Zanjeer, a remake of the 1973 Amitabh Bachchan-starrer, is the latest offering from Apoorva Lakhia and is a modern retelling of the crime-infested underbelly of Mumbai. It’s a bad time for Mumbai as petrol, oil prices and adulteration are on the rise. Villain Teja has been up to no good, and honest as the day is long, ACP Vijay Khanna, who’s recently transferred from Andhra Pradesh to Mumbai is a man on a mission to set things right.
Bollywood crazy NRI Mala witnesses a murder that Vijay is investigating and gets caught up in this cop-mafia war. Also helping Vijay in this mission are Sher Khan and crime reporter Jay Dev. Apparently the plot has been inspired from real life incidents involving the oil mafia and the assassination of a journalist but has the director been able to do justice to this or the remake?
The look of Zanjeer is highly stylized and replete with punches, glass-shattering and fiery explosions across grimy locations. The present day narration has, no doubt, a more glamorous backdrop, wining-dining in expensive restaurants and some typical Hindi film item numbers and pyromania that is trending in action films these days.
Action by Javed-Aejaz is high octane and stylish. While Apoorva Lakhia may have overhauled the original and given this one a whole new look he has sadly not been able to do it justice. There is little else to expect, except for action and some power-packed reworking of a classic to draw the audiences in. So don’t go in expecting another classic.
Southern superstar Ram Charan makes his Hindi film debut, donning the uniform and the scowl of the iconic Angry Young Man. Walking in the footsteps of a legend seems a tall order though it would be unfair to judge the actor’s talent by comparison. Suffice to say that though he has a flair for action and dancing, there's nothing else showcased from his end. Sanjay Dutt is earnest in his reprisal of Pran’s memorable portrayal of Sher Khan. Priyanka Chopra plays Jaya Bachchan’s Mala, but is too over-the-top and grates on your nerves. A heavy lidded Mahie Gill is a letdown. Where Bindu had bought a certain class to Mona, Mahie succeeds only exuding over exaggerated sexuality. One can't even compare Prakash Raj as Teja to Ajit, but he does what he can. Atul Kulkarni is sincere in his efforts as crime reporter Jay Dev.
If you want to watch a movie replete with random sequences that has dialogue like “Chicks and chickens are meow and you can't have enough of both” and “India mein sher aur dost dono ki kami hai. Ek doctor kam bhi ho jaye toh koi farak nahi padeega”, then please go and waste two hours of your time. Zanjeer gets 1.5 stars from us.