Zanjeer (1973 film)
|Directed by||Prakash Mehra|
|Produced by||Prakash Mehra Productions|
|Story by||Salim Khan|
|Edited by||R. Mahadik|
|Distributed by||Prakash Mehra Productions|
Baba Digital Media
|May 11, 1973|
|Box office||₹17.46 crore ($22.33 million)|
Zanjeer (English: Chains) is a 1973 Indian crime action film, written by Salim-Javed (mostly by Salim Khan, with assistance from Javed Akhtar), directed and produced by Prakash Mehra, and starring Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Pran, Ajit and Bindu. The film changed Hindi cinema's trend from romance films to crime action films, and pioneered Bachchan's new image of a brooding but explosive person who fights back when cornered, known as "The Angry Young Man."
The film started a new wave in Bollywood. At a time when India was suffering from corruption and low economic growth, and the common man was left with frustration and anger over the system, Zanjeer began shifting Hindi cinema in a violent and aggressive direction. Reflecting the anger of the masses, Amitabh Bachchan was seen as the new hero, who had the courage to fight against the wrongs while maintaining moral values at the same time. This film also ended the struggling period for Bachchan, and turned him into a rising star. The film was a blockbuster success, domestically in India and overseas in the Soviet Union.
It was the first of many collaborations between screenwriter duo Salim-Javed and Amitabh Bachchan. Ever since Zanjeer, Salim-Javed wrote many of their subsequent scripts with Bachchan in mind for the lead role, and insisted on him being cast for their later films, including blockbusters such as Deewaar (1975) and Sholay (1975), establishing Bachchan as a superstar. In addition to being a turning point for Bachchan's career and Hindi cinema, Zanjeer was also a turning point for South Indian cinema, with Bachchan's acting inspiring future Tamil film star Rajinikanth. Zanjeer remains an important film in the history of Indian cinema and is regarded as a classic today.
The film opens on Diwali with the murder of young Vijay Khanna's parents, committed by a man of unknown identity with a white horse on his charm bracelet, "zanjeer". Because of this traumatic event, Vijay has recurring nightmares of a white stallion. Even as a child Vijay stays socially awkward and stays away from the other kids, showing the audience that he believes himself to be alone. Fast forward 20 years, and Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) is now an inspector, an honest police officer in a town where few are just. He receives complaints about a local man, Sher Khan (Pathan) (Pran), who is running gambling dens. When he calls Khan in for questioning, Khan's superiority complex chafes against Khanna's police authority, as he scolds the officer, telling him he only orders him around due to the uniform he wears. Vijay takes him up on his challenge, and meets him in street clothes to fight him. At fight's end, Sher Khan not only closes his gambling dens, but has gained respect for Vijay. He becomes an auto mechanic, and reforms his ways.
Various dealings of the underworld continue unabated throughout the town, all tracing back to gang leader Teja (Ajit Khan). A mysterious caller continually phones Inspector Khanna to inform him exactly when a crime is about to take place, but hangs up before Khanna can extract any more information out of him. When a traffic accident perpetrated by gang members leaves several children dead, a witness, a street performer named Mala (Jaya Bhaduri), is bribed by Teja's men to keep quiet. When she is questioned by Vijay, he becomes enraged at her denying she knows anything, and, to sway her differently, takes her into the morgue to view the mangled bodies of the children. She has a change of heart, and comes clean, asking that the bribe be donated to an orphanage. She identifies the man behind the traffic accident.
Once it is known that Mala has broken her word, Teja's men come after her. She is chased through the night, narrowly escaping across the train tracks, and coming to Inspector Khanna's house, desperate for shelter. He lets her in, allows her to stay, and the two discover that they are both orphans, and discuss the fears associated with living alone. Khanna kindly takes her to his brother and sister-in-law, and, under the sister-in-law's tutelage, Mala begins to learn how to keep house, as well as English, and other refinements.
Eventually, Vijay is framed for bribery, stripped of his title and position as inspector, and jailed for 6 months on false charges, trapped by Teja. When he is released from jail, he plans to take revenge. Mala, by this time, has developed from a frightened stranger seeking his help to a romantic interest for him. She begs him, to seal their relationship, that he must stop being so vengeful. He agrees, but soon must come to terms with such a promise when he meets, in a Christian cemetery, the informant who had called him in the past when he was an inspector. The man, De Silva (Om Prakash), appears half-insane, holding onto an empty bottle. He says that on Christmas several years before, his three sons drank poisoned moonshine, and died from it. Until the killer is found, he will continue to wander with the bottle. When local criminals mocked him and called him crazy, he vowed to get back at them as he could: by phoning the inspector when a crime was about to happen.
After hearing this news, Vijay becomes depressed, torn between his desire to help the grieving De Silva, and his need to keep his promise to Mala that he would not take any more revenge on the lowlifes of the town. Eventually, along with a concerted effort by Sher Khan to cheer up Vijay, Mala relents, vowing she will not try to control him, and says he must do what is right.
