Agneepath (1990 film)

Agneepath (Hindi pronunciation: [aːɡnɪpaːtʰ], transl.The Path of Fire) is a 1990 Indian Hindi-language action crime film directed by Mukul Anand and written jointly by Santosh Saroj and Kader Khan. It stars Amitabh Bachchan as Vijay, a man who sets out to avenge the death of his father and injustices done to his family by joining the Mumbai underworld.

Theatrical release poster
Directed byMukul S. Anand
Screenplay bySantosh Saroj
Kader Khan
Story bySantosh Saroj
Produced byYash Johar
StarringAmitabh Bachchan
Mithun Chakraborty
CinematographyPravin Bhatt
Music by
Distributed byDharma Productions
Release date
  • 16 February 1990 (1990-02-16)
Running time
174 minutes
Box office102.5 million (US$1.3 million)[1]

The film was inspired by the life of a Mumbai gangster Manya Surve.[2] The title was taken from a poem of the same name called Agneepath which was penned by Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Amitabh's father, and which is recited at the beginning of the movie and creates a thematic link that continues through the movie, both literally and metaphorically.

Agneepath has grown into a strong cult film over the years. Amitabh Bachchan received his first National Film Award for Best Actor at the 38th National Film Awards for his performance. At the 36th Filmfare Awards, Mithun Chakraborty and Rohini Hattangadi won the Best Supporting Actor and the Best Supporting Actress respectively. The film, despite being the 4th highest-grosser of 1990, had collections way below its high budget, and thus, the film was unsuccessful at the box-office.[3] The film was remade in 2012 with the same title, by Johar's son Karan Johar, as a tribute to his father.


Much-loved village schoolmaster Dinanath Chauhan (Alok Nath) strongly opposes the plans of Kancha Cheena, an underworld don (Danny Dengzongpa) and his band of gangsters to set up a base for heroin smuggling. After being discredited in a set-up scandal by Kancha and the village landlord Dinkar Rao (Goga Kapoor), Dinanath is lynched by the manipulated villagers to death, and his family is evicted and made destitute, much to Cheena's advantage. Swearing revenge over his father's murder and the attempted rape of his mother Suhasini Chauhan (Rohini Hattangadi) gone unpunished, and with a burning desire to clear his father's name, his son Vijay Dinanath Chauhan (Amitabh Bachchan) takes on the responsibilities of caring for his mother and sister Siksha (Neelam) that, by a strange twist of fate, cause him to descend into the murky underbelly of the Mumbai Underworld. He is taken by gangsters Hasmukh (Arvind Rathod), Usman Bhai (Avtar Gill), and Anna Shetty (Deepak Shirke) under their wing. Working his way up the ladder, Vijay grows up attaining notoriety as an underworld kingpin.

Vijay is warned by police commissioner M.S. Gaitonde (Vikram Gokhale), (who, while critical of him, nurtures a sympathetic spot for him), of a possible assassination attempt on his life by his former bosses after he refuses to co-operate with their drug-smuggling operations. However, Vijay brushes off Gaitonde's concern, stating that he is already aware of the planned attempt and intends to let it be carried out without any preemptive attack or resistance. Vijay's car is ambushed by his bosses, who fired multiple rounds at him. Left to die, he is discovered by a Tamilian coconut vendor Krishnan Iyer M.A. (Mithun Chakraborty) who transports him to hospital and saves his life, becoming his friend and eventually finding employment as Siksha's bodyguard. During his time in the hospital, Vijay is cared for by Nurse Mary Matthew (Madhavi). Commissioner Gaitonde deduces that Vijay basically played a gamble by letting the assassination attempt on him take place so as to elevate himself to demigod status in the perception of his followers, sending his enemies scurrying for cover. While recovering at the hospital, Krishnan saves Vijay from yet another assassination attempt at the hands of his bosses by sneaking him out of his bed.

Vijay avenges his assassination attempt by targeting the assassins one by one. He begins by killing Hasmukh and Usman Bhai, who are lodged in jail after surrendering to the police to escape Vijay's wrath. Vijay's mother strongly disapproves of his criminal tendencies and stays separately from him with Siksha. One night when Vijay arrives for a dinner programme, his mother drives him away from home after chastising him for sullying the good name of his father. Vijay, hurt and upset, seeks solace in Mary's arms and begins a relationship with her. Siksha is then kidnapped and held in a slum by Anna Shetty, who wants to avenge the death of his associates killed by Vijay, and an unsuccessful rescue attempt by Krishnan ends up with the two of them brawling. Vijay hears of this and arrives to kill Anna in a fit of rage. After brutally beating up Anna, Vijay castrates him with a sword.

The close encounter between Krishnan and Siksha causes a growing intimacy between the two of them, and they fall in love with each other. Vijay is outraged and strongly protests against the relationship with his mother, but is rebuffed again when his mother disowns him and considers Krishnan her "good son" she once had. Stung and deeply hurt by this slight, Vijay seeks solace in Mary and later marries her and resolves to do things "in the right way" to gain his mother's favour.

