'RGV Ki Aag' is not merely Sholay desecrated upon; it also marks the decline of RGV the director, who used to be rubbing shoulders with our finest. But with the soulless Nishabd and worse, the insipid Aag, one is left yearning for the director who gave us such gems as Satya and Company. Comparisons with the evergreen classic apart, Aag fails even as a solitary venture.
Nisha Kothari - whose ass hogs a major chunk of the movie, second only to Bachchan's ugly mug - displays such abominable acting abilities whenever she has a scene that you yearn for the camera to shift to her assets instead - this is one aspect of RGV's direction I just cannot criticize, for anything is better than seeing her try hard to enact the ebullient persona of Basanti that Hema Malini, for all her limited acting skills, made her own. The wisest career decision she could make is to shift to porn movies, since that's all she's cast for in normal movies anyhow.
Marks: 0/10 (Was tempted to give her a 0.5 for the skin-display, but...)
Sushmita Sen, who replaces Jaya Bhaduri, does try hard - too hard, in fact. However, her part is too noble and self-righteous to make one sympathise with her. The lovely romantic angle between Bachchan and her in the original is mutilated by RGV here, and its carcass is then burnt with petrol, and the ashes are then flushed away... you get the picture. It is to Sushmita's credit that she never goes overboard, thank heavens for small mercies.
Urmila, never far away from RGV's couch, sorry cast, is thankfully relegated to the Mehbooba number. The oomph factor is fading fast, its probably time for her to hang up her boots and get married. And WTF was RGV thinking of when he weaved in that inane Kabhi Kabhi bit, and then the flirtation between her and Babban? The man needs a reality check, and fast.
Ajay Devgun, who has a reputation of being one of Bollywood's more reliable actors, does his cause no good here. He has no comic ability to speak of, and was never strong on charm anyhow. Consequently, he is one of the biggest misfits in the movie. The roguish charm that so endeared Dharam's Veeru to us is completely absent here. He has no chemistry with his partner at all, and consequently their friendship is a yawn. All he does well here is ogle Nisha's boobs, and touch her up. And please, Ajay, drag your ass to a dentist and get your gutka-covered teeth cleaned.
Prashant Raj, who gets to replace Bachchan, has only two things in common with his illustrious predecessor, and those are his long legs. He's got a nice deep voice too, but two legs and a semi-baritone doth not an actor make. Hope he catches the next flight to Los Angeles!
Marks: 1/10 (gets 1 only because he is not as annoying as Kothari).
Rajpal Yadav, whose annoying high-pitched cackle makes you want to thrown him down a well, would do better not to accept such inane stuff. He is a rather decent actor, and it is a shame watching him throw it away.
Marks: 1/10 (again, gets a 1 sorely when compared to Nisha)
Sushant Singh can consider his debt to RGV (for Jungle) repaid with interest. He tries his hardest to exude menace, and might even have succeeded if he had a couple of scenes to himself. But alas, RGV is too infatuated with the legend of Gabbar to even consider granting some footage to other actors.
Mohanlal is one of the few sane things in the movie. The flashback with him is the one credible sequence in the movie, and his scenes with Bachchan crackle with electricity. He manages to infuse some semblance of dignity to the proceedings whenever he is on screen, despite the terrible accent. Whoever had the bright idea that Mohanlal should have that stupid beard (he had no fingers you know, hence he couldn't shave), thank god he didn't think of how he would wash his bum after taking a shit. Despite hackneyed dialogue, bad makeup, a terrible Holi song where he is actually made to dance like a woman, and very little footage, he is easily the best thing about this movie.
Bachchan, who is toward the fag end of his illustrious career, hams like a crazy coot. He hisses, cackles, rolls his eyes menacingly, guffaws with menace, drones on about America and Iraq, and even digs his nose. Well, with the kind of shoddy performance he's put in here, even scratching his balls or even the crevice of his ass wouldn't have helped. This is a textbook as to how Gabbar ought not to have been played - the performance, if you can call it that, is much more suited for a children's movie. All the makeup in the world - the fuss about the different colored eyes, or the scarred nose - cannot disguise a shockingly bad performance from Bachchan. The one thing he gets right is when his eyes, otherwise dull, light up when he gets a new victim to torture / kill, in keeping with the attempted sociopath personality. No menace, no fear, no acting chops.
RGV gets everything wrong here, whether its controlling the overacting Big B, granting some decent footage to the few actors who do their job well, or at least maintaining some decorum to the proceedings. He, along with Bachchan and Urmila, is also singularly responsible for defiling one of the most beautiful bits of poetry in Indian cinema ever. If he'd paid half the attention the the screenplay that he does to Kothari's ass out here, the movie might even have been watchable. Alas, it was not to be.