Director: Sunny Deol
Cast: Sunny Deol, Soha Ali Khan, Om Puri, Aanchal Munjal, Narendra Jha, Tisca Chopra, Nadira Babbar, Ramesh Deo
The frenzied thrusts and parries of Sunny Deol’s Ghayal Once Again, a vengeance drama constructed as a hackneyed tale of an anti-corruption crusader, reeks of the past. That isn’t surprising. This film is after all a follow-up to a super hit of a quarter century ago.
It isn’t just the lead actor’s two-and-a-half kilogram fist that has long outlived its utility. The film’s overly anachronistic feel is also accentuated by plot elements that simply do not belong in contemporary times.
While the corrupt politics-big industry nexus is still very much a live issue, it cannot be denied that large swathes of this youth-dominated nation has broken away from the moral shibboleths that 1980s Hindi cinema peddled.
A young female journalist in Ghayal Once Again kills herself after she is sexually assaulted by her boss. Didn’t anybody tell the girl that a rape victim has the right to live like anyone else and fight to bring the perpetrator to justice?
That necessary reality completely eludes Ghayal Once Again, produced, written and directed by Deol himself. He seems to be out of touch with the times. The once-popular star, in the guise of a fearless editor battling crime and subterfuge, goes hammer and tongs at an evil business empire presided over by a man who will leave no stone unturned to shield his murderous son.
In Ghayal Once Again, taking off from where he left in Ghayal, boxer-turned-crusader Ajay Mehra comes to the aid of a quartet of youngsters who stumble upon a cold-blooded homicide committed by the industrialist’s son.
The business tycoon, on his part, unleashes the might of the entire Mumbai law and order machinery in a bid to intimidate Ajay and his supporters into submission.
The male protagonist has his own neurological disorder to reckon with he faces blackouts when assailed by memories of his dark and tragic past alluded to in the early portions of the film through the means of black and white flashes of scenes from 1990’s Ghayal.
The hero’s shrink (played by Soha Ali Khan) stands by him and gives him timely anti-depressants to ensure that he remains fighting fit.
The plot does not throw up any major surprises barring one relating to Ajay and the daughter that he has given up for dead.
As a result, Ghayal Once Again is a rather dreary film that despite some high-octane action scenes orchestrated by a Hollywood stunt coordinator does not deliver too many blows that could be regarded as effective.
With Sunny Deol given full play by the screenplay, the character actors in the film, Sachin Khedekar, Tisca Chopra, Nadira Babbar, Ramesh Deo and Om Puri among them, have little scope to make their presence felt.
As for the actors essaying the roles of the four youngsters on whose behalf the male protagonist takes up cudgels, they are no more than components of the backdrop and come to the fore all too rarely.
Ghayal Once Again, trapped in a time warp, is only for nostalgia freaks who are willing to risk having their brains addled by a cinematic concoction that has absolutely nothing new to offer.