Shahid: A Super strong film which grabs you and never lets you go….

Hansal Mehta, the director of Shahid was on a sabbatical, I guess. Why, isn’t difficult to guess. He was delivering one bad film after another. And then he returns all charged. If this is the result of all that soul searching, then I suggest he share his secret with Ram Gopal Varma pronto. For me, it is extremely important to analyse the maker and the circumstances which led him to make a film like these because such films are extremely difficult to make and even more difficult to find a commercial release.

But Oh boy, am I glad or what that Shahid found a release for itself. It is a riveting film which delivers a solid punch at the end of it all. Shahid is the story of noted criminal lawyer Shahid Azmi who was nothing short of a messiah for individuals wrongly accused of crimes and branded terrorists. In a career spanning 7 years, Shaid secured 17 acquittals. Which is an unbeatable achievement considering the slow pace of Indian judiciary and for this reason alone, his story had to be told. But what led Shahid on his quest for justice was the 7 years he spent in Tihar jail before he was acquitted as the police clearly did not have a shred of evidence against him.

This led him to decide to save others from a fate like his and he lost his life,but never gave up on his principals. And the film narrates it as it is and this ensures you are gripped from start to end, which isn’t really easy while making a bio pic.

One of the key strengths of Shahid is its fantastic music score. This helps to accentuate several scenes and takes the drama a notch higher. The performances are all uniformly terrific. Rajkumar as Shahid is perfect. Kay Kay Menon in a small role leaves an unforgettable impression and Mohd Zeeshan Ayub as Shahid’s brother is very very good. The girl playing Shahid’s wife Maryam left me stunned in some of her scenes.

It is not everyday that I come out of a film trying to find faults, but not able to find any. The pace, the dialogues and every other aspect is bang on.

If films are your first love, Go watch Shahid before it is taken off theaters. As Shahid says never give up on justice. ” Der lagti hai, par ho jaata hai”.




Zanjeer- Renaissance of Ultra Corny Remakes…..

I have lately turned into a sucker for Bachchan remakes. Blame it on Farhan Akhtar and Shahrukh Khan. They started the trend and whipped up a delicious remake of one of Bachchan’s cult films-Don. That was followed by a ho hum remake of Agneepath which rose above average purely on Hrithik’s charisma and Sanjay Dutt’s menace along with a fresh new meanie in the form of Rishi Kapoor. And then comes along Zanjeer. This also features Sanjay Dutt doing his bit to make the film at-least palatable. But Zanjeer is a shocker of a film. Wondering why I spoke of the other remakes? Simply because all three Bachchan remakes featured him as Vijay and while comparing this Zanjeer to the original would be nothing short of Blasphemy, I decided to compare it to the remakes and there too it ranks no better and would surely be featuring in this year’s hall of shame. The only reason it is not topping that list is thanks to a certain Mr. Sajid Khan and his epic Himmatwala.

Coming back to Zanjeer, the very idea of adapting it to the current scenario was all good. Giving it a fresh treatment must have seemed a really cool idea. Although I am not much a fan of the original, but it can be safely said that this was a film which spawned an entire genre in itself and what Bachchan is today is because of this film. Alas, Ram Charan Teja will not be able to boast of any similar accomplishment. Now the guy is not a bad actor. I have seen most of his Telegu films and he has achieved unfathomable success in his films down south. But those are films of a different genre. They let a hero be a hero. He gets to sing, dance, romance, fight and crack jokes. Here saddled with a permanent scowl on his face, he is clearly at a loss and doesn’t really know what to do. Giving him company is Priyanka Chopra who seems to have decided that she will sign every Bachchan remake, however inconsequential her role may be.

Honestly speaking I wasn’t expecting much from this film. All I had hoped for was some cracking action and a couple of witty dialogues. Alas, the film did not even manage to do that. Eevry character in Zanjeer has attained a cult status and casting caricatures like Prakash Raj as Ajit, Mahie Gill as Mona and least of all, Sanjay Dutt as Pran seems to be the biggest blunder of all. The best part about the film is probably Atul Kulkarni and he just has 21/2 scenes in the whole film.

I wouldn’t really like to elaborate on the story part as clearly this film like its original is bereft on one. While that one ran on the kinetic energy of Amitabh and spontaneity of Jaya Bachchan, this one runs on buffoonery. Subtlety has never been Apoorva Lkahia’s forte and except for a remarkable Shootout at Lokhandwala, all his other films have been trash. Now add Zanjeer to the list. I would clearly like tro consider Shootout as strict aberration as he has continued his string of disasters since then.

Nothing at all works for the film. Blaring sound accompanies every time Dutt walks in, a cacophonous Raghupati Raghav plays a couple of times during the film for no rhyme or reason and lastly replacing gambling with car dealing and adding issues like oil smuggling doesnt really qualify as a tribute. Where is the research? Clearly the team believes the only way of stopping illegal oil smuggling is blowing up the place and the way it is blown up is hilariously funny. Lakhia I suspect doesn’t really believe in half measures.

Clearly targeted at the masses,this is a film which would have done bumper business if a Salman Khan had played Vijay, but that very If is what is going to fail this film. Because it needs a superstar to make a stupid film work which is why I believe this will be a blockbuster in Andhra Pradesh where Ram Charan Teja is bigger than most of the superstars.

But on my list, this ranks as one of the worst remakes ever made. And it will really take some skills and guts to beat this. And in case you were wondering all this while, I do NOT consider Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag as a remake of Sholay. Zanjeer atleast had the intent right,sadly it did not have the vision to execute it.

My Rating- 1/5