A feather in the cap of writer duo Salim Khan-Javed Akhtar was the 1973 hit, Zanjeer, that forged the on-screen image of Amitabh Bachchan as the ‘angry young man’. Now, with an Apoorva Lakhia-directed remake under way, the duo moved the Bombay High Court (earlier this month), seeking a stay order on the release of the new version.
Earlier, they had reportedly complained to the Film Writers Association (demanding Rs 6 crore from the makers), arguing that the remake cannot be released without the original scriptwriters’ consent. Javed’s daughter, filmmaker Zoya Akhtar, has now come out in support of her father, saying that he should get his due before producer Amit Mehra can start cashing in on the film. “This is a very justified demand. Copyright has to be done and you have to pay before you remake such an iconic film,” says Zoya.
Earlier, when Zoya’s brother Farhan remade another Bachchan-starrer, Don (1978), with Shah Rukh Khan, he had taken formal permission from his father (he wrote the original) before announcing his version.
Trade analysts are also of the opinion that the makers are bound to pay the original Zanjeer’s writers. “The makers won’t junk the film at this point in time (as it is 80 per cent complete). But it seems the controversy is generating buzz for the new film, so they want to keep it going,” says trade analyst Amod Mehra.
The other question is whether the matter will affect Zoya’s friendship with Apoorva. “The tussle is between the producer, the ex-producer and the writers. This doesn’t affect the relationship I share with Apoorva,” says Zoya.
The remake will see Telugu actor Ram Charan Teja reprise Bachchan’s role, while Sanjay Dutt will play Sher Khan (played by Pran in the original). The film is scheduled to hit theatres on June 14.