Each time a remake strikes be it in Hindi or Telugu, expectations soar, comparisons are drawn and the cast and crew are crucified and seen as murderers of a classic. A remake can be good, bad or ugly but one should strictly remember it is not made for the ‘grey’ heads and the brand new concoction is for this generation which has either missed out on the original or want to see their favourite actor in the protagonist’s shoes.
Ram Charan makes his Bollywood debut when he has done just a handful of films. Risk it is — definitely because he could have played around with many stories in a safe territory. Remember his father made his Hindi debut after being reasonably established, when not really young, and also at a time when his success or debacle would have hardly mattered to him. Ram is known for his dances but again not choosing to be a dancing star, he chose a cop story and a remake that is touted as a safe bet.
The Telugu version of Zanjeer, Thoofan is handled with kid gloves. Lakhia takes care the histrionics are toned, the frills absolutely minimal but when he could have Prakash Raj and Srihari play equally important roles why didn’t he choose a South girl to play the bimbette for the Telugu version?
Synopsis first. ACP Vijay Khanna (Ram Charan) takes on the oil mafia after having been transferred 22 times. People who tried to gather proof against the mafia are mercilessly burnt or shot. Mala (Priyanka Chopra), a witness, escapes and after initial trepidation finds shelter and comfort in Vijay’s arms. As the battle progresses, Vijay realises he is close to seeking personal vendetta as well. It is a serious story with no place for jokes but Prakash Raj as Teja, the mafia chief provides the comedy quotient. The jokes are no innuendos, the banter is completely sexual in nature and the man who is supposed to project an intimidating look plays a buffoon too displaying his weakness for moll Mona (Mahie Gill) and Mona too for the Nth time plays a nymphomaniac to the hilt. You can’t stop but smirk when an aide interrupts Teja and Mona when they are getting cosy and Teja retorts, “Yerra, inthaka mundhu nuvv censor board lo pani chesaava?” Srihari as Sher Khan, the Pathan does his job easily but one wishes the rapport between him and the ACP could have been established properly before they are shown turning friends. Teja’s abode is palatial but the interiors are straight from a substandard guest house.
Priyanka Chopra comes with a fringe and a childish behaviour. She plays an NRI whose character you’d love to forget. A lead character uses the word ‘bore dhobbi’, sad that such vocabulary is being used in a casual manner and is allowed to get away with. Thoofan is synonymous with rage, if only Ram Charan had shown more intensity and fire in his eyes, he would have passed muster. The film has been sharply edited and cinematography is reasonably good. Dialogues don’t elevate the story and the lack of emotion becomes very visible as and when a flashback of a traumatic childhood appears intermittently, the cop appears cool, callous and not driven to score a point. Also the director brings in a song at an inappropriate place. When a family is shot, and there is loneliness and all things wrong surrounding you, there must be a strong expression – a look or a baritone that justifies violence. This storm is likely to settle fast.
Cast: Ram Charan, Priyanka Chopra
Direction: Apoorva Lakhia
Music: Anand Raj Anand
Plot: A young cop locks horns with a mafia don
Bottomline: Storm or a dust?