to see in HIMMATWALA is reminiscent of the Bollywood of the 1980s. The mother-son drama, the hero-villain conflict, the heroism… even Ajay’s introductory sequence is straight out of 1980s. Be forewarned, HIMMATWALA is 1980s cinema packaged in a new wrapping, but even if you have an appetite for the masala movies of yore or are ready to do a time travel to the angry young man of 1980s, chances are you will feel suffocated by the on-screen goings-on that Sajid Khan dishes out in the name of entertainment.

HIMMATWALA narrates the story of a son [Ajay Devgn], who comes to the village to avenge the injustice meted out to his father [Anil Dhawan], who had been wrongly accused by the Sarpanch [Mahesh Manjrekar] of robbery.

HIMMATWALA takes you back to the familiar terrain. It’s the typical good versus bad saga loaded with every possible ingredient that makes masala films tick. Sajid ensures that those who have watched the earlier HIMMATWALA — or those who haven’t watched it — get paisa vasool entertainment in those 2.30 hours, but, unfortunately, what unfolds on screen is so routine and monotonous that you fervently hope for some novelty in this adaptation. One doesn’t mind massy entertainers, but there has to be a hook to keep the viewer’s attention arrested. HIMMATWALA provides that only towards the closing stages of the film, when the mother [Zarina Wahab] gets to know of Ajay’s true identity.

Sajid makes an attempt to pay homage to the cinema of yore, but what he delivers makes you sit motionless for most parts. If a movie fails to invoke wolf whistles or ovation at the right places, you realize something is seriously wrong. The biggest problem is Sajid does nothing, absolutely nothing out of the box or path-breaking in the current scenario to grab your attention, which is why HIMMATWALA fails as a film. The romance lacks fire, the drama is devoid of intensity, even the action is plain ordinary… Frankly, HIMMATWALA has nothing that warrants a repeat viewing.

While Sajid retains two hugely popular tracks from the original [‘Naino Mein Sapna’ and ‘Taki Taki’], HIMMATWALA has yet another track that’s lilting — ‘Bum Pe Laat’. However, ‘Thank God It’s Friday’, at the very start of the film, is plain ordinary, despite the star presence of Sonakshi Sinha. Sajid-Farhad’s dialogue have always been mass-friendly and the lines in HIMMATWALA are a riot at times. The masses will love the dialogue delivered by Paresh Rawal specifically. The action sequences are just about okay. We have seen better stuff in several escapist fares recently.

Ajay slips into the retro avatar effortlessly. Generally known for his intense performances, he plays to the gallery well. He may be awkward in dances, but he makes sure he roars like a lion when he confronts the antagonist. Tamannah faces an uphill task of stepping into Sridevi’s shoes and though she looks photogenic, there’s no acting talent on display here. Mahesh Manjrekar doesn’t evoke terror that one would associate with his character. Paresh Rawal is the real scene stealer, who gets to deliver the best lines. Zarina Wahab shines in the penultimate sequence mainly. Adhyayan Suman is wooden. Rajendra Gupta and Vindu Dara Singh have bit roles. Asrani is wasted. The actress enacting the role of Ajay’s sister does well. Riteish Deshmukh appears in a cameo.

Oh, before I forget, there’s a tiger too, who comes across as the real himmatwala in the climax of the film!

On the whole, HIMMATWALA fails as a film. The only silver lining is the presence of A-list stars and of course, the hype surrounding the film, which might attract footfalls in mass-friendly circuits initially. But as a film that promises big entertainment, HIMMATWALA is hugely disappointing!


  1. sputnik 11 years ago

    1.5 stars by Taran. Not a good sign.

  2. syed imran 11 years ago

    One of the worst movie to come out of the bollywood in the last few decades….Sajid Khan is fooling us and dishing out absurd and insipid movies in the name of entertainment… If this is what he can deliver, then plz excuse and spare us.. dont mind watching masala movies, but this is the height of ridiculousness… no funny scenes, strictly okay performed action scenes, bizarre climax, over the top comedy, the list is endless.. the big mouth man – sajid khan is going fail this time and hope will now stop making some over confident statements… shame on bollywood directors for making such remakes under the pretext of earning quick bucks and fooling the janta janardhan… let such directors take a few lessons from the talented and ignored south indian film industry directors…!!!!

  3. syed imran 11 years ago

    And hope there is some ban on making such remakes so that their class and touch remains classic!!..

  4. Author
    aryan 11 years ago

    Sukanya Verma Review

    Couple of weeks back, my neighbour and I were chatting about upcoming Bollywood films and he completely dismissed the probability of watching Sajid Khan’s Himmatwala. His six-year-old daughter overheard this and at once protested, ‘But I want to watch it and I will whether you like it or not.’

