Apoorva Lakhia's Zanjeer has many similarities to its four-decade old namesake Prakash Mehra's Zanjeer (1973) that breathed fire and brimstone. The original film earned Amitabh Bachchan the epithet 'angry young man' and made him world-famous. The 2013 action thriller brings Andhra icon Chiranjeevi's son, Ram Charan (also an Andhra superstar) to Bollywood. It retains the key plot points and the main characters are rechristened Vijay (Ram Charan), Mala ( Priyanka Chopra), Sher Khan (Sanjay Dutt), Teja (Prakash Raj) and Mona (Mahie Gill) just like the original.
this film should be judged as a stand-alone offering because attempts to compare the two versions will find the current one falling short, especially in the dialogue and music departments. Nostalgia happens when some original dialogue like 'Yeh police station hai, tere baap ka ghar nahi' and 'Sher Khan beimaani ka dhanda bhi imaandari se karta hai' are uttered.
To reprise the plot, Zanjeer is the story of an idealistic cop, Vijay Khanna, wanting to bring criminals to the book. Set in Andhra Pradesh, the initial part sets the stage for how dons and ministers have more clout with and within the administration, than an honest policeman.
The film doesn’t waste any time in establishing its terribleness – while the 1973 original opened with a gritty scene at a police station, Lakhia’s remake opens with a wannabe James Bond number with females clad in S&M costumes, lasciviously touching chains (to modernise the Zanjeer innuendo) and writhing in orgasmic pleasure. In the original Amitabh Bachchan makes a low key entry as he wakes up from a nightmare (he probably dreamed about Priyanka Chopra in the remake, but more on that later). In this film, our hero Ram Charan makes an entry with a large establishing shot of his dad Chiranjeevi and beats up gundas as ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’ blares in the background. People look on, nodding their heads to the rhythm and applauding. Yeah, real subtle. Lakhia isn’t interested respecting Prakash Mehra; he is just hell bent on assaulting the audience with an endless array of cheap jokes, gratuitous violence, generic item songs, unpleasant characters in garish costumes and a deluge of bad acting. In one scene, Prakash Raj licks his lips and says “Chicken and chicks are the two meows of life”. In another, a little boy at a hospital asks a policeman, “Uncle mere daddy kahan gaye?”, despite his daddy lying next to him, burnt to char. This film is not merely cacophonous; it is spiteful, as if Lakhia wants to lace the cartoonish ‘Simbly South’ style of Rohit Shetty with the smutty Mumbaiyya masala of Sanjay Gupta. As a result, the tone of Zanjeer wavers from dreadfully unimaginative to smugly lazy.
Zanjeer
 
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