After cutting a deal with Kancha Cheena to allow him access into his old village, Vijay sets in motion a number of strategies that undercut Cheena's criminal operations and gain him the legal ownership of the village. He kills Kanchas's henchman Gora (Bob Christo), who is sent by the former to assassinate Commissioner Gaitonde. He gets Dinkar Rao lynched at the hands of the debased and impoverished villagers, similar to the manner in which his father was killed. Revenge is a dish best served cold as Vijay informs Cheena of his identity as the son of Dinanath Chauhan, lands Cheena in jail by arranging for Cheena's keep Laila (Archana Puran Singh) to testify against Kancha in court. Laila reveals herself as Shanti, the daughter of the prostitute who helped set up Master Dinanath to discredit him, and that she has been Vijay's trump card all along to get back to Kancha. Vijay returns the village to his mother and finds himself back in her favour, but Cheena ensures his release by arranging for the witnesses to be gunned down and Vijay's family to be kidnapped and held hostage. This is the last straw for Vijay, who is forced to return to his criminal ways and to walk the "Path of Fire" in order to rescue them. A violent and bloody struggle takes place as Cheena bombs every building and demolishes the entire village before he is killed by Vijay, who throws him into the raging fires and burns him alive. However, Vijay succumbs to the various bullet wounds inflicted on him by Kancha. While dying in the lap of his mother at the site of his family's old house, Vijay tries to justify the life he chose and the deeds he committed; that he indeed walked the "Agneepath", the "path of fire", (personifying his father's poem that was taught to him as a boy), to get justice for his family and insists that he is not a criminal. His mother weeps over his body piteously along with Krishnan, Siksha and Mary, finally forgiving him and acknowledging that he was never a criminal.



The film was inspired by the life of Mumbai don Varadarajan Mudaliar and gangster Manya Surve. Bachchan modelled his mannerisms and voice on Surve for his character.[2][4][5]


Upon release the film received polarized reviews.[3] Film Trade Analyst Komal Nahta wrote about Bachchan's voice: "But the biggest undoing of the film is Amitabh Bachchan’s voice. He has spoken the dialogue in a different voice (similar to what Marlon Brando did in The Godfather) which will not be accepted by the audience. Further the mixing not being clear, his dialogues are incomprehensible at places." He further wrote that the film lacked a gripping drama, well-set script, and that even the murder scenes lacked excitement.[6]'s review of Agneepath suggested that perhaps, the grim, violent, aggressive, and dark portrayal of the underbelly of Bombay's underworld had worked against the film.[7]

However, the perception of the film changed gradually over the years.[3] Karan Johar recounts in an interview how younger city-based audiences thought it was a cool film.[8] The movie's review in, mentioned that: "Agneepath, despite its amplified sentimentality, strong language and violence works on account of this very dynamism. "[9]


All music is composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal and Jean Michel Jarre.

1."Kisko Tha Pata"SP Balasubramanyam, Alka Yagnik 
2."I Am Krishnan Iyer M. A."SP Balasubramanyam 
3."Ali Baba Mil Gaye Chalis Choron Se"Runa Laila, Aadesh Shrivastava[10] 
4."Ganpati Apne Gaon Chale"Sudesh Bhosle, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Anupama Deshpande 


Year Nominee / work Award Result
1990 Amitabh Bachchan National Film Award for Best Actor Won
Mithun Chakraborty Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor Won
Rohini Hattangadi Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress Won


In an interview with The Times of India, Karan Johar explained that he had the intention of remaking the original Agneepath ever since the film released 22 years ago, because according to him, the failure of the film broke his father's heart.[11] The idea of the remake materialised on the sets of Johar's film My Name Is Khan in which Karan Malhotra was an associate director. Johar told Malhotra his desire to remake the original film and asked him to revisit it again, to which he agreed immediately.

Hrithik Roshan played the role of Vijay Deenanath Chauhan and Sanjay Dutt plays the role of the Kancha Cheena.[12] Priyanka Chopra was the female lead. The character of Krishnan Iyer played by Mithun Chakraborty in the original was removed and Rishi Kapoor played a newly introduced negative character, Rauf Lala.[13] Other members of the cast include Om Puri and Zarina Wahab[14] among others.

The film was also modified and remade in Tamil as Sivasakthi, directed by Suresh Krissna.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Box office 1990". Box office india. Archived from the original on 17 October 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Rediff On The Net, Movies: Satya is the latest movie to depict predator as prey".
  3. ^ a b c "Film of the Month: Amitabh's Agneepath is more than mere Scarface, maloom?". 16 February 2020.
  4. ^ "On the Vijay path again!". 29 May 2011.
  5. ^ "One don, many interpretations".
  6. ^ "Blast From The Past: Agneepath (1990) Review". 27 January 2012.
  7. ^ "Revisiting Amitabh Bachchan's Agneepath (Slide 1)". Rediff Movies. 10 February 2012. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012.
  8. ^ Johan, Karan. "Interview with Karan Johan : Indu Mirani". YouTube. The Boss Dialogues. Archived from the original on 5 November 2014. Retrieved 18 April 2015.
  9. ^ " Amitabh Bachchan's Agneepath(Slide 3)". Rediff. Archived from the original on 10 February 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Ali Baba Mil Gaye Chalis Choron Se Lyrics". LyricsMotion. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  11. ^ "Agneepath broke my father's heart: Karan Johar". The Times of India. 26 January 2012. Archived from the original on 23 October 2013. Retrieved 14 April 2012.
  12. ^ "Sanjay Dutt is the bad man now". MidDay. Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2012.
  13. ^ "Rishi to do a 'looks test' for Agneepath". Mumbai Mirror. Archived from the original on 9 January 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2010.
  14. ^ "Zarina to star in Agneepath remake". Asianage. Archived from the original on 13 January 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2010.

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