While it never got clear in the remake version of AGNEEPATH when and how the eunuchs came to form the inner line of security cover and confidant of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, they indeed got a place of eminence in the film. It is in all probability for the first time that an army of eunuchs has been used as close confidant in Hindi cinema by a mainstream producer and director, aka Karan Johar and Karan Malhotra.
Eunuchs have been an important part of our historical edifice, right from the times when history was conceptualized in India. First such example of them being accorded place of eminence in strategic affairs is found from Mahabharata, our historical text where one finds evidence of existence of a battalion of eunuchs under the leadership of Shikhandi, who was spurned by Arjun, and the spurn turned out to be a thorn in the muscle of Arjun as Shikhandi emerged as a phenomenal opponent. In the same manner, in Mughal India, eunuchs enjoyed powers to the degree which nobody else could, and they only had access to the female zenan khanas.
Now probably taking a leaf out from historicity, and as a point of departure, in the remake version of AGNEEPATH, under the leadership of Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, they form part of his concentric circle of protection. It is a stark comment on their role in the underworld of present times, as also the place of eminence that they are acquiring in the political landscape as well. The point of departure that Karan Johar has chosen in AGNEEPATH of the present times indeed is in sync with the social realities of the underworld landscape of Mumbai, and it underlines awareness about the ground realities of Mumbai.
It was Mahesh Bhatt who had brought in distinct relief the role the eunuchs play in the underbelly of Mumbai aka the underworld with SADAK and Sadashiv Amrapurkar as Maharani had given a lifetime of performance. Mahesh Bhatt indeed is the only director who used the character of eunuchs in the society through his films in a very effective manner. TAMANNA was another film where Paresh Rawal in the role of a eunuch bringing up an abandoned child gave one of his lifetime performances in acting. In the same manner Ashutosh Rana showed the evil side of it in the film SANGHARSH. But subsequent portrayals of this social class gravitated more towards caricature rather than portraying them in their actual realities.
It also could be a smart exercise in expanding the class of patrons to view AGNEEPATH as this class as a category has a sizeable presence around the country side and has a strong filial relationship and bonding that could get converted into increasing footfalls for the film all across the countryside.
At the end of the day it is the box office success that matters and from the reports emanating from the countryside, AGNEEPATH has emerged as a block buster all across the country. It also is a point of departure from the original version of AGNEEPATH as though the original version was a critics' delight, it could not sway the box office in its favor. In the present times where investments in a film run to more than 50 crore for a producer more important is to get his money back rather than be satisfied with the award from the critics.
One only hopes that henceforth Hindi cinema that has otherwise caricatured the portrayal of this social class in the films (which is a distinct social reality- eunuchs) would portray them with compassion. If that happens, Karan Johar's AGNEEPATH would indeed take major credit for it.