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Fists Of Fury

Friday, February 05, 2016
By Deepa Gahlot

Film buff and festival curator, Sachin Gandhi of Calgary, Canada, posted on his Facebook page about Ghayal Once Again “Why bring the character of Ajay Mehra back after 26 years? Could Sunny Deol and Bollywood not have left him in peace? Ajay Mehra could have continued his daily dosage of jogging, push-ups, sit-ups and bench press. He could have continued to have his morning chai, read the newspaper and tell the neighbourhood kids of how terrible the world was back in 1990 when he took on the system. Heck, he could have run a boxing gym and trained people. But no...this friday, Ajay Mehra will be back in cinemas. Maybe it won’t be bad. Maybe, the disaster might be contained.”

Perhaps he speaks for many fans of Ghayal (1990), the multiple award winning film directed by Rajkumar Santoshi. So successful was the film, that it was remade into several languages. Sunny Deol who was not taken very seriously as an actor till then, earned a Special Jury Mention at the National Awards.

The scene in which Ajay Mehra’s (Deol) brother Ashok (Raj Babbar) is wounded and he screams for help is unforgettable and still goosebump-raising. In the film Ajay is a boxer – which allowed for an ordinary man to use his fists in a film with a realistic setting. He lives with his brother Ashok and sister-in-law (Moushumi Chatterjee).

When Ajay leaves town for training, in his absence his brother, who is facing business troubles is trapped by the villain, who wanted to use Ashok as a cover for his illegal activities. Ashok is killed, Ajay is framed for the murder and in court it is proved that he was having an affair with his bhabhi. He escapes from prison, seeks out Balwant Rai and kills him.

It was Santoshi’s first film, he was still under the influence of Govind Nihalani, whom he had assisted. He had to prove himself and he did with a film that was a commercial and critical hit.

Along with Arjun and Gadar, it remains one of Sunny Deol most memorable and successful films. Stands to reason that now that his career is at a standstill, he would want to revisit it. (Since then, his leading lady Meenakshi Seshadri has retired, and the terrifying villaim Amrish Puri has passed way.)

According to information available, the sequel Ghayal Once More, Ajay comes out of prison after serving a life sentence and starts a newspaper. He earns a fan following among the youth for his hard-hitting journalism. Four of his fans get into trouble with powerful and evil men when they accidentally record a murder. It’s Ajay, that is, Sunny Deol to the rescue in a film he has directed himself.

In 26 years, stories, styles and audience expectations have changed—this is the real battle Deol will have to fight.. with gloves off.

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