Movie Review: Zanjeer – The Shackles and Shams of a Remake…


By Malay Vyas

History repeats itself, they say but human-kind cant force it to repeat, specially the “Bollywood” human-kind. Remakes, alas, have been the flavor in the air since Ram Gopal Varma tried to light up some passion in “Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag” also known as the “Sholay” remake. In trying to recreate history, the latest flick from the remake ramp, “Zanjeer” fails to shackle the viewer to the seat. Imitation is the best form of flattery but a bad imitation can almost be analogous to an insult. Apoorva Lakhia, the director continues to try but still cant deliver. Papa Prakash Mehra, the director of the real “Zanjeer” needs to take the car keys away from sons Sumeet and Puneet Mehra, the producers of the fake.

So where does Zanjeer falter? First off, a remake is always compared to its original, the story is known and everyone knows what happens in the end. The focus, then, is on the “surprise” element; something similar to what Farhan Akhtar did with Don. Don had Shah Rukh Khan, Zanjeer has Ram Charan Teja. Ram Charan Who? With all due apologies to the Telugu Audience, Teja is not a known face in Bollywood. Agreed, Teja is not just another guy from the “South”, he is Chiranjeevi’s son but Zanjeer shackles him in an unimaginative, Chulbul-Pandesque, too-often-seen-in-recent-times cop role.  He is paired with a much bigger name in Bollywood, Priyanka Chopra who is no Jaya Bacchan. In an unexplained urge to involve technology in Bollywood, Chopra arrives in India for a facebook friend’s wedding and showing no signs of jetlag, shakes a leg to a song that can almost be an item number. Love happens instantaneously and the rest of the story is as predictable as vanilla icecream.

Sanjay Dutt’s Khalnayak days are behind him and in trying to portray the bad-guy-turned-too-good Sher Khan, looks out of place. There must be a massive discount sale from Prakash Raj’s office, he is a poor man’s villain and he may be better off playing a father-in-law character on a TV soap instead of trying to get into the legendary Ajeet’s role. I do not have words to compare Mahie Gill to Bindu. There can be no other “Mona Darling”.

Three Reasons to see Zanjeer: You love popcorn so much that the movie does not matter.

The AC at home is broken down and there’s no where else to go.

Priyanka Chopra lights up your heart and life.

Three Reasons NOT to see Zanjeer: There’s only one person who fits your definition of “Angry Young Man”

You are scarred that they may make Zanjeer 2.

You are proud of your sanity.

Music: If you are high on Item Numbers… Pinky joins the ranks of Munni, Sheila, Jalebi and Chameli.

Ratings? I am seeing too many stars at this point, head spinning… bound by a Zanjeer of words! * out of ****