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‘ZANJEER' is a stylish but terribly slapdash remake!
If you haven’t watched the original “Zanjeer”, you’ll find this film extremely ridiculous. But if you have seen the original, chances are that nostalgia will make your experience a tad better, although not good enough to deserve a visit to the theatre.
As in the original, the story is about an honest police officer Vijay Khanna (Ramcharan), who rises to fight crime and eliminate criminal in a city ruled by the crime lord Teja (Prakash Raj). To fight crime his love interest, Mala (Priyanka Chopra), supports him and Sher Khan (Sanjay Dutt) is his aide, fighting from forefront.
Frankly, even the original Zanjeer wasn’t great as a film. What went for it was the script sprinkled with the typical Bollywood masala, the amazingly powerful dialogues and Amitabh Bacchan’s terrific performance. It portrayed Bacchan as the angry young man, whose restrain is like a volcano yet to be erupted. But what this film does, is it simply takes the sketch of the 40 year old film, paints it in modern colours, and shabbily assorts the events and dialogues to make sure it qualifies as an authentic remake. In fact, unlike in the original, the title Zanjeer holds no meaning for this film. While in the original, Vijay Khanna recognised his father’s killer with his bracelet (Zanjeer), here, the killer has a forearm tattoo as his identification mark. Also, the essence of this film is never serious. The supporting characters are flaunting stupid jokes and even the supposedly dreadful villain Teja never seems grievous. His lines range from jocular to vulgar. In a scene where he’s agitated at her speaking, he tells his keep Mona, “Tum apna muh sirf ek cheez ke liye khola karo.” How do you expect any serious drama with such dialogues floating around freely.
If you haven’t seen the original, you might not get a lot of what is happening in the film. It makes for a very confusing screenplay, if you are not well versed with the plot of the 1973 blockbuster. This is the one major drawback with this remake that the maker assumes his audience has already seen the original, not considering the fact that the original released 40 years back.
Among the merits are the stylishly shot fight scenes, and the overall feel of the film is slick. But when the content is so poor you don’t pay heed to such merits. Director Apoorva Lakhia never puts any effort in bringing his take on the table. The thrilling plot (which is definitely not thrilling here), the iconic dialogues (which lose their charm when they come out of the lips of anyone but Mr. Bacchan, and the plots twists and turns. I do understand that it has to stick to the original, but in that case, it should not tinker with the other details, for it to make any sense. Despite its production limitations, the 40 year old original film is far more riveting than this stylised remake.
Among the performances, Ramcharan is facially wooden, but his body language is good. But never is his act even close to the lowest point of Bacchan’s act in the original. Priyanka Chopra is bright and attractive, and her scenes do stand out in this otherwise subpar film. Sanjay Dutt’s role is an exact copy of Pran’s in the original, be it the dialogues or the screen space. Prakash Raj performs well, but his character is created in a manner that never befits a dreaded mafia. Mahie Gill is hardly there. All others look mere clowns.
In all, Zanjeer is a haphazard assortment of events and dialogues from the original, making very little sense. As a standalone film, it is a stylish actioner with content of a C-Grader. Avoidable!
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