Remaking any cult classic is not an easy task, with humongous expectations right from its inception which, to be honest, would be unfair . So at the onset, lets take the modern day Zanjeer as a standalone film, because if we start drawing comparisons with the Prakash Mehra classic , the modern day Zanjeer would completely fall flat on its face. But contemptuously, even if you consider this Apoorva Lakhia flick as an independent film, its disconcerting because it ends up as an utterly ill conceived and irresponsible product.
Zanjeer retains the core plot of the original. ACP Vijay Khanna ( Ram Charan Teja), an irascible yet idealistic cop whose primary mission is to get the criminals bang on behind the bars. He gets transferred to Mumbai ( after 17 internal transfers in Andhra Pradesh), where he gets head on with Oil Mafia Gang led by Teja ( Prakash Raj). Mala (Priyanka Chopra), an American born desi gujarati girl who comes to Mumbai for her Facebook friend’s marriage plays her love interest, while Sher Khan ( Sanjay Dutt), becomes his die hard ally after initial confrontation over his unlicensed business.
Zanjeer begins with a bang, with an explosive entry of our brawny ACP and a well crafted action scene on the streets of Hyderabad. But what begins with a promise sorely loses track, once our hero shifts to Mumbai. Sketchy and undeveloped characters coupled with highly incongruous acts and abominable dialogues completely blotches the momentum. Nostalgic moments are strongly in undercurrent, when illustrious dialogues like “Yeh police station hai, tere baap ka ghar nahi’ and ‘Sher Khan beimaani ka dhanda bhi imaandari se karta hai’ are uttered.Sadly, you just cant connect with the eternal characters here, with the biggest blunder in the form of Prakash Raj, whose portrayal of arch villian Teja comes out as a complete buffoon act . His raunchy and bowdy dialogues (“Chicken aur chicks, the two miaows of life“) and gaudy outfits embezzles the elegance that Ajit delineated in the original. The screenplay lacks focus, with an under developed conflict between the two protagonists. The film completely begins to get to your nerves and you are exhausted to the core till the climax, which again, is poorly designed and doesn’t really give you any respite.
Ram Charan Teja is sincere, and comes across competently in the action scenes, though, he needs more polish and finesse. Priyanka Chopra dissapoints big time, with her annoying and frivolous act of an American desi girl. Sanjay Dutt looks bloated and old, and is completely sidelined, so as Atul Kulkarni, completely wasted in the role of a journalist. Mahie Gill is an absolute let down in the role of Mona darling.
Zanjeer is a colossal disappointment and a complete sacrilege to the original. Its one of those cases where it had everything going for it, but it just couldnt hold on to its merit as an independent action film.!