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Hathyar: First sequel of the millennium hardly anyone remembers

It was the sequel to Vaastav, a film that earned Sanjay Dutt his first Filmfare Award. 

Keyur Seta

The sequel fever hit mainstream Hindi cinema around the last decade. Although Nigahen (1989) is considered one of the earliest sequels in Hindi cinema (to the 1986 hit Nagina), the craze for franchises started in 2006 with Krrish, Lage Raho Munna Bhai, and Dhoom 2, which were the successors of Koi Mil Gaya (2003), Munna Bhai M.B.B.S (2003) and Dhoom (2004), respectively. 

However, the first Hindi sequel of the millennium came much earlier. For unknown reasons, barely a few cinemagoers remember the film. In fact, there are some who are unaware of its very existence. This is highly surprising since it is the sequel to one of the most appreciated films of the late 1990s. It also helped Sanjay Dutt win his first and only Filmfare Award for Best Actor (he won another one for Best Comedian in Munna Bhai M.B.B.S).

The film in question is Hathyar: Face To Face With Reality. It continued the story of Vaastav: The Reality (1999), which marked Mahesh Manjrekar’s remarkable debut in Hindi cinema. It won critical, as well as box-office acclaim and is still remembered. 

On the occasion of 18 years of Vaastav's theatrical release, let’s revisit its lesser known sequel. 

Hathyar continued the story of Raghunath Namdev Shivalkar (Dutt), who was killed in Vaastav. Rohit (also Dutt) grows up with the stigma of being the son of Raghu bhai, but doesn’t tread on the wrong path. However, circumstances force him to join the underworld. This is how Rohit becomes Boxer Bhai. He carries his operations with his best buddies Munna (Sachin Khedekar) and Pakya (Sharad Kapoor). Shilpa Shetty plays his love interest. 

It is no rocket science to figure that the basic plot of Hathyar is the same as Vaastav's. As the film came just three years after Vaastav, the memories of the prequel were fresh in the minds of the audience. So, it was obvious that they expected a different film. 

Unfortunately, that was not to be. The effect of Hathyar was nowhere close to Vaastav. The writing was the winner in the first film and villain in the second. This ensured that the film did not impact you emotionally. So, you just don’t feel for the protagonist, unlike in the prequel. The bad content affected the performances as well. It was difficult to believe that Dutt was the same person who gave a thunderous act in Vaastav.  

Hathyar also has a song with atrocious lyrics that go ‘Yeh Hai Aapun Ki Life Samiana Olo Olo’ and ends with the repetition of the line, ‘Ek Paon Rail Mein Ek Paon Jail Mein.’ 

The song did strike a chord with some enthusiastic watchers at Mumbai’s Chitra talkies when it released. We hope they remember the film too.