No matter how cognitively we evolve, revenge remains one of humans’ most primal instincts. The need to inflict suffering and punishment on those who have wronged us goes back to our days in the dark old caves. While revenge may be subtle or loud, cinema has always glorified it. Interestingly some of the best Bollywood films of 2012 so far – namely Agneepath, Pan Singh Tomar, Kahani, and the Gangs of Wasseypur saga – are all revenge films.
The advantage of making revenge cinema is the fact that it offers the filmmaker a wide range of characterizations to choose from. From extremely cold blooded and subtle to loud and horrific. It opens up dimensions of thriller, horror and most importantly- dark humor. No wonder revenge cinema in the past have been some of the most stylish and path breaking films in the arena of world cinema. Take Godfather, Virgin Spring, Oldboy, Memento, Once Upon A Time In The West, Kill Bill, Inglorious Basterds, Carrie, Straw Dogs and Unforgiven for example.
This year, Agneepath was a classical example of how a remake must keep the original just as a reference and redo the entire film in one’s own way. The only thing that remained constant was the spirit of the characters. The addition of Rauf Laala brought a new dimension to the story and what a performance Rishi Kapoor delivered. Pan Singh Tomar, on the other hand took a bold step in glorifying a long forgotten hero and how a decent sportsman went wrong midst the village politics and bureaucratic corruption. Kahani’s revenge was comparatively simple and straight forward but the twist in the tail made all the difference!
Of these, Gangs of Wasseypur‘s revenge was the most complex. While it created a series of characters who will not be easily forgotten, both part 1 and 2 ended with a common question- ‘Was the revenge worth it?’ The bloody gore scene in which Ramadhir Singh is killed by Faizal Khan says it all. While Ramadhir was old, rusted and tired of the revenge game, Faizal too was sick of the bloodshed around. Both the killer and the killed attained peace when the 5.5 hrs long revenge saga met it’s conclusion. With films like these, Bollywood is certainly attaining newer heights with style.