The official remake of Amitabh Bachchan's 1973 hit Zanjeer. Vijay is a brutally honest police officer who has been transferred yet again by the system for chasing the corrupt underworld goons. He is in charge of a case where the key eye witness, Mala, has seen a murder by Teja’s Gang and refuses to co-operate. Teja is the hea...more
The official remake of Amitabh Bachchan's 1973 hit Zanjeer. Vijay is a brutally honest police officer who has been transferred yet again by the system for chasing the corrupt underworld goons. He is in charge of a case where the key eye witness, Mala, has seen a murder by Teja’s Gang and refuses to co-operate. Teja is the head of an oil mafia operation and doesn’t want Mala alive. Vijay manages to convince Mala to give a statement which makes her perpetrators come after her. The film revolves around Vijay’s struggle against the system, his battle against his inner demons and the chase after Teja. less
“Zanjeer is a well-paced masala remake but a lukewarm debut for Ram Charan which doesn't match up to the intensity of the original film. None of the performances ring true, apart from Sanjay Dutt's strong acting. Skip it.”
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“This is work and that is a hangover”. Ram Charan Teja points to his tired eyes and Atul Kulkarni’s drunk eyes and makes this hilarious observation. Oddly enough, he describes what the original film was and what this shoddy remake is. One was the work of an accomplished director called Prakash Mehra who told a good story (which itself was inspired by the 1967 Lee Van Cleef western – Death Rides A Horse), the end result was the beginning of the stardom of Amitabh Bachchan. The other is a hangover of a hack called Apoorva Lakhia who is drunk on too much masala, the end result is a failure to launch for Ram Charan Teja.
All this is coming from a fan of remakes. Two or three good movies out of one good story! Why would I not want that? I don’t believe updating a story in a brand new film is a bad idea at all. It shows the numerous cinematic possibilities contained in one source. But I also don’t believe it is always a good idea. Especially when you neither make the same film presented better nor do you make a new film presented differently. The earlier two remakes of Amitabh Bachchan films - Don (2006) and Agneepath (2012) created new cinematic worlds out of the same premise. They were worthy companions to their source and don’t make the old ones look bad. The biggest failure of a remake is when it makes the old film look bad. This is exactly what this futile remake does. It’s not as bad as what RGV did to Sholay, but that’s no benchmark for any film of any sort.
Angry young man - this was the tag given to Amitabh Bachchan who played Vijay in the original film released in 1973. He had a restrained countenance and a calm face; under his face were multiple explosions, which erupted over decades and made him the revered actor that he is. Filling his shoes is a gargantuan task. In the case of the earlier remakes, I didn’t want to compare them to the original or the actors to Mr. Bachchan. Those films knew the original well and showed genuine love for the material. They changed many things but never lost the essence. This film has essentially the same plot but never captures the essence. Its ignorance makes me want to compare and when I do, I just don’t like what I see. Ram Charan Teja’s voice is dubbed (a terrible decision) and has a stiff, perpetually swollen face, which is not exactly a storehouse of acting. There is no calm, no anger, no explosions.
Priyanka Chopra plays the role of Mala, which was earlier portrayed by Jaya Bachchan. I don’t recall Mala being an annoying idiot in the original. The innocence is replaced by nonsense. Most of the jokes of this “simple NRI ladki” fall flat and she is neither funny, nor amusing. She is also a part of a moment, which is shamelessly lifted from The Artist (2011).
Sanjay Dutt gets to act out a scene exactly lifted from Crash (2005) where he says he doesn’t want to be on the Discovery Channel if he covers up the blood on a car. Pran was memorable in the role of Sher Khan. We cared for the friendship between him and Vijay. Here, Sher Khan disappears after the first fifteen minutes of the movie only to reappear after the intermission (maybe due to the actor’s imprisonment) in a confounding scene we see Vijay and Sher Khan joyfully playing a video game. Since that is EXACTLY what middle aged men do when they hang out.
Prakash Raj plays Teja, the villain and Mahie Gill plays Mona, his keep. In a scene, they are watching a scene from the original film and you can tell what went wrong. While Prakash Raj adds his own comic touch to Ajith’s serious turn, it just doesn’t work. We have seen this act a number of times before and done better. This is plain overkill.
I was also majorly bummed not to see any song from the original appear in this movie. This is one thing that I admired about the Don remake. If you are remaking a film, why not give the songs a shiny makeover as well? On second thought, judging by how bad this film was I should be relieved they didn’t butcher the songs and stuck to some cringe-worthy new music. On top of that, they are way too many and not a single one is worth giving another listen, or a first. After Satygraha last weekend, it is not pleasant to listen to Rahupati Raghav placed all over the soundtrack without a context.
There is also a laughable ending attached where the makers show interest in making a sequel. What case will Vijay tackle next? Neither do I care nor do I wish that upon you. There is a scene where the lead actors almost think they are making a superhit along the lines of Dabangg 3. Aww, you guys. Tsk tsk.
The film moves at a good speed but then again, so does an F1 car. This film didn’t bore me but it didn’t entertain me either. Those who disliked the remakes of Don and Agneepath must definitely watch this. You deserve to watch this more than the people who liked them. Aur laga lo buri nazar remakes par.