‘Zanjeer’ is just what a remake should be.
The new ‘Zanjeer’ opens up the original plot, weeds out the humbug and preserves the core of the revenge saga of an angry cop whose ire grows progressively higher as the plot moves through a series of cleverly conceived conflicts that accentuate his alienation from his khaki-coloured line of duty.
No one can do to the sullen cop’s role what Mr. Bachchan did. But yes, even in his new avatar, Inspector Vijay Khanna seethes, simmers and boils over with an indignant rage. Everything about the festering rotten ‘system’ makes him annoyed and churlish.
Since ‘Zanjeer’, and its more serious-toned country cousin ‘Ardh Satya’, numerous cops have vented their cinematic spleen in films as far-ranging in quality as ‘Singham’ and ‘Policegiri’.
What makes Vijay Khanna in the new ‘Zanjeer’ special is the plot-mechanics which put him in time-worn situations, but subject him to dramatic dynamics that give the prototypical Angry Cop a renewed riveting life of violent score-settling.
That this time the Angry Cop, who was played with such compelling candidness by Amitabh Bachchan in the original ‘Zanjeer’, is played by Ram Charan Teja is just a huge stroke of luck for the remake. Ram Charan brings in an entirely unique brand of silent satyagraha to his character. When we first see him on screen, he wallops a goonda-politician on a busy road of Hyderabad as a hoarding of Ram Charan’s father Chiranjeevi’s film looks down on the chaotic scene.
A version of ‘Raghupati raghav…’ plays in the background as Ram Charan lets us know without wasting time, that he means business.
Playing Mala, Priyanka Chopra seems to have a whole lot of infectious fun. Priyanka is the comic relief in this fast-paced actioner where fists and the background point out an ominous warning.
Sanjay Dutt steps splendidly into Pran’s part. His sequences, though limited by the actor’s physical unavailability, show the sensitive side to his aggressive personality. The bonding between Ram Charan and Dutt comes across as effectively as the one between Ram Charan and Priyanka and Prakash Raj and Mahie Gill.
Throughout the film, we sense the director’s immense affection for the original ‘Zanjeer’, a reverence that never clouds his judgement.
This is one remake that stands tall and lithe. It is manned by a manful supply of action and yet manages to keep the machismo understated.
Ram Charan Teja makes an impressive Bollywood debut. We can safely say he is the man among the boys.