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NANDINI KRISHNAN
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Replete with clichés

7th Sep 2013

Zanjeer

Director: Apoorva Lakhia

Starring: Ram Charan Teja, Priyanka Chopra, Prakash Raj, Sanjay Dutt

I'm not a fan of Amitabh Bachchan, and even less a fan of remakes of his films. So, I thought I was prepared for Zanjeer 2013. I was to discover that no one can be prepared for two and a half hours of uninterrupted idiocy. This film doesn't just require us to leave our brains behind. It requires us to starve for a day and leave every sensory organ at home to avoid any sort of mishap at the cinemas.

The film opens with women writhing, stretching, gyrating and feeling chains up as if they were the answer to all life's wantonness – yes, yes, we got the laboured wordplay on the title, like, 40 years ago. Can we please move on now? It turns out we can't. Ram Charan Teja's grand entry as police officer Vijay Khanna is replete with clichés, starting with the tribute to Chrianjeevi and passing through the soundtrack to his dishoom-dishoom, Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram.

This time round, the action begins in Andhra Pradesh, where Vijay has been shunted around 17 times. He is transferred again, to Mumbai, where he must take on oil mafia slime Teja (Prakash Raj). When prominent Tamil actors go to Bollywood, they do what prominent Hindi actors do in Hollywood – take on one-dimensional bit roles and make fools of themselves. Here, Prakash Raj mimics a cat every time he wants to get a piece of his Mona (Mahie Gill).

Even more cringe-inducing are the leery jokes – "Chicks and chicken are the two big meows in life", he says – and the item numbers. And we haven't even got to Priyanka Chopra's role yet. Apparently, doing one Disney voiceover and sexually assaulting Pitbull has made her a full-blown American, and she returns as the Gujju NRI. Taking off from where her Exotic left off, Chopra spends most of the film making orgasmic faces – except when she's trying to be bubblier than cheap soda. Completing the cast are Sanjay Dutt as Sher Khan (why on earth is he still making films, after all that going-to-jail drama?) and Atul Kulkarni as what can only be described as a caricature of journalist Jyotirmoy Dey (down to his name, Jaidev).

The terrible acting was no surprise, but it's downright annoying when a director assumes a remake will run on its own merit. At no point do we feel any empathy for the characters or story. Worse, at no point are even entertained.

The Verdict: Even without comparison to the original, this film is abysmal.

 
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