Movie Review: 'Zanjeer'

When a wonder man with no expressions meets a woman with too many, what to do you think could happen? Well, for starters a phenomenally bad film. Armed with a face that seems cut out of a stiff cardboard, Ram Charan makes a debut in this 'Zanjeer' remake directed by Apoorva Lakhia. Giving him company is Priyanka Chopra, a hare-brained NRI who keeps calling out to her pappa when she is not generally being a nuisance with her constant chatter.

'Zanjeer' review

Well, this is a gutsy (please note the sarcasm) attempt for any director to remake an iconic film, which created the legendary tag of the angry young man for one of country’s finest actor, Amitabh Bachchan. So when presented with the opportunity of remaking a film of that calibre, what would one expect from a filmmaker? A humble attempt made with full reverence for the original. No sir, Apoorva Lakhia is in no such mood. Instead, he uses his special talent to make it as crass as possible, turning it into a pedestrian, B-grade version of the original classic.

What clearly seems like an arrogant ‘I can make it better’ attitude, the film retains miniscule amount of the charm or the charisma of either Salim-Javed’s unforgettable lines or the amazing chemistry between Teja (Ajit) and his moll, Mona Darling. What we end up with on our plate is a horny Teja (Prakash Raaj) and a hornier Mona (Mahie Gill). Some of the scenes between the two, specifically one which involves a packet of Viagra (spelt wrong, but of course) is not only cringe-worthy but leave the theatres-and-run-away-as-far-as-possible-worthy.

The only redeeming factor is Sanjay Dutt. Yes, it is tough to live up to Pran saab’s Sher Khan, but given the messy set up, Dutt puts in a convincing performance.

Three decades later, it is disheartening to see that while we have gone miles ahead with technology, we still most often seem to miss out on the basic emotions that played on the heartstrings of the audience. We are too busy worrying what will work and in the process, our safest bet is incorporating an item number to attract the audience. 'Zanjeer' has three item numbers randomly put together (as is generally the case). So item numbers and an overweight Prakash Raj, who clearly loves the sound of his own voice, wounding himself around Mahie Gill, while mouthing unmentionable in a family paper kind of dialogues is your idea of entertainment, please feel free to watch this one. Others can use the time to re-visit the old 'Zanjeer' and pray that all’s well in their worlds.

Oh yes, Ram Charan has a great body and walks around like a cat with hangers for shoulders. But alas, that obviously is not enough. Only if he had watched the 'Zanjeer' DVD again and again and even tried to emulate the body language of the original Inspector Vijay (with a reed-thin body), things could have been far different. If nothing, this film does the great service of reminding us what a great actor the original Inspector Vijay is. And what fabulous writers Salim Javed were and Prakash Mehra was such an entertaining storyteller.

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