Trying his hand at remakes, filmmaker Karan Johar is pretty sure of Agneepath‘s success
Set for 2012 release, the Agneepath remake will see Hrithin Roshan playing Vijay Dinanath Chauhan that was originally essayed by Amitabh Bachchan in 1990. The filmmaker in conversation with Sreya Basu.
What made you produce the remake of Agneepath?
When Karan (Malhotra, director) came to me with the idea of doing this Agneepath, initially there was a fear of reputation. But the way he projected it and put it up…the way he adapted it and energised it in a new format, I was very excited. As you all know, the initial Agneepath (produced by Karan’s father Yash Johar) did not meet with commercial expectations. There was always a desire my father expressed…he would always say, ‘I wish we could do it again’ because it was a film he was tremendously proud of. But when I heard Karan’s adaptation, I knew that it will surely hit the bull’s eye…I felt it could as far as my understanding of commerce goes.
When Don was remade (by Farhan Akhtar), Amitabh Bachchan said ‘original should be left untouched’. What do you think his reaction will be on remaking of another of his classic (Agneepath)?
He will be one of the first people I would like to show Agneepath (the new one) to. He is Agneepath…he represents Agneepath. Time and again I have said this is not an adaptation, this is a tribute to him (Amitabh Bachchan), to Mukul Anand (director of the original) and Yash Johar. We are paying homage to them. We have made this Agneepath with great amount of respect and reverence for them, and I know that with his (Amitabh Bachchan’s) blessings and love, this film will tide all the turbulence that might come in its path of fire. All I want to say is that he will love the film as he loves all of us.
So, you want to say Agneepath is not a remake of the 1990 film?
Of course, it is a remake…the name is the same – Agneepath – the main protagonist is called Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, the villain is called Kancha Cheena. The basic plot is the same…it’s a revenge film. But there are also many changes and differences from the original track. That’s why I am saying it is a tribute to the original film. I don’t want to use the word ‘remake’ as this word gets misused often.
Why did you never think of directing this film instead of just producing it?
If I were given the opportunity to direct a film like this, I won’t be able to…I am incapable. As you have seen there is only one moment of action in my entire career, when Amitji (Amitabh Bachchan) slaps Hrithik (Roshan) in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. That was the only violence I ever had in my cinema. The second bout of action in Dharma Productions is again with Hrithik. But there’s a little more than just one slap in Agneepath.
The film releases January 2012. So why have you already started promoting it?
It’s the new age of marketing your product well. We all work hard towards getting a great first week (collection) for our films. So, anyone who says only raising the bar of cinema will work at the box office, is actually lying. We are into filmmaking because cinema is a beautiful blend of commerce and art.