The trail of tainted moonshine leads back to Teja and his men. Upon finally cornering the crook on Diwali, fireworks bursting overhead, Vijay also finds out that the person who murdered his parents, 20 years before, on the same night, is Teja, recognisable by the zanjeer on his wrist. Sher Khan helps him to fight Teja and his men, and take justice into their own hands, until the police arrive. When the hapless police inspector is held at gunpoint by Teja, Vijay manages to drop to retrieve a pistol from the ground, and shoots him dead, his body falling into the swimming pool.
|Amitabh Bachchan||Insp. Vijay Khanna||Protagonist|
|Pran||Sher Khan (Pathan)|
|Om Prakash||De Silva|
|Ajit||Seth Dharam Dayal Teja||Antagonist|
|Iftekhar||Police Commissioner Singh||as Iftikhar|
|Keshto Mukherjee||Gangu||as Kesto Mukherji|
|Randhir||Lala Ashok||Sherkhan's friend - Usurer|
|M. Rajan||Ranjeet||Vijay's father|
|Purnima Das Verma||Sumitra||Vijay's mother|
|Nandita Thakur||Shanti Bhabhi|
|Satyendra Kapoor||Police Inspector||as Satyen Kappoor|
|Ashalata Wabgaonkar||Police Inspector's wife||Vijay's stepmother (as Asha Lata)|
|Gulshan Bawra||Street Singer||Song Deewane Hain|
|Sanjana||Street Dancer||Song Deewane Hain|
|Amrit Pal||Man offered 'Sher Khan'
money to kill
|as Amrit Paul|
|Bhushan Tiwari||Smuggler, Teja's man||as Bhooshan Tiwari|
|Javed Khan||Smuggler, Teja's man||as Khan|
|Ranvir Raj||Smuggler, Teja's man||as Ranbir|
|Krishan Dhawan||Smuggler, Teja's man||as Dhawan|
|Mac Mohan||Man caught in Teja's
|as Mack Mohan|
|D. K. Sapru||Patil||as Sapru|
|Goga Kapoor||Goga||as Goga|
The film's story, script and screenplay were written by Salim Khan, who also conceived the "angry young man" persona of Vijay, played by Amitabh Bachchan. After Khan completed the script, Khan shared the credit with Javed Akhtar, as the screenwriting duo Salim-Javed.
Zanjeer was written as a crime film with violent action, and the main character Vijay was conceived as a hard-hitting, ‘angry with the system’ young man. At a time when Hindi cinema was dominated by romance films with "romantic hero" leads, Prakash Mehra saw the script as potentially groundbreaking and came on board as the film's director. However, they were struggling to find an actor for the lead "angry young man" role, which was turned down by a number of actors due to it going against their "romantic hero" image; at the time, the industry was dominated by the "King of Romance" Rajesh Khanna and similar "romantic hero" actors. The role of the lead was first offered to many leading men of the time, including Raaj Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra, and Dev Anand, all of whom turned down the offer. Eventually, it went to a newcomer, Amitabh Bachchan, and established his career.
Salim-Javed were responsible for discovering and casting Bachchan. At the time, Bachchan was a "failed newcomer" who, by the age of 30, had twelve flops and only two hits (as a lead in Bombay to Goa and supporting role in Anand). According to Javed Akhtar, they "saw his talent, which most makers didn’t. He was exceptional, a genius actor who was in films that weren’t good." According to Bachchan, Salim-Javed were close to Rajesh Khanna and could've convinced him to play the role, but they instead opted for the unknown Bachchan. According to Salim Khan, they "strongly felt that Amitabh was the ideal casting for Zanjeer". Bachchan stated, “Salim-Javed saw a fight sequence in Bombay to Goa where I was chewing gum throughout the fight, as an indicator that I would be the right choice for Zanjeer.” Salim Khan was responsible for introducing Bachchan to Mehra.
For the female lead, Mumtaz was initially offered the role. However, she was engaged at the time, and opted out, choosing marriage over career. Jaya Bhaduri, who was engaged to Bachchan at the time, immediately agreed to take the role, for the sake of her future husband.
For the film's promotion, the posters of Zanjeer initially did not have the names of Salim-Javed on them. Salim-Javed hired a man with a jeep to drive around and paint "Salim-Javed" in stencil font on all the Zanjeer posters from Juhu to Opera House. However, the man was sometimes drunk, which led to him painting "Salim-Javed" on the wrong places, such as Pran's face or Bachchan's hands, for some posters.
