Venus Records & Tapes P. Ltd. and Satyajeet Movies' HATHYAR, directed by Mahesh V. Manjrekar, is the sequel to VAASTAV.
VAASTAV successfully handled various dimensions of a gangster's life. It peeped into the lives of those involved in the underworld, making a definite statement, 'A man who lives by the gun, dies by the gun.'
But what happens to the family members of a gangster after his death? Does the society treat them objectively? What happens to the gangster's son? Is he allowed to stay away from the gory web of the underworld?
HATHYAR probes into the household of Raghunath Namdeo Shivalkar, a dreaded gangster. His son Rohit has to face a lot of flak from the society, repeatedly reminding him of the stigma attached to his family because of his father's past.
In VAASTAV, Shanta (Reema) put an end to her son Raghu's life, hoping to eliminate the evil attitude of a gangster. But can she instill strong values in Raghu's son Rohit and make him lead a decent life?
VAASTAV being a reference point for several films on the underworld, it's obvious that viewers would compare the sequel with its predecessor. Although HATHYAR has its share of glory, it does pale in comparison to the earlier work.
Like its predecessor, HATHYAR is straight out of everyday life. The depiction of the underworld and its day-to-day functioning has been depicted without glamorizing crime. On the flip side, this genre has been attempted too often by film-makers and hence, the novelty of watching something different is lost in the process.
Yet, HATHYAR does tackle an aspect that very few films of this ilk have bothered to depict ? the emotional side. The early years of the gangster's son and the mother's (Namrata Shirodkar) track are intriguing and succeed in keeping the audience interest thriving. Even the Sanju-Shilpa affair that culminates into marriage has been well handled.
But the film totters due to deficiencies on the script level ?
In VAASTAV, the simplistic manner in which a youngster takes to crime came across very well. In HATHYAR, it starts with the power games ? now that may not gel well with the common man who is not in tune with the intricacies of politics.
Two, the script of VAASTAV relied on emotions more than action-blood-gore to move the story ahead. In this case, it is blood and gore that takes the front seat. The mother-son clash in VAASTAV, for instance, was amongst the highpoints of that enterprise and Reema shooting her beloved son in the climax was brilliantly executed.
In this case, the emotions don't come across as strongly as expected. From the writing point of view, there should've been more sequences between the mother (Namrata Shirodkar) and Rohit and the grand-mother (Reema) and Rohit as well.
Even the bonding between Sanju-Sachin Khedekar ought to have been stronger, since there is a significant sequence in the film about how Sachin Khedekar was the only one who stood by Sanju ever since they went to school.
Directorially, Mahesh Manjrekar's deft touch is visible in several portions. The sequence when he shoots Sachin Khedekar down is amongst the skillfully executed sequences in the enterprise. Ditto for the sequence of events that prompt Sanju to murder Resham Seth's cop-husband, who acts as an informer to Sanju's rivals.
But from the writing point of view, Manjrekar is not in complete form this time. The film relies too heavily on blood and gore, which may not be appreciated by the women audience. The climax also lacks the hammer-strong impact of VAASTAV. The end in this case is just about okay, not outstanding.
Also, what could've been conveyed in a concise format has been stretched unnecessarily towards the second half. The narrative needs to be trimmed for a stronger impact.
To be honest, there's not much scope for music in an enterprise that talks of bullets and blood all the while. Yet, the songs don't come as a hindrance in the plot. Although the music (Anand Raaj Anand) is plain mediocre, 'Nazar Nazar Mein Haal-e Dil Ka Pata Chalta Hain' and 'Chaha Thha Tumhe' are noteworthy.
Cinematography (Vijay Arora) is admirable. The action scenes (Mahendra Verma) are brilliantly executed and seem life-like.
The show clearly belongs to Sanjay Dutt. Having matured as an actor with VAASTAV, Sanju's performance is no less effective in HATHYAR. Despite the fact that Sanju has enacted gangster roles in the past, there's variation this time, and that's where the actor scores, breathing life into the character. Be it the money-thirsty don or the vulnerable husband, the actor is simply marvelous.
Shilpa Shetty registers a strong impact despite being a male-dominated enterprise. Her outburst when Sanju kills Sachin Khedekar proves that she's a capable actress who can deliver the goods if given roles of substance.
Amongst character artists, Sachin Khedekar (first-rate), Reema (splendid) and Deepak Tijori (natural) stand out. Sharad Kapoor doesn't get much scope to display histrionics, but is effective. Shivaji Satam, Shakti Kapoor, Gulshan Grover, Pramod Moutho, Anup Soni and Pankaj Berry lend adequate support. Namrata Shirodkar is very good. Ashima Bhalla sizzles in the dance number.
On the whole, there's tremendous curiosity and anxiety to watch the sequel of VAASTAV. Although HATHYAR is a sincere attempt, comparisons with the predecessor are inevitable and in that respect, HATHYAR would meet with mixed reactions from cinegoers. From the business point of view, an overdose of blood and gore would curtail its prospects to an extent. While the hardcore masses might take to it, those preferring soft films, especially women and family audiences, may give this flick a skip. Since the film revolves around Mumbai underworld and the identification with the characters is stronger here than elsewhere, the business prospects in Mumbai would be the best.