×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Zinda

Asiaphiles, and genre addicts in general, will get a kick out of "Zinda," a pedal-to-the-metal Bollywood crimer closely, uh, "inspired" by South Korean helmer Park Chan-wook's cult classic "Old Boy" (2003). Story of a guy hunting down the people who kept him locked in a cell for 14 years follows the broad trajectory -- and many of the details -- of the Korean pic.

With:
With: Sanjay Dutt, John Abraham, Lara Dutta, Mahesh Manjrekar, Celina Jaitley. (Hindi dialogue)

Asiaphiles, and genre addicts in general, will get a kick out of “Zinda,” a pedal-to-the-metal Bollywood crimer closely, uh, “inspired” by South Korean helmer Park Chan-wook’s cult classic “Old Boy” (2003). Story of a guy hunting down the people who kept him locked in a cell for 14 years follows the broad trajectory — and many of the details — of the Korean pic. However, it ditches most of its psychological niceties and dry humor, changes the big third-act revelation and often inventively riffs on setpieces. Very dark and violent by Bollywood standards, film performed moderately in its mid-January release.

Official remake rights to “Old Boy” were sold to Universal in 2004; the Vertigo Entertainment project has helmer Justin Lin (“Better Luck Tomorrow”) attached. While most of the dozen South Korean remakes still languish in development Stateside, Bollywood writer-helmer Sanjay Gupta, whose 2002 “Kaante” melded elements of “Reservoir Dogs” and “The Usual Suspects,” has stolen an unauthorized march.

Story is set in Bangkok, where software engineer Balajit Roy (Sanjay Dutt) has moved with his wife, Nisha (Celina Jaitley), to take a job arranged back in India. Soon after he’s celebrated his wedding anni by bullying his way into a restaurant with local friend Joy Fernandes (Mahesh Manjrekar), burly Bala suddenly disappears from the pier of his seaside home. Unknown to him, Nisha has just discovered she’s pregnant.

Bala wakes up in a cell-like room where he’s detained for 14 years on an exclusive diet of fried dumplings. Blue-tinted seg, with the passage of time shown by TV programs, is rapidly sketched, with Bala channeling his frustration by learning martial arts. Also from the TV, he learns he’s been framed for his wife’s brutal murder.

Waking up in a box atop a skyscraper, with just some money to get by on, Bala is told via an unknown voice on a cell phone to ask himself “why?” not “who?” Falling in with a sassy Hindi-speaking cabbie, Jenny Singh (Bollywood looker Lara Dutta), Bala heads for Chinatown to try every fried dumpling he can lay his hands on and get a clue as to his cell’s whereabouts.

Pic starts adding its own Bollywood-style riffs — and pure inventions — to the basic story, including a three-minute single take of Bala demolishing his nemesis’ hoods with a hammer. Unlike the balletic tracking sequence in “Old Boy,” this is a knock-down, drag-out affair, in keeping with Dutt’s perf as a tired, lumbering avenger, very different from Korean actor Choi Min-shik’s bemused antihero.

Later scenes, including a torture scene with Jenny, diverge considerably from “Old Boy,” as well as the final surprise arranged by Bala’s nemesis, Rohit (John Abraham).

Dutt, a familiar Bollywood baddie, is excellent here as the bearded, brutalized Bala, and Abraham, generally in decorative pin-up roles, is surprisingly effective as Rohit, especially in the final standoff. As the spunky cabbie, Dutta makes the most of her chances.

Desaturated colors give a relentlessly bleak look to the movie — lensed in Bangkok, Pattaya and India’s Pune studios. Lack of downtime, enhanced by Sanjoy Chowdry’s driving score, makes the running time seem even shorter than it is (by Bollywood standards). Song track, used only in montages, has an Indo-Pak pop flavor. “Zinda” literally means “Alive.”

Zinda

India

Production: A Sanjay Dutt/Nitin Manmohan presentation of a White Feather Films production. Produced by Sanjay Gupta. Executive producer, Gary Van Shipley. Directed by Sanjay Gupta. Screenplay, Suresh Nair, Gupta, Kamlesh Pandey.

Crew: Camera (color, widescreen), Sanjay F. Gupta; editor, Bunty Nagi; background music, Sanjoy Chowdry; song music, Vishal Shekhar, Strings, DJ Naweed, Shibani Kashyap, Julius Packiam, Nijhil C.; costume designer, Ameira Punvan; sound designer (stereo), Resul Pookutty; special visual effects, Prime Focus; action director, Tinu Verma; assistant director, Jasmeet Dhodi. Reviewed at Cineworld Feltham, London, Jan. 26, 2006. Running time: 115 MIN. (I: 53 MIN.; II: 62 MIN.).

With: With: Sanjay Dutt, John Abraham, Lara Dutta, Mahesh Manjrekar, Celina Jaitley. (Hindi dialogue)

More Film

  • Spirit Awards Showcase Oscar Players and

    Spirit Awards Showcase Oscar Players and Also-Rans, With Heavy Hitters on Deck

    Five of the last eight best feature winners at the annual Film Independent Spirit Awards have gone on to win best picture at the Oscars, including a four-year streak from 2013-2016. It was a steadily evolving status quo that led former Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences governor Bill Mechanic to question his organization’s [...]

  • Bo Burnham34th Film Independent Spirit Awards,

    Bo Burnham Wants 'Eighth Grade' Star Elsie Fisher to Direct Him

    Bo Burnham won his third award in three weeks for “Eighth Grade” at the Spirit Awards and said he wants the film’s 15-year-old Elsie Fisher to direct him. “I’d love to work with Elsie again,” Burnham said backstage after winning the Best First Screenplay trophy.  “She wants to direct so I’d love to switch roles [...]

  • Nicole Holofcener: 'Can You Ever Forgive

    Nicole Holofcener: 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?' Director Was Cheated Out of an Oscar Nomination

    “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” screenwriter Nicole Holofcener offered a blunt assessment of the lack of Academy Awards recognition for director Marielle Heller, and women directors everywhere. “I feel Marielle was cheated and I feel badly about that,” Holofcener said backstage after winning a Spirit Award for screenplay with Jeff Whitty. Holofcener was originally attached [...]

  • Stephan James as Fonny and Brian

    2019 Indie Spirit Awards Winners: Complete List

    The 2019 Independent Spirit Awards took place on a beach in Santa Monica, Calif., with Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” taking the top prize for best feature along with best director for Jenkins. Ethan Hawke and Glenn Close took the prizes for best male lead and best female lead, respectively. Bo Burnham took [...]

  • Oscars Oscar Academy Awards Placeholder

    Hated It! How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Gripe About the Oscars

    Watching the Academy Awards telecast, then grousing about it the next day, has become a hipster parlor game — it’s what the Complete Oscar Experience now is. The complaints are legion, and we all know what they are, because we’ve all made them. The show was too long. The host bombed. His or her opening [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content