If remakes are supposed to pay homage to erstwhile super hits, ‘Zanjeer’ hasn’t done a very good job of it.
‘Zanjeer’, the revenge saga of an honest cop trying to take on the big bad wolf, retains the original premise. Even the motifs for the most part – which is possibly the only thing that director Apoorva Lakhia stayed true to the older version. Many argue that comparisons shouldn’t be drawn, but if you venture out to remake a classic, then that remains unavoidable.
While Farhan Akhtar’s ‘Don’ was slick and modernised, and ‘Agneepath’ was darker and brutal, ‘Zanjeer’ doesn’t even try to reinvent itself in any good way.
It seems that the movie is riding on the fact that the Amitabh- Jaya Bachchan starrer was a superhit, and in the age of remakes, people will flock to the theatres just to see how the movie has been ripped apart.
Action movies, however bad or brainless, cannot bore you to death. There will be cars blowing up and baddies flying in all directions to spruce up the dull moments. Lakhia seems to be hell bent on proving the notion wrong. In ‘Zanjeer’ none of the drama and the grandeur of stunts, fights and blasts have been used. The action sequences are plain lazy to say the least. Even when the hero Vijay goes on to smite an entire neighbourhood, the scene looks unthought-of and stretched. The final sequence of him chasing Teja, is somewhat interesting, but builds into a disappointing end.
To compare Ram to Amitabh Bachchan might be a little unfair to the young actor, but one cannot forget what Vijay of the 1973 classic stands for. It is not for the lack of trying, but Ram Charan Teja seems to have just remembered to sulk for the most part of the ‘angry young man’ he is supposed to portray. If Amitabh Bachchan defined his 70’s image of an action hero with ‘Zanjeer’ in 1973, Teja in his debut Hindi film has failed in that aspect. His depiction of ACP Vijay Khanna is wooden, even though he tries to be broody and dramatic.
Priyanka Chopra as Mala seems to be trying too hard to be bubbly and be the comic relief in the movie. But her 'forever giggling on her own jokes'American born desi avatar gets annoying in many of her routines. Bad scripting added to a loud Priyanka, makes sure that she fails to show her prowess as an actor that she so effortlessly pulled off in ‘Agneepath’ or ‘Barfi’.
Prakash Raj as Teja was abysmal. He looks like a buffoon for most part, and apart from the fact that the audience has seen him kill some of the men off, his ‘meeeaaaow meeeaaaow’ repetition with Mahie Gill as Mona, will have Bollywood super villain – Ajit cringe in his own grave. Teja is not evil by miles, at times he simply shoots and kills some of his men off (comically- again), and Lakhia seems to be really eager to pass the movie through the censor board to make out the bad guy in the movie laughable. He looks rather unthreatening, and you are left wondering how he drives the entire oil mafia. Sometimes his dialogues are funny, but for the most part they are just stale sexual innuendoes.
Pran - who shone as Sher Khan- Vijay’s loyal bad guy-turned-good friend is played by Sanjay Dutt. Dutt however looks tired and bloated in his role.
It’s not just for Teja’s character; the script doesn’t hold a candle to the Salim-Javed’s original and fiery writing, even though a lot has been picked verbatim from the 1973 classic. The music, whether the tracks or the background score, is nothing to write home about. Even the item numbers are not sizzling enough to get the audience excited.
The movie was a disappointment through and through, and Apoorva Lakhia truly breaks hearts having remade a movie that remodelled Amitabh’s career and shot him to super stardom. Lakhia fails pretty badly to step into Prakash Mehra’s shoes.
This Article was first published in Zeenews.india.com