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Last Updated 24.09.2021 | 4:59 PM IST



Subhash K Jha speaks about Zanjeer

Bollywood News

Let's not get carried away. Every time a remake comes along we get along

gooey-eyed and nostalgic about the original. Zanjeer gets it right. Dead right. Unlike

Ram Gopal Varma's remake of Sholay which was purely misguided, and Karan Malhotra's

Agneepath which was unnecessarily brutal Zanjeer is just what remake should be.

It's respectful to the original material, which let me hasten to add, was no masterpiece and

suspiciously similar to a 1967 film called Death Rides A Horse.

In fact a similar film Yaadon Ki Baraat written by Salim-Javed and released during the

same year 1973 as Zanjeer was far superior.

Providentially Lakhia's Zanjeer is neither slavishly reverent to the original material

nor does it take off into weird wild and wacky tangents, like the Rohit Shetty's recent remake

of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Golmaal.

Rather, the new Zanjeer opens up the original plot, weeds out the humbug and preserves

the core of the revenge saga of an angry cop whose ire grows progressively higher as the plot

moves through a series of cleverly conceived conflicts that accentuate his alienation from his

khaki-coloured line of duty.

No one can do to the sullen cop's role what Mr Bachchan did. But yes, even in his new avatar

Inspector Vijay Khanna seethes, simmers and boils over with an indignant rage. Everything about

the festering rotten 'system' makes him annoyed and churlish. Since Zanjeer, and its more

serious-toned country-cousin Ardh Satya, numerous cops have vented their cinematic spleen

in films as far-raging in quality as Singham and Police-Giri.

What makes Vijay Khanna in the new Zanjeer special is the plot-mechanics which put him in

time-worn situations but subject him to dramatic dynamics that give the prototypical Angry Cop a

renewed riveting life of violent score-settling.

That this time, the Angry Cop who was played with such compelling candidness by

Amitabh Bachchan in original Zanjeer, is played by Ramcharan is just a huge stroke of

luck for the remake. Ramcharan brings in an entirely unique brand of silent satyagraha to his

character. When we first see him on screen he wallops a goonda-politician on a busy road of

Hyderabad as a hoarding of Ramcharan's father Chiranjeevi's film looks down on the chaotic


A version of 'Raghupati Raghav' plays in the background as Ramcharan lets us know without

wasting time that he means business.

The pace from that hard hitting moment is relentless. The momentum never slackens even when

Vijay Khanna gets down to expressing tender thoughts for the fast-talking befuddled and

disoriented NRI girl Mala. Playing Mala Priyanka Chopra seems to have a whole lot of infectious

fun. She spells joie de vivre and looks gorgeous. Priyanka is the comic relief in this

fast-paced actioner where fists and the background put out an ominous warning.

Apoorva Lakhia paces the proceedings as rush-hour traffic of bustling events. No one has the

luxury to stop and think as the narration gathers up a storm of pulpy conflicts building up to

an exceptionally staged climax filmed amidst the volatile proceedings of a crowded Moharram


From the Ganpati Viasarjan to the Moharram, Lakhia's interpretation of Zanjeer traverses

a mammoth canvas of rapid fire images. Gururaj Jois's camera moves dexterously but never to

divert out attention from the central conflict. And Chintan Gandhi's dialogues use one-liners

judiciously, never over-doing the smart-alec retorts.

The film's action done by Javed-Ejaz feels and looks right. The attention paid to getting the

action sequences right is highly commendable. There is an elaborately staged multiple-explosion

sequence in a huge Dharavi-like slum which belongs to a Van Diesel starrer.

Sanjay Dutt steps splendidly into Pran's part. His sequences though limited by

the actor's physical unavailability, show the sensitive side to his aggressive personality. The

bonding between Ramcharan and Dutt comes across as effectively as the one between Ramcharan and

Praiyanka and Prakash Raj and Mahie Gill.

And the momentum never slackens.

Fast-paced, and forever furious, Zanjeer also finds space to be excruciatingly funny. In

fact the whole villain-vamp equation between Teja and Mona Darling is here subverted to a kind

of comic coitus interrupts where Prakash Raj repeatedly keeps talking about sex without getting

down to it while 'Mona' Mahie Gill purrs and moans and pouts not out of passion but for just the

opposite reasons.

The most tongue-in-cheek homage I've seen in a remake occurs in this film when we see the new

Teja-Mona pair watching actor Ajit and Bindu in the original Zanjeer on a DVD. The

sequence is irreverent without appearing to belittle the original. It reminds us of the renewed

cycle of art and individual talent.

Throughout the film we sense the director's immense affection for the original Zanjeer, a

reverence that never clouds his judgment.

This is one remake that stands tall and lithe. It is manned by a manful supply of action and yet

manages to keep the machismo understated. Breakneck-paced, adrenaline-pumping, pulse-pounding,

Apoorva Lakhia deconstructed version of the Prakash Mehra film is a full-on pacy paisa-vasool

entertainer with brio and balls. Ramcharan Teja makes an impressive debut.

We can safely say he is the man among the boys. Go for it.

More Pages: Zanjeer Box Office Collection , Zanjeer Movie Review


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