Cast: Ram Charan Teja, Priyanka Chopra, Mahie Gill, Prakash Raj
Director: Apoorva Lakhia
What’s it about
Ram Charan Teja had big shoes to fill when he decided to take on the remake to Prakash Mehra’s 1973 smash hit Zanjeer. A film that gave Amitabh Bachchan the ‘angry young man’ title and paved the way for a generation of film makers wanting to imitate and aspire to replicate the sentiment of a young police officer who puts an end to crime and cleans up the system. Vijay (Ram Charan) is a honest police officer who faces the brunt of his superiors for wanting to fight corruption and expose the oil mafia. In charge of a case he stumbles upon Mala (Priyanka Chopra), the witness who he ends up protecting and romancing. Teja (Prakash Raj) is the head of the oil mafia with a Mona (Mahie) as his bimbo seductress. Wanting to cash in on the remake craze, Lakhia uses every trick in his book to make this one watchable. But does he succeed?
The action scenes, especially the introductory fight encounter between Teja and Dutt is well choreographed. The background score is over the top, yet it brings in the right amount of drama when required. Ram Charan is earnest in his approach and oozes the right amount of confidence especially when he’s standing next to senior actors. Priyanka’s bubbly act has some enjoyable moments, but we wish she put a restraint order on those giggles! Pinky song comes in early but has an infectious beat and is well shot.
Zanjeer struggles to find its own ground. The first half is a land mine of unnecessary songs and hackneyed dialogues that seem written for an audience for a different era. Whenever Lakhia tries to create a reference point to the original or recreate a moment, the initiative falls flat. It’s not just originality but also lack of novelty that mars the film from being anything but ordinary. Prakash Raj needs a break from playing the same roles where his accent and bulging eyes do the rehearsed cha cha cha routine. Mahie Gill’s Mona looks like a Comedy Circus aspirant who never made it to the finale. Priyanka and Ram Charan’s chemistry takes a back beating as one goes overboard with emoting while the other underplays it beyond belief.
What to do
Zanjeer doesn’t hold a candle to the original, instead it feels like a modern day adaptation of a yet another cop drama.