    Few days later, I watched a television interview where the audacious filmmaker notes, ‘My films appeal to kids between the age of five to ten.’

    Clearly, the man really knows his target turnout. One kid’s approval amounts to selling three tickets since he/she will be accompanied by his parents, willingly or otherwise.

    And while I give him full marks for insight, it doesn’t always translate into great films. He doesn’t care, of course. He hasn’t had to. Understanding the pulse of an easily-pleased audience alone has led to booming business for all his films like Heyy Babyy, Housefull and Housefull 2.

    Who knows, thirty years from now Aakhri Pasta is heralded as an iconic figure in pop culture and Imma Joking T-shirts might actually give Being Human a run for their money. (Gee, I may be exhibiting some side effects after watching Himmatwala. Damn ticket didn’t carry any disclaimer. Not even in fine print.)

    While you shudder at the prospect, here’s the dope on the laughable hence watchable Himmatwala. The original came out in 1983 on this very day but I don’t have any memory of it. (Neither does Tammanah. She was born six years later.) The only thing I remember about that year is Sunny Deol [ Images ] strutting about his farmhouse with a magnificent horse and adorable Labrador in tow. (But they’re not remaking it. Yet. So, phew. And yay.)

    Anyway, I revisited the Jeetendra-Sridevi starrer again recently for the sake of this article. Barring Kader Khan’s (whom I admire unconditionally for sheer cheek) geography-dependent humour, dotty camaraderie with a rifle-toting Amjad Khan [ Images ] and Sri-Jeetu’s sprightly jhatka-matkas to loony lyrics, I didn’t find Himmatwala anything more than a formulaic masala about oppressive village landlords being taught a lesson, spoilt rich shrews begging to be tamed, destitute mother-sister duo with an ever-ready supply of glycerine and a string of jarring sub-plots to prolong its third act.

    Obviously, Sajid Khan will not agree. He loved it immensely and watched the movie repeatedly in Juhu [ Images ]’s Chandan theatre (One of the best places, along with Gaiety/Galaxy theatre to understand your average viewer’s likes/dislikes). Unlike Karan Johar [ Images ], however, he didn’t have any emotional reason to remake it. Himmatwala, as opposed to Agneepath, was one of the biggest hits of that year.

    The idea here, I think, is not an upgrade but to go back in time and relive those foolish sensibilities so many filmmakers have painstakingly tried to erase with the hope of promoting entertaining, progressive films. Sarcasm aside, retro is fun but only when offered with levity, chutzpah and an ironic of parody and reverence. His sister Farah (Om Shanti Om [ Images ], Main Hoon Naa) is a master of this virtue.

    The new Himmatwala displays this quality but only in spurts and superficially. To Sajid’s credit, he does away with all those congesting sub-plots I was previously whining about to keep the focus solely on Ajay Devgn [ Images ] in and as Himmatwala.

    So here’s what he does – a) Make a heroic entry inside a fighting arena with blasting electric guitar for introductory score, b) Bend an iron bar with his bare hands to draw attention to the ‘himmat’ in the title, c) Land at Ramnagar and small talk with the reliably hammy Asrani [ Images ] (also in the original), d) Discover his widowed mom (Zarina Wahab) and kid sister (Leena Jumani) doing what every mother-sister duo did if 1980s are to be believed – sew, swab, sweep, scrub, e) Vows revenge against village tyrant Sher Singh (Mahesh Manjerekar) f) Discipline his I hate gareebs-spewing daughter (Tamannaah) g) Sock a CGI-generated tiger in the jaw h) Win the girl’s heart and free gift voucher to tathaiya tathaiya ho, i) Pay an unexpected tribute to Abbas-Mustan with the proverbial pre-interval ‘kahani-mein-twist’ j) Bash goons of all shape, size and colour to rescue sister’s izzat, win girlfriend’s favour and reaffirm a mother’s vishwaas.

    Expectedly, it’s all very over-the-top but here’s the thing. The 1983 one established Jeetendra [ Images ] as a professional, an engineer, a man of purpose striving to bring change within a terribly feudal set-up while engaging a personal vendetta. It didn’t always work but the script fuelled his heroism.

    Devgn, on the other hand, loiters about doing nothing and relies purely on physical might to make an impact. For a man who brags about having so much faith in oneself, he sure wears a lot of stones on his fingers.

    No matter how many comedies he stars in and how well they do, this genre is not his forte. Nor can he dance. Watching him work those stiff legs and rigid expressions along with the beautiful (but bland) Tammanah to songs that scream for spunk is harrowing.

    The two have no chemistry with each other or anyone else in the movie. Previously, Kader Khan, Amjad Khan, Sridevi [ Images ], Jeetendra, Shakti Kapoor [ Images ] went on to work as a team on several entertainers together and their on screen comfort made the mindlessness a tad more credible.

