Radhika Rajamani says that it is better to watch Thoofan, the Telugu remake of Zanjeer as a separate film on account of its contemporary theme rather than compare it with the cult Zanjeer.
There has been plenty of talk and controversy ever since the remake of the cult film Zanjeer was announced. It was not just the fact that it was a remake of an iconic Hindi film, but that it was also made in Telugu to cash in on the Telugu star Ram Charan.
The Telugu version, Thoofan, is much like the Hindi version with the added presence of Telugu actor Srihari reprising Sher Khan’s role.
Comparisons are inevitable, but it would be better to view Thoofan as a separate film rather than compare it with the original.
The basic premise, plot and names of characters are retained as in the original. The contemporary touch is making the oil mafia the bad guys.
ACP Vijay Khanna (Ram Charan), an honest, aggressive and impetuous cop is transferred several times as he locks horns with the powers that be. After one incident, where he beats up a minister in Hyderabad, he is transferred to Mumbai and is initially asked to investigate the murder of a deputy collector called Sathe by the oil mafia he was tracking.
Mala (Priyanka Chopra), who is visiting India for a friend’s marriage, happens to be a witness to Sathe’s horrific death.
Vijay befriends Sher Khan (Srihari), a Pathan with a good heart. When Vijay comes to know that the kingpin of the oil mafia is Teja (Prakash Raj) he confronts him but Teja is quick to get him suspended. Vijay also seeks the help of journalist Jay Dev (Tanikella Bharani).
As in the original, Vijay is haunted by the horse dream. But Mala’s character is not anything like the chaaku-churiwali played by Jaya Bachchan.
Sher Khan’s role in Thoofan lacks the depth and intensity it had in the original, immortalised by Pran.
Actor Ajit played a menacing Teja and the bracelet with the horse that he wore and the whole horse imagery was haunting and powerful in Zanjeer. Thoofan has the same imagery but it is less powerful.
Prakash Raj looks very different as the don. And Ajit’s ‘Mona Darling’ dialogues, that were a huge hit in the original Zanjeer, are not the same here as the magic is absent between Teja and Mona (Mahie Gill) in Thoofan.
Thoofan’s main drawback is the screenplay. To make it fast paced, it seems a lot of loopholes were not plugged properly.
The action sequences are well orchestrated. The production values are above average given the scale and magnitude of the film.
The director Apoorva Lakhia has tried to pay a worthy tribute to the original, but his film does not have the same impact. He’s given the Telugu film a more Hindi touch, treatment, and feel.
Ram Charan’s angry cop is more like a brooding cop, with stock expressions. He is good in a few scenes and has done the action ones well.
One expected a lot more from Priyanka Chopra, but she is just about okay and good in the songs.
The rest of the cast is adequate.
Even if you watch Thoofan as it is, and not compare it with the original Zanjeer, you may find it runs short of expectations and lacks soul.