Rating: 2/5 stars (Two Stars)
Director: Apoorva Lakhia
What’s Good: Based on the old Zanjeer, the film ultimately is an undeniably novel concept.
What’s Bad: Needless tinkering of a story that was better left untouched.
Loo break: Some for sure!
Watch or Not?: I am not really a fan of remakes, but this clearly ranks amongst the shabbier ones I’ve encountered. Based on Prakash Mehra’s vintage classic that marked the advent of Big B as Bollywood’s angry young man, Zanjeer even with its share of spiffy action clearly misses the raw flair that Salim-Javed’s touch had done to the screenplay. All the crashing thrills and smashing stunts simply couldn’t save this film from being a flat, tiresome and sore bore.
Watch it only if you are inclined to revisit the stories of 70s when commercial cinema wasn’t synonymous with making similarly lazy films with minimal creative offering!
An aggressive, honest and uptight police officer has been transferred constantly for his brash ways of mending arrogant goons. On Landing up in Mumbai, officer Vijay Khanna (Ram Charan Teja) is given a significant case. The only eye witness of the murder case is Mala (Priyanka Chopra), who is an NRI attending a friend’s wedding in the city. Maya helps the police in identifying the miscreants. When the mafia finds out they try to kill her. Vijay saves her from them and makes her stay at his place to keep her safe.
While the two slowly fall in love, the case moves speedily at uncovering the most established businessmen being involved in an oil racket of smuggling petrol and diesel illegally. With help of aides like Sher Khan (Sanjay Dutt), Vijay takes on the mighty mafia Godmen. Little did he know that this war will end in soothing the old bruises of his parents’ murder and much more!
Zanjeer Review: Script Analysis
Bollywood is functioning robotically with a constant eye on the box office. Using variations of the same recipes that rake moolah, most films follow a set pattern or a schema. It’s either corny gags or bang-boom action that producers use relentlessly to earn profits of their investment. Zanjeer, is yet another example of how little regard our film industry has for good cinema or cinema at all for that matter. Constantly prodding older scripts, to squeeze out the film’s natural zest is a tendency young filmmakers are conveniently resorting to. While it is easier to believe this is out of reverence or nostalgia, I presume it is more a result of sheer laziness at ideating anything remotely new.
We all are familiar with the story of Zanjeer. But the disappointing screenplay has not an ounce of energy to spare for its audiences this time. The story takes up the same pace as the earlier edition but cannot keep up to the overbearing plot of the former. Structured with gusto and meticulous detailing, parts of the script have deliberately been maintained, including a few memorable dialogues.
The story works on a three facet schema involving revenge of a bruised child who grows up to an honest police office fighting mafia king, the romance angle and Sher Khan’s undying loyalty for Vijay. There is an additional plot added in the film where Vijay receives incessant help from a crime reporter. The primary flaw with the film is that it tackles issues with too much ease. The audiences are almost expected to assume parts of the story which highlights the gaps in the screenplay writing. The scene where Vijay and Mala profess their love is sudden because there is no romantic link shown before their stark intimate scene. Also it is quite ridiculous that the ACP barges into Sher Khan’s garage without any offensive initiation from Khan. The very next scene we are told that Khan has voluntarily shut down his illegal businesses. Given that we know what happens in the original film, this is an instance of poor scripting.
Not to mention that the camaraderie between Mona and Teja is outrageous! Our villain is a Viagra popping, shamelessly purring buffoon who has a wonderful comic sense. Sadly, he wasn’t supposed to be funny. Some awfully sexist and grotesque jokes might shock you to the core, but yes neat films are an obsolete feature in Bollywood these days, so quit expecting.
Dialogues like ‘Sher Khan beimaani ka dhanda bhi imaandari se karta hai’ and ‘Yeh Police station hai, tere baap ka ghar nahi’ are always good to hear but overall, the dialogues are dismal disasters and in no way pays homage to Salim-Javed’s gritty, memorable one-liners. The film’s essence is awfully stale with its strongholds getting overshadowed by a flimsy screenplay whose fractures leaves us scarred with a yawn-some cinematic experience!
Zanjeer Review: Star Performances
Ram Charan Teja with his robotic expressions does well in flaunting his penchant at robust action. He doesn’t romance too well and that’s fine. In times when gravity defying stunt based films are dominating, Teja can smoothly fit into the likes of Dabanggs and more.
Priyanka Chopra leaves me sad as the actress settles as a mere arm candy for an actor. She is a storehouse of caliber and it’s a shame she is letting all that remain unused.
Sanjay Dutt is the only eye catching casting as he fits quite well as Sher Khan. But there is a very little screen space for him to enhance his character any further.
After working in every possible masala entertainer in the last few years, Prakash Raj has created his own niche at villain’s buffoonery. Indeed a master at the same, the actor again is letting his talent dissipate into nothingness by compromising for roles like such.
Atul Kulkarni is great as the aggressive crime reporter who takes on a duel with the ACP initially, only to realize his worth later. An actor par excellence, he is great in his role.
Mahie Gill should watch her film Dev D again as she is clearly suffering from amnesia. There can be no other reason why she agreed to be Mona! The tinge of derogation is deliberate!
Zanjeer Review: Direction, Editing and Music
Apoorva Lakhia’s direction is sleek and packaged swankily but has an unforgivably tedious and long film which cannot evoke any applause despite the evident toiling. Made on every possible staple pedigree available for use currently, the film has an upright hero, a satanic villain, a naïve heroine in love, thunderous action and sleazy item number ala Munni and Sheila. He is careful in referring vehemently to the original, but loses himself in the myriad plots and sub plots he weaves. Vijay destroys the oil mafia’s most crucial point with so much ease that it is surprising how Lakhia does the tricky bits almost with inexperience. The editing is sketchy which treads into tiresome length. The music is extraordinarily ordinary and only the background score with the tunes of Raghupati Raghav is hummable.
Zanjeer Review: The Last Word
Zanjeer is a typical product of prevalent market tricks that ensure numbers. A sloppy mishmash of slackened writing, half baked execution and slumber incurring editing, the desperate attempts of packing a few extra scenes of head banging action doesn’t quite help. Lacking the spirit and marvel of Zanjeer that I went in looking, the reason why I both survived and detested the film, was the same. I am going with a 2/5 with this desperate slog which goes on to prove that there indeed is a dearth of fresh stories in Bollywood.
Zanjeer releases on 6th September, 2013.
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