    Speaking of Kader Khan, Himmatwala pays tribute to his trademark quips and mannerisms wholeheartedly through Paresh Rawal [ Images ]’s energetic delivery. If you look past the absurd poodle-inspired hair he’s sporting, the actor does a swell job of capturing the not-nearly-enough-celebrated comedian. Be it the voice, accent or body language as both Himmatwala’s Narayan Shankar and Bajrangi (remember his talk-to-the-camera/viewer gimmick in Ghar Ho Toh Aisa?), Rawal is responsible for all the laughs in the new edition.

    It takes a sport to kiss Mahesh Manjrekar [ Images ] in the ear and mouth lines like, ‘Aap gutter hain toh main uska ganda pani hoon.’ ‘Yeh haath hai ya hathoda. Is kidon ke shaher mein kahan se aaya makoda’ ‘Mere paap ke kachre ko, apne imandari ki jhadoo se saaf kar de.’ ‘Shareer ke ek ek hissa chila raha hai Bharat bandh.’ When it comes to foolhardiness, this is quite a faithful adaptation.

    Manjrekar doesn’t have Amjad Khan’s aura but he surprises by refusing to be his usual overboard self. With his comic timing, the man could do wonders in a well-written script. He’s genuinely droll in the Aye Aye dining table scene and a spoof on Hitchcock’s Psycho.

    Sajid Khan loves big scale but the production values of all his films, their aesthetics, g are consistently tacky. Himmatwala is no different.

    And while he caters to tots when instructing Manjrekar and Rawal to dance like a bunch of goofballs against Ashok Kumar’s rendition of Rail gaadi, he subjects the same spectators to a completely needless rape attempt.

    Also, I was hoping he’ll eliminate the regressive stance of Himmatwala’s mom after she refuses to defend her daughter, subjected to domestic violence by her slimy husband (Adhyayan Suman [ Images ] is perfectly cast as the new age Shakti Kapoor) offering the same old infuriating ‘doli-arthi’ excuse. The extent of this double standard is when Himmatwala crosses all limits of outrageous with its ‘Aaj ek maa ek bete ke pair chooyegi’ baloney.

    In one of the films’ hilariously tragic scenes, a character says, ‘Teri maa, meri maa. Teri bahen, meri bahen.’ But even though I sincerely tried Sajid, teri audience cannot be meri audience.’

    Rating: 2 Stars.


  5. Suprabh 11 years ago

    This movie will succeed… It has boring melodrama but also some hilarious moments… Its made cheesy because in a way Sajid wanted to show how cheesy the 80s were..and thats how he likes it..

  6. syed imran 11 years ago

    u find dis movie cheesy, den seriously itz tym fr ur IQ to be checkd..

    • Suprabh 11 years ago

      Before calculting my IQ, could you please tell me what do you understand by cheesy ? (because apparently you were yourself calling this movie worse a few comments ago)

  7. mohammed akbar 11 years ago

    worst movie wasting time and money i dint expect from sajid khan and ajay devgan these type of movies r going to be big big flop sence less movie and cheap comedy and pareshraval had gone mad totally for doing this type of movies such a cheap comedy has done im very dissopinted after watching this movie shame on u beaing a bowllywood director thats it i have to say to sajid khan

  8. Alia Bhatt fan 11 years ago

    LOL! taran gives 1.5/5 . this is suicidal stuff 😉 sajid ki band baj gayi. ab aayega maza

  9. Reddemon 11 years ago

    Aaila… Hey kay!!

    I am unable to publish my Post on Himmatwala 🙁 Saved it as Draft. Will post tomorrow if possible

    • sputnik 11 years ago

      Are you done writing the post. Do you want me try to publish it?

  10. sputnik 11 years ago

    Himmatwala Movie Review by Anupama Chopra


  11. Reddemon 11 years ago

    yes please do it and thanks 🙂

  12. sputnik 11 years ago

    Himmatwala Review by Pratim D. Gupta

    Black and white. Shower on. Curtains drawn. Bare back. Sinister music. Curtains part. Enter hand silhouette. Comes down rapidly. Victim down. Liquid trickles down drain. Match cut with eye close-up of dead.

    Yes, the famous scene from Psycho. Just that in Sajid Khan’s latest “entertainer”, the bare back is not of Janet Leigh but Mahesh Manjrekar. There’s no knife but danda. In place of blood, it’s soap bubble. And there’s a line summing up the scene which goes: “Naaha tu raha tha, dhoya maine.”

    That’s Alfred Hitchock turning in his grave. That’s you turning in yours. Your grave is air-conditioned with plush seating plus popcorn and cola. There are others sacrificing lives alongside you. And it’s an excruciatingly painful death. Death by cinema. Death for cinema. Death of cinema.

