It’s quite unusual and very rare to witness strong positive wishes expressed by almost everyone before the release of a film, expecting it to do well bringing its leading man back into the business after a long gap. Amazingly, such was the universal mood before the release of GHAYAL ONCE AGAIN, which unfortunately fails to leave any similar hard-hitting impact compared to its original.
In fact finishing off the comparison chapter first, one has to accept ‘the inevitable comparative evaluation’ as the very first response from the end-users giving their ultimate decision. And declaring the unfavourable conclusion GHAYAL ONCE AGAIN is not even close to the epic GHAYAL to be precise, since the original was a powerful Raj Kumar Santoshi film with a strong repeat value and its sequel has been directed by Sunny Deol himself missing that exemplary midas touch.
Interestingly thinking about both Raj Kumar Santoshi and Sunny Deol together, I recall a famous saying in Hindi as “Do Halwayion Ki Ladaai Hogi To Faayda Logon Ka Hi Hoga”. Meaning, if two sweet sellers would fight professionally then what would they do? They would obviously reduce prices or adapt other measures to win over the maximum buyers in the market that will eventually benefit the consumer only getting more sweets at a much lesser price due to the tiff.
Sadly the saying results in completely opposite outcome in film business, where when a powerful actor and an exceptionally talented director develop mutual differences resulting in an ugly separation then the ultimate loss always has to be of their fans-their viewers, much more than the two creative persons individually. Exactly the case between Raj Kumar Santoshi and Sunny Deol, who couldn’t remain together for long due to their own undisclosed reasons and we couldn’t get many more powerful films from the team post GHAYAL, GHATAK and DAMINI.
Anyway coming to this sequel beginning right from the scene where GHAYAL ended using the earlier film’s footage too, it admittedly can be rated as a sincere effort from the actor-producer-director Sunny Deol wishing to recreate the ‘90s magic with the same old formula exploited umpteen times. However with a tag of being ‘The GHAYAL sequel’, bringing in huge expectations in terms of blood pumping-action packed drama, the film fails to deliver anything exceptional and remains below average offering nothing unpredictable in either its storyline, treatment, performances or explosive clashes ruining the big opportunity.
Commencing on a pretty weak note in terms of visualization and feel, the film straight away reveals its basic plot inspired from English film BLOW UP (1966) that was also adapted by Kundan Shah in his JAANE BHI DO YAARON (1983). The story of a spoilt kid killing a person and his insanely rich, influential businessman father trying to save him by killing more is one of the oldest clichéd subjects in Hindi cinema that generates no curiosity at all in the viewers. Plus the writing never raises the bar even in the much awaited confrontation scenes with all routine dialogues unable to make any solid impact. Moreover huge cinematic liberties taken in otherwise well shot sequences of the fearful kids being chased openly in a well crowded mall and a brutal fight happening in the Mumbai local train in front of everyone (when Sunny is supposed to be a well-known personality of the town) never let you feel involved in the film as a participator.
In addition, there remains a big confusion throughout that whether Sunny Deol is an owner of news agency/newspaper or a social activist? The way he kidnaps a reputed person from his office in a highly funny manner (right in the beginning) gives you a clear indication of something more shabby coming ahead. And then along with many directionless characters such as Soha Ali Khan, Zakir Hussain and more, the film strangely introduces a shocking, bizarre angle of ‘the undisclosed daughter’ in its second half that really puts you off much before the film reaches it overstretched finale full of illogical and unconvincing graphical representation. Adding to the impractical insertions, a business tycoon is also clearly shown tapping the phones and hacking government servers by an officially appointed young staff as if it’s that easy and nothing illegal adapted to promote his huge empire.
No doubt the long chase sequences in the film have been shot & edited quite well. Still they are unable to impress as desired due to a completely unrealistic execution defying all logics. Besides if one excludes all the lengthy chases shown in the film, then nothing much remains in it in the name of exciting content or sequences putting it frankly. The music with (thankfully) a single song doesn’t leave any substantial impact providing the relief moments. But with such a haunting background score in the original, it was indeed surprising to notice the same missing in the sequel and new sounds introduced in the composition severely affecting the end-result.
In terms of performances, it’s a Sunny Deol film all the way as expected and the supporting cast is just doing its job as assigned. So no one stands out with his or her performance among either the known actors (Om Puri, Neena Kulkarni, Nadira Babbar, Soha Ali Khan, Tisca Chopra & Harsh Chhaya) or the youngsters (Aanchal, Shivam, Daina & Rishabh) except Narendra Jha, who does complete justice to his role of a hard-hearted businessman (modeled on one of India's richest business tycoon of Mumbai). As a matter of fact, the only common feature of GHAYAL and GHAYAL ONCE AGAIN remains the villain played extremely well in both the films by the respective artists.
As a solo hero Sunny Deol still has got a lot of power in him to be exploited rightly by a director having the caliber of Raj Kumar Santoshi. Honestly Sunny being a shy person, might not be able to write/approve/conceive such explosive, powerful sequences assuming himself standing in the middle, strongly holding the villain or punching him hard. Probably that is the reason you are not going to find any big lion roars in GHAYAL ONCE AGAIN going against the expectations of many.
However as per my personal opinion, it was quite intelligent of director Sunny Deol, not to include the usual, overdone shouting on the screen playing a mature character. Yet, the same level of maturity was nowhere to be found in the script of GHAYAL ONCE AGAIN written on an unexpectedly wafer-thin, routine plot minus the thrills.
Here would specifically like to mention what I actually found missing in the sequel not matching up to the level of its cult original.
A. GHAYAL’s storyline had a strong undercurrent of suspense dealing with the missing brother in its first half whereas GHAYAL ONCE AGAIN simply reveals everything in the opening sequences itself and rest all becomes easily predictable till the end.
B. GHAYAL was actually the story of a helpless common man fighting against the rich and the influential. But in its sequel Ajay is no longer a common man. He has a decent publication running famous all over the city, is a known figure of the town and the persona goes far away from the common man unable to establish any instant relationship with the general viewers.
C. Most importantly, a major portion of GHAYAL dealt with Ajay’s revolt against the Police and its cruel as well as thoughtful officers that actually gelled perfectly with the basic subject of the film. But Police is nowhere to be found as a significant part of GHAYAL ONCE AGAIN quite weirdly. In fact here the Police is projected as a spineless government department with no concern at all for the common man and his issues. As a result the clashes with the rich businessman and his foreign security men fail to make you feel the same aggression as felt in GHAYAL when Sunny Deol angrily hits the corrupt Police officer.
In short, Sunny at present doesn’t need any film where he once again keeps on shouting and fighting with a motive to bring back the magic last seen in his GHAYAL, GHATAK or GADAR. In reality he desperately needs a script where he can make the viewer feel that the person on the screen is fighting for him representing the common man along with providing the adrenaline rush. That was the core element which actually worked in all his hit movies till date and that’s what every Sunny Deol fan wishes to see in his new films.
Sadly the current one doesn’t give you any of that prominently, so you can watch it only if you are a die-hard fan of Sunny Deol and nothing else.
Rating : 1.5 + 0.5 / 5 (Including the additional 0.5 for having the courage to use a clear reference of the famous business tycoon of Mumbai and his peculiar skyscraper house standing in the middle of the city.)