Ghayal Once Again: Give it a chance!

When I woke up today morning my mind was tinkering with the idea of watching Ghayal Once Again or giving it a pass and going for some good Hollywood movie instead. I have to confess I am a Sunny Deol fan and ever since his last movie ‘I love NY’ (which I would recommend), I had been waiting for Ghayal. But what confused me and threw me off were the review headlines I came across in the last day or so. Nevertheless, reviews have never stopped me from watching a movie and it was the same case this time around; I decided to give Sunny Deol’s Ghayal Once Again a chance.

Sunny Deol during promotions has been on a spree claiming that this is a modern story, a story which will connect to the youth, a story which puts the character of Ajay Mehra in 2015. But I had my apprehensions. My apprehensions were driven from the fact that from the get go Ghayal Once Again was always going to be the story of one man beating all odds to defeat the most powerful man in India, which is a very 90s concept. Yet I was pleasantly surprised to realize that this tried and tested formula put into a modern setting can still work if presented properly.

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The best part of Ghayal is that it does not pretend to be what it isn’t. It promises to be an action movie and it delivers on that front. There is some excellent comedy in the form of Kaka Saab’s character (played by Manoj Joshi). There is compassion/love in the relationship between Ajay Mehra and Rhea (played by Soha Ali Khan). But all of these aspects are woven into the story telling so effortlessly and beautifully by Sunny Deol the director that it does not distract the viewer. At a brisk 2hrs and 6mins, Sunny manages to keep the focus on the action packed screenplay.

The action itself is just so real and watchable. This is a surprise because for a while the Hindi movie industry has been unable to put together some good action sequences, forget a full length movie. Perhaps it was apt that the king of action in the 90s has brought back the genre once again. Barring a couple of scenes where you see the typical inexplicable scenes of bravado, the rest of the action is very slick and believable. The brisk chase sequence leading up to the intermission is so wonderfully executed that the intermission serves as a damper. That it picks up after the intermission at the same brisk pace makes you wonder whether the intermission was needed at all and whether we will be able to do away with it some day.

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Sunny Deol brings life to the Ajay Mehra of 2015. Throughout the movie, I was expecting and almost yearning for an explosion by Sunny Deol but there is a sense of calm that he portrays on screen. I do not remember the original Ghayal too well but the Ajay Mehra of 2015 has his set of weaknesses and Sunny emotes them rather well. And when it comes to action – he is the best! It is a pity that we do not get to see more of him these days.

The kids do a good job and impress with their acting skills. I wonder why we do not have more teenage oriented stories being made. Indian TV has some really good young actors (three of whom were in this movie) and they could do a good job if given more opportunities. Hopefully this movie brings about a change in that regard and we get to see some more stories involving teenage characters. Coming back to the performances, Manoj Joshi is fantastic as the corrupt politician and will definitely make you laugh. Soha Ali Khan, Narendra Jha and Tisca Chopra are all decent.

In the end, I do have to admit that the movie has it’s flaws and is not perfect. Some more texture and layers to the characters would have helped give it the killer punch. More impactful songs could have also helped in giving it the final touch. Despite its drawbacks, I would still recommend it for Sunny Deol’s hard work as an actor, writer, director and producer.

2.5 + an extra .5 for the fast paced screenplay and action – 3 stars!

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