    Year after year this smug know-it-all I-don’t-give-a-damn director has been throwing poop at you in the name of cinema. His films are repugnant, redundant and ridiculously banal. TV humour is smarter, SMS jokes funnier than his comedies. Milking star friends and sprinkling item songs, the films have collected enough crores for Sajid Khan to continue wreaking havoc on cinematic sensibilities.

    The man’s remade Himmatwala this time. That nauseating 1983 film by K. Raghavendra Rao, best remembered for the matka song Tathaiyya tathaiyya hooooo and Sridevi’s colourful moves to the same. One of those badly-aged films that even YouTube would refuse to buffer for you.

    And Sajid’s chosen not to update it. So, here’s a man trying to remake a 30-year-old film as if we are still in the 1980s, arguably the worst decade for Hindi cinema. No spoof, no parody. Just unmitigated obnoxiousness.

    The plot and the characters –– and sometimes the dialogues –– are (almost) unchanged. There’s Ravi (Jeetendra then, Ajay Devgn now) trying to seek revenge on Sher Singh (Amjad Khan then, Mahesh Manjrekar now) and Mamaji (Kader Khan then, Paresh Rawal now) by teaming up with his lady love Rekha (Sridevi then, Tamannaah now), Sher Singh’s daughter. There’s the mother and the sister too and the esraj in the background, every time they appear.

    There’s also a tiger, which loses and gains size in every shot and has a disclaimer “enhanced by CG” popping up like a cigarette warning. Let’s just say the soft toy tiger in Om Shanti Om was more “enhanced”.

    Also changing their shapes and sizes in every shot are Ajay Devgn’s two eyes, thanks to the inconsistent digital removal of his eye bags. Definitely not Maa Sherawaali — Manmohan Desai tribute? — doing the patching up.

    In the middle of all this awfulness, Paresh Rawal channelling Kader Khan keeps talking to the camera. From “Idhar aao” to “waapas jao”. Then, in a scene, he licks and bites Mahesh Manjrekar’s ears because they are tasty and even puts his hand into what are “not his pillows”. And then they put crabs inside each other’s pyjamas and jump around to Railgaadi railgaadi.

    A hundred years of cinema we are celebrating, right?

    And in case you are not sure what exactly you should be doing there sitting in the dark, you are also ordered when to laugh and when to applaud like a paid TV audience.

    There’s suddenly a scene inside a truck where the hero rattles off lines against rape and for preserving the sanctity of women in our country. Within minutes not one but five skimpily-clad women are strutting their stuff in extreme close-up. The song’s called Dhokha dhokha. Apt.

    Playing hopscotch between action and comedy, Devgn’s dismally out of form. The expressions are strictly stock and the feet hardly happy. A Rohit Shetty obviously knows how to use him better in similar avatars.

    Tamannaah’s no Sridevi, of course, but has an arresting presence and does bring Tathaiyya tathaiyya and Taki taki alive in her own way. At other times she is given costumes that make her look straight out of Star Trek. The old one.

    If you can go beyond his Shakespearean hair and moochh, you might just enjoy Paresh Rawal. But no one can do Kader Khan like Kader Khan.

    Life’s too precious to spend two-and-a-half-hours over films like Himmatwala. Cinema’s too precious to pamper filmmakers like Sajid Khan. I didn’t sign up for this job for a Good Friday like this. But I take heart from the fact that maybe, just maybe, I could save some of you from the suffering.

    And for the himmatwalas among you, hope you rest in peace. With or without a pillow.


  13. Dev Anand Fan 11 years ago

    HimmatWala is not remake .. it is simply carbon copy of original. Sajid just changed the faces of actors .. and rest is same. If Audience have appetite of this one .. surely they can enjoy original more if release in parallel. One thing is sure .. Himmatwala was forgotten kind of movie, though successful at that time. Sajid did a bravo job to realize today’s audience how crap it was even at that time.

  14. Serenzy 11 years ago

    “damn director has been
    throwing poop at you in the
    name of cinema”

    HB was Crap Cinema but I actually don’t mind both the HF’s much and like them(3/5 -kind).

    But Rohit Shetty and Anees Bazmee remain ‘Better’ than Sajid Khan by a Mile.!

    But, THE David Dhawan of the 90’s with Govinda-Tandon-Karisma-Johnny Lever-Kader Khan-Anupam Kher is Simply Unbeatable and Unmatchable!

  15. Serenzy 11 years ago

    I am Quite Fond of this guy’s Reviews from the time Sputnik has been posting his reviews on TQ – Pratim Gupta from Telegraph.

  16. desire4grave 11 years ago

    it was timepass movie…just on par with housefull and housefull 2..the scenes from 80’s movies were funny..paresh rawal is outstanding..not as bad as the so called critics are claiming…

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