ZANJEER: a name that rings quite a few bells in the eardrum, a film that actually went on to become iconic for the slickness back in the bygone era of the polka dots and the bobby pants. As we near towards this Friday, where all eyes are definitely set for the Zanjeer 2013 release worldwide, we bring in a fresh change from what we always did. No comparisons and no unnecessary bashing. But the question is despite the obvious comparisons that are bound to be made with its original, will the new Zanjeer be able to liven up the spirits like its predecessor did?
History has it that while 1990s was the Era of the Mushy Romances with vibrant films like DDLJ, Dil toh Pagal Hai taking the industry by a storm, the 2000s was definitely the Age of Evolution. People tried to go out of their comfort zone in order to experiment with films like a Swades or a Hum Tum. And then came the season of remakes. Yes, official remakes, as we call it. It was this time of the industry when newer, grander and obviously slicker versions of some iconic old Hindi films were brought up to the fore to satisfy the indomitable needs of the Indian cinegoer. Whether it was the mesmerizing Don franchise or the Agneepath remake, directors envisioned a better way to project their creativity and imagination, thereby making use of the star power and brand value of the original.
Farhan Akhtar, who made the bravest attempt in this genre of remakes, clearly stands out as he set out to revamp one of the most shining characters back on the silver screen. Don was a phenomenon back in the 1970s and there’s no denying that Don was one film that transcended Amitabh Bachchan as the perfect hero of all. Enmeshed with the newest technological advancements, Farhan’s version of Don appealed to be much more contemporary than its prequel, thereby catering to the new-age gizmo freak inhabitants that make up almost 80 percent of the global population. With Shah Rukh risking his image to portray the villain, one which he excelled in his earlier phase with hits like Darr and Baazigar, the best bet was put on stake. And man, did he win hearts! Despite repeated comparisons with the Ultimate Don, someone as standalone and monumental as Big B, Shah Rukh made way for a newer Don, with an even more evil demeanor. But with a twist like that at the end, Farhan surely turned tables around for the don team. We agree!
Coming to the other sequel that bolted the industry like a thunderous rage was that of Karan Malhotra’s Agneepath. A coalition that marked the two Karans- Johar and Malhotra to fuse in their innovative talent and imagination, encrypting on a tale as beautiful as Agneepath, treadmills buzzed with inappropriate comparisons between Hrithik and Amit ji as KJo tried to revisit his father’s ultimate dream once again. The film went on to make over 100 crores at the box office, shattering most records possible back then and earned numerous accolades for its unique treatment and effervescence. Karan’s Agneepath was refreshing and rejuvenating, filled with some stellar performances from its entire star cast and Hrithik, as the new Vijay Dinanath Chauhan made up with his vigour and power packed strength.
But Zanjeer seems to be a totally different story. A film that revolutionized the career of the phenom, one who is touted as the Actor of the Millenium, a character that made AB the Angry Young Man, Zanjeer is the next in line. While comparisons prior to its release would definitely bring in some backlash, all we need to watch is how Apoorva Lakhia does justice to the earlier cult created by Prakash Mehra. With the dash of the masala and the wham-bam-boom-boom here and there, Zanjeer will definitely be a show stealer at the single screens and mass belts. But with the responsibility of remaking such a huge banner yet again, was casting a newcomer like Ram Charan Teja the best decision? Will Ram’s searing intensity be enough to rise up to what Big B? Will Zanjeer 2.0 tag Ram as the New Age Angry Young Man? All that needs to be seen. But as of now, what is most disappointing is the misuse of a strong actress like Priyanka Chopra. Desperately vying for attention, as it seems from the trailer and the utterly disgusting songs, Priyanka’s sultry Maha comes out as nothing but a mere prop, a here-and-there showpiece all throughout the frame. With definitive films like Barfi! or a 7 Khoon Maaf, accredited to her name, Zanjeer isn’t what you expect out of the gorgeous actress. And Priyanka, who has always been my favourite, seems to be a dull show. And Priyanka being a bigger brand than a certain Ram Charan in Bollywood, the loose role of the Desi girl might just be the biggest bummer. Sanjay Dutt looks electrifying as he reprises Pran saab’s Sher Khan and Prakash Raj’s Teja needs to be really menacing enough to pull out an Ajith off the radar.
With a period of almost four decades gone by in between, we definitely raise a toast to Apoorva Lakhia for mustering up the courage and guts to recreate the essence of Zanjeer, clearly knowing the adversities and the possible hurdles and brickbats one will have to face. But with Farhan and Karan Malhotra’s presentation of their remakes representing and catering to the new age movie goers, we expect Apoorva Lakhia to conjure up some tricks up his sleeve. If Karan and Farhan can make an already conquered territory their very own provinces, Apoorva Lakhia can do it as well, right! But considering that Don: The Chase Begins and Agneepath 2012 featuring star faces like a SRK or a Hrithik, having a newcomer like Ram Charan play Vijay from Zanjeer might just be the biggest gamble. Comparison free as of now, but one clear statement: Priyanka, gal you are way beyond all this tinee winee boot shaking and item dancing. Ditch such characters and aim for another Jhilmil or a Sussana Anna Marie Johannes, real fast! All this Babli ki Badmashi and Pinky ki Nautanki serves for the candy floss but that they aren’t worth it!
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