Come 2012, if things work out well, the Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Zanjeer (1973) will don a new avatar. One of Bollywood’s most iconic films, directed by the late Prakash Mehra, is all set to join the burgeoning list of Bollywood remakes.
Mehra’s son Amit, who has refurbished the original script, will also re-launch his father’s production company with this film. For the uninitiated, it was Zanjeer that earned Bachchan the ‘angry young man’ tag in Bollywood.
“I was working on something else when this idea hit me. I was like, ‘why not remake Zanjeer?’” says Amit, adding that the basic undercurrent of the film will remain the same. “But it’s going to be a modern take, not a copy. We’ve come up with a fresh tale.”
Amit has been working on the script for over 11 months now, but interestingly, he has no plans of approaching Big B’s son, Abhishek, for the lead role. “He is a dear friend, but he’s already announced that he won’t be doing any of his father’s remakes, so, there’s no point. He has been very vocal about this.” Months ago, Abhishek had said, “Some things (original films) are best left the way they are; I don’t see any actor stepping into my father’s shoes.”
However, earlier this week, Amit visited Amitabh, the original ‘angry young man’, to break the news to him personally. “I informed him that I have worked on the script with a plan to remake Zanjeer. He was happy that I’m taking the legacy forward,” he says, adding that the film will hit the floors early next year. “Dates are still being worked out. I haven’t taken any concrete help around the film or script yet. But I will do so. Once we are ready with the final draft, my director and I will sit with Amit uncle.”
Plans to meet Abhishek too are in the pipeline. “Once everything is sorted, he will be the first one I’m going to have a word with,” insists Amit, who feels Zanjeer is a special film for his family. “I’m happy that my family, especially my brothers Puneet and Sumeet have given me a go-ahead to remake this film.” The final cast and director will be revealed in a month.
Zanjeer was one of the first few biggies written by the legendary Salim-Javed. But Javed Akhtar isn’t perturbed with the news about its remake. “Are they really remaking it?” he says. “I don’t see any harm in it. But I only hope that he makes it well.” Tell him that Big B himself has said that an original should ideally be left alone and he laughs, “But hasn’t he acted in the remake of Sholay?”
Birth of the angry young man
Zanjeer, directed and produced by late filmmaker Prakash Mehra, starred Amitabh Bachchan as a fiercely just police officer in a town where few are honest. The movie, also starring Jaya Bachchan, changed the trend from romantic to action films and pioneered Bachchan’s brooding image. It was after this film that Bachchan came to be known as ‘the angry young man’. Zanjeer was a huge hit at the box-office in 1973, collecting over R 5 crore.