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Home / Entertainment / Zanjeer and unshackling of the angry young man

Zanjeer and unshackling of the angry young man

Zanjeer laid the foundation of Amitabh Bachchan's Angry Young Man persona that made him a “one-man industry”
Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri in a scene from Zanjeer

Sulagana Biswas   |   Published 09.05.19, 04:22 PM

Yeh police station hai tumhare baap ka ghar nahi.

A boy’s parents get murdered. All he can see is a white horse dangling from the bracelet on the killer’s hand. Bang, bang, his world explodes. Outside, the world is celebrating Diwali.

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This boy grows up to be inspector Vijay (lanky Amitabh Bachchan with eyes so intense that they hurt), a cop with serious anger management issues who sees the white horse in his nightmares. His girlfriend? Mala (Jaya Bhaduri, the bigger star then), a gypsy girl who sharpens knives for a living, and before her conscience is rattled, is okay with hush money. His best friend? Sher Khan, a Pathan who’s a reformed crook (the versatile Pran). His phone-a-friend? Police informer D’Silva (Om Prakash as sad and shadowy). His arch enemy? Dharamdayal Teja, a respectable industrialist with a shady business empire (suave Ajit, never better) and a moll in beehive hairdos named Mona (the fantastic Bindu). His frenemy? A drunk (laugh-riot Kesto Mukherjee with a twist).

Nothing in Zanjeer, Prakash Mehra’s best film that released 46 years ago in May is conventional, except that age-old niggle — a spunky girl, Mala in this case, tamed by love.

But, you have a hero who goes all dark and twisty, unlike the pretty boys and good-natured men with mannerisms. Zanjeer laid the foundation of Big B’s Angry Young Man persona that made him a “one-man industry”. It made heroes out of writers Salim (Khan)-Javed (Akthar). It had a tender moment, Deewane hain, deewano ko na ghar chahiye (Kalyanji-Anandji in fine fettle), where eyes do the talking. Most important, Zanjeer said it was okay to be angry. Post-Independence idealism was dated, people were angry that the country’s creamy layer could milk a corrupt system to fatten themselves. Salim-Javed tapped into this anger to come up with a hero who could take on this system, a good cop who wasn’t goody-two-shoes, who used his fists to talk and skated on thin ice. Superstar Rajesh Khanna didn’t realise the ice cracked where he stood.



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