- Director: Prakash Mehra
- Writer: Salim-Javed (Salim Khan, Javed Akhtar)
- Producer: Prakash Mehra, Babboo Mehra
- Production Company: Prakash Mehra Productions
- Editor: Ramchandra Mahadik (as R.D. Mahadik)
- Art Director: J. J. Bhende
- Cinematographer: N. Satyen
- Stunts: Ravi Khanna, Virendra Kumar
- Costume and Wardrobe: Vasant Mahajan, Shankar Jadhav
- Choreographer: Satyanarayan
- Music Director: Kalyanji Anandji
- Lyricist: Gulshan Bawra, Prakash Mehra (Dil jalon ka dil jala ke)
- Playback Singers: Asha Bhosle, Manna Dey, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi
|Song Title||Singers||Length( Minutes: Seconds)|
|Bana Ke Kyon Bigada Re||Lata Mangeshkar||3:25|
|Chakku Chhuriyan Tej Kara Lo||Asha Bhosle||3:45|
|Deewane Hai Deewanon Ko||Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar||4:35|
|Dil Jalon Ka Dil Jala Ke||Asha Bhosle||3:55|
|Yari Hai Imaan Mera||Manna Dey||6:20|
With a total domestic Indian gross revenue of ₹6 crore in 1973, including a nett collection of ₹3 crore, the film was declared a "Super Hit" according to Box Office India. This was equivalent to a domestic gross of US$7.75 million in 1973,[n 1] or US$43 million (₹282 crore) in 2016.
It was also an overseas blockbuster at the Soviet box office, where it drew an audience of 37.3 million viewers in 1980. Its overseas gross in the Soviet Union amounted to 9.325 million SUR (US$14.58 million, ₹11.46 crore), equivalent to US$43 million (₹282 crore) in 2016.[n 5]
Worldwide, the film grossed a total of ₹17.46 crore ($22.33 million). Adjusted for inflation, its worldwide gross is equivalent to ₹564 crore ($84 million) in 2016.
Awards and nominations
- Filmfare Best Story Award - Salim-Javed
- Filmfare Best Screenplay Award - Salim-Javed 
- Filmfare Best Lyricist Award - Gulshan Bawra for the song "Yari Hai Imaan Mera"
- Filmfare Best Editing Award - R. Mahadik
- Filmfare Nomination for Best Film
- Filmfare Nomination for Best Actor - Amitabh Bachchan
- Filmfare Nomination for Best Supporting Actor - Pran
- Filmfare Nomination for Best Music - Kalyanji Anandji
- Filmfare Nomination for Best Male Playback Singer - Manna Dey for the song "Yari Hai Imaan Mera"
Sequels and remakes
|1974||Nippulanti Manishi||Telugu||N. T. Rama Rao, Kaikala Satyanarayana, Latha||S. D. Lal|
|1974||Sirithu Vazha Vendum||Tamil||M. G. Ramachandran, Latha||S. S. Balan|
|1980||Naayattu||Malayalam||Jayan, Prem Nazir||Sreekumaran Thampi|
|2013||Zanjeer||Hindi||Ram Charan, Priyanka Chopra||Apoorva Lakhia|
A remake, with the same name, released on 6 September 2013. Zanjeer featuring Ram Charan Teja as Vijay, Priyanka Chopra as Mala, Sanjay Dutt as Sher Khan, Prakash Raj as Teja, Mahi Gill as Mona, Ankur Bhatia as Bosco, and Atul Kulkarni. Priyanka Chopra contracted the film for 90 million indian rupee turning her the highest paid Indian actress. The film is also simultaneously shot in Telugu titled Toofan, featuring the same cast except Srihari replaces Sanjay Dutt as Sher Khan, and Tanikella Bharani replaces Atul Kulkarni.
- 7.7420 Indian rupees per US dollar in 1973
- 37.3 million tickets sold, average ticket price of 25 kopecks
- 0.6395 Soviet rubles per US dollar in 1980
- 7.8629 Indian rupees per US dollar in 1980
- Zanjeer in Soviet Union: 9.325 million SUR[n 2] (US$14.58 million,[n 3] ₹11.46 crore)[n 4] in 1980 (US$43 million or ₹282 crore in 2016)
- Lal, Vinay; Nandy, Ashis (2006). Fingerprinting Popular Culture: The Mythic and the Iconic in Indian Cinema. Oxford University Press. p. 77. ISBN 0195679180.
- "Deewaar was the perfect script: Amitabh Bachchan on 42 years of the cult film". Hindustan Times. 29 January 2017.
- "Revisiting Prakash Mehra's Zanjeer: The film that made Amitabh Bachchan". The Indian Express. 20 June 2017.
- "Why Salim Khan was angry with Amitabh Bachchan". The Times of India. 13 December 2013.
- "Casting chronicle: One's miss is another's hit". India Today. Retrieved 2014-05-05.
- Khan, Salim; Sukumaran, Shradha (14 August 2010). "Sholay, the Beginning". OPEN Magazine.
- 67.175856 INR per USD in 2016
- Sergey Kudryavtsev. "Зарубежные популярные фильмы в советском кинопрокате (Индия)".
- Moscow Prime Time: How the Soviet Union Built the Media Empire that Lost the Cultural Cold War, page 48, Cornell University Press, 2011
- Archive of Bank of Russia http://cbr.ru/currency_base/OldDataFiles/USD.xls
- "Best Screenplay Award". Filmfare Award Official Listings, Indiatimes. Retrieved April 28, 2014.
- 1st Filmfare Awards 1953
- "Priyanka becomes highest paid Indian Actress". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 14 April 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012.