Direction: Apoorva Lakhia
Cast: Ramcharan, Sanjay Dutt, Priyanka Chopra, Prakash Raj
There are some things that I never thought I would see in a movie — like Vijay and Sher Khan playing a video game. Let me explain. Vijay is Hindi cinema’s original angry young man. When he was a child, his parents were brutally murdered before his eyes. The violence haunts his dreams every night. He grows up to be a cop, who is a lean, mean fighting machine with bruised eyes and a damaged soul.
Sher Khan is the larger-than-life Pathan. When Sher Khan is asked to kill Vijay, he replies with a swagger: Sher Khan sher ka shikaar nahin karta. Amitabh Bachchan and Pran played these characters in the original film. In the remake, Ramcharan and Sanjay Dutt, as Vijay and Sher Khan, sit down for some game time.
That Zanjeer was a classic. This remake is wrong on so many levels that I don’t know where to begin. This isn’t a film. It’s sacrilege. Zanjeer starts with a song in which a scantily clad woman writhes in chains — zanjeer, get it? We are then introduced to Vijay, a cop with anger-management issues who has been transferred 17 times in five years.
Priyanka Chopra is an NRI who comes to India to participate in a desi wedding — she does this by singing a song that goes: ‘Mumbai ki na dilliwalon ki, Pinky hai paise wallon ki’. And then there’s the arch-villain Teja, played by Prakash Raj. His introduction scene has him lording over a lavish meal with fellow criminals. He says: ‘Chicken aur chicks, the two miaows of life’. No actor can survive a train-wreck like this.
Ramcharan is a superstar in Telugu cinema. I haven’t seen any of those films but here he works with just two expressions. Besides, director Apoorva Lakhia seems more interested in his bulging muscles.
Priyanka, obviously forgetting that she’s a National Award-winning actor, goes into a wide-eyed, cute act, which will make you cringe. And then there’s poor Mahie Gill as the legendary moll Mona. She mostly purrs while Teja says lines like: ‘Mona darling, apna mooh sirf ek hi cheez ke liye khola karo’.
The best thing in Zanjeer are Teja’s amazingly gaudy outfits — at one point, he’s wearing a purple suit. That’s what I was looking forward to in every scene.