Remaking an old classic is difficult. Remaking the film that gave Amitabh Bachchan his status as the angry young man is a high standard to live up to. Director Apoorva Lakhia revives the ‘Zanjeer’ (1973) with Andhra superstar Chiranjeevi۪s son Ram Charan making his Bollywood debut. Before the film۪s release, questions were raised on whether Charan would live up to Bachchan۪s performance of Vijay. The key roles of the classic were kept the same with Mala (Priyanka Chopra), Sher Khan (Sanjay Dutt), Mona (Mahie Gill) and Teja (Prakash Raja). Trailers of the film had a mixture of Chopra۪s item number Pinky and dialogue trailers with fight scenes being predominant, promising a fast paced action packed film. The music had some success on the airwaves with Pinky, Mumbai Ke Hero and Lamha Tera Mera being played to give the audience a taste of the film.
ACP Vijay Khanna (Ram Charan) is the angry young man who can۪t seem to hold down a position and as a consequence, is moved from state to state due to his violent actions against criminals. He arrives in Mumbai under a cloud of 17 reassignments and is placed hot on the trail of oil mafia don Teja (Prakash Raja) after a man is burnt alive. Mala (Priyanka Chopra) is an NRI American girl who, being obsessed with Bollywood films, meets a friend on facebook and heads to India to experience an Indian wedding. In a case of being in the wrong place in the wrong time, Mala witnesses afore mentioned murder and ends up needing witness protection, in the form of living in ACP Vijay۪s house. Sher Khan (Sanjay Dutt) is reformed criminal who has now become car dealer and decides to aide Vijay in his quest to find Teja.
Considering that this is a remake of the 1970s classic, this film comes across as being rather ridiculous and out of sync with the times. The storyline is faithful to the classic but Charan۪s Bachchan-esque dialogues just come across as being cringe worthy and rather clich̩d. The plot just does not translate over to modern times. For example, Vijay and Sher Khan have a fight scene on first meeting which just comes across as comical with really over exaggerated fight scenes. However somewhat later on in the film, they are talking business whilst playing video games, how they got to this point is not explained at all.
Charan does desperately try to revive the role played by Bachchan but comes across as a half-hearted attempt. Dutt is at his best playing the reformed Sher Khan and it does seem that you need someone of his premise and prestige to be able to deliver threatening dialogues. In comparison, Charan comes across as being out of his depth. Raja plays an AL Capone like character of Teja and, again, instead of coming across as a serious threat, he makes the audience laugh in the ridiculous scenes he has been given. Probably the most grating of all characters is Chopra۪s Mala. She really has been miscast as Mala and where Jaya Bachchan۪s character in the classic was nave and vulnerable, Chopra comes across as childish and annoying. Chopra would have benefited from some directorial input so that her natural energy on screen was toned down to meet the role of classic Mala more closely.
Director Apoorva Lakhia has been brave in trying to revive this classic but it just does not translate in to this new version. Casting a new actor to play the infamous angry young man was risky and this risk does not quite pay off. It was a brave attempt, yet does not have a speck on the classic.
BizAsia Showbiz rating: 2/5