Nothing seems to be going right for the upcoming Apoorva Lakhia-directed remake, Zanjeer. First, the writers of the original 1973 Amitabh Bachchan-starrer — Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar — demanded remuneration. Their logic is that the present film is based on their story, the rights to which belong to them.
Then, producer Amit Mehra’s brothers — Puneet and Sumeet — demanded a share of the pie. This happened because the original film was produced by Prakash Mehra Productions — which is now owned by all the three brothers.
However, despite all this trouble — including a Supreme Court injunction barring the makers from promoting or releasing the film till the writers’ dues are paid — the shoot of the remake has continued uninhibited. It is presently in its last stage.
According to a source close to the production, “A shoot will take place today (May 6) with Sanjay Dutt and Priyanka Chopra at Film City, Goregaon. The writers had gone to court again on Friday (May 3) demanding a stay order on the shoot. However, that was rejected.”
When contacted, Khan says that they (Salim-Javed) will ensure that the film does not release until their demands are met. “We are asking for our rights as authors. Morally, and legally, we should be paid. We had called them (producers of the remake) and asked them to settle the matter amicably, but they ignored us. So we went to the Writer’s Association, which ruled in our favour. Yet, they didn’t respond, so we had to go to court,” says Khan.
If and when the remake releases, Telugu actor Ram Charan Teja will be seen reprising the role of Inspector Vijay, which, back in 1973, cemented Amitabh’s ‘angry young man’ image. Sanjay will play Sher Khan, and Priyanka, the chief female protagonist.
As of now, the film is nearing completion, though the legal tussles surrounding it seem far from over.