CAST & CREW
Remakes of famous films with the same name have now become familiar. Even a legendary and landmark film like “Sholay” has been re-made under the same as well as different names, but not always with very encouraging results. “ Zanjeer” the 1973 film that launched Big-B with his ‘angry young man’ image and later went on to become a trendsetter for later films is the inspiration for this version of “Zanjeer” which comes out with a Tamil version as well.
Plot: The character of ACP Vijay Khanna ( Ram Charan) is kept intact, with its brutally honest image - a trait which leads to his frequent transfers from one ‘goon-land’ to another. Reminded frequently of his shattered childhood and disturbed upbringing, his resolve to fight crime gets strengthened as he is assigned charge after the violent murder of a district collector. His main bottleneck is the unwillingness of the key witness, Mala ( Priyanka Chopra) to co-operate, for her fear of the gang led by Teja ( Prakash Raj), who have already threatened to murder her. Vijay, however, manages to convince Mala to co-operate and gives her shelter in his house. Close feelings develop between Mala and Vijay while Vijay’s unrelenting honesty converts the illegal car dealer Sher Khan ( Sanjay Dutt) into his lifelong friend.
Similarly impressed, Jaydev ( Atul Kulkarni), a reporter earlier inimical to Vijay, helps him with all the information he has regarding the mafia. Vijay now sets out to nab all those in Teja’s gang one by one. Although he gets suspended in between due to some information mess-up, even out of his uniform he can accomplish his task with honors, ably helped by his newfound converts and the support of Mala, who always stood by his side.
Review: With all his Hollywood background and past association with Hindi action movies, including one with Big-B himself, it still must have been a daunting task for director Apoorva Lakhia to have attempted this remake of a landmark film. To attempt a neutral review for one who has seen both versions is indeed difficult – almost like shutting one eye during an eye test to check the power of the other eye! As a standalone new film, with all fairness to Lakhia, it must be admitted that it is indeed a competent film.
However, when it comes to some of the iconic characters like Sher Khan, Teja, Mona the current incumbents for these roles do not even come a distant second. This may not be entirely due to lack of histrionics, but more due to the aura that the original actors like Pran and Ajit had injected into those roles. Regarding the performance in the lead role of Bollywood debutant Prakash Raj, (from his stint in Tamil films), one has to consider that so severe were the handicaps that he did not even try seriously to live up to the role immortalized by Amitabh.
Verdict: As regards how watchable is this new “Zanzeer”, it may be recommended to those who have not seen or heard of an earlier film of the same name, with actors called Amitabh and Pran featuring in it.
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