The year was 1973 and the film was Zanjeer. It was a relatively small film given the fact that the leading man of the film had yet to deliver a hit and also the fact that the lead role had been turned down by all the leading heroes of Hindi film industry. However the same film and the same unsung hero made history by delivering a phenomenal hit and by changing the face of Hindi commercial cinema from romance to action. It also gave Hindi cinema its first angry young man and first super star-Amitabh Bachchan. This was the cult film that gave Bachchan his iconic status.
The film begins on the night of Diwali with the death of a couple, the parents of the young Vijay Khanna. The young Vijay is unable to identify his parents’ murderers except for a charm bracelet with a white horse. This traumatic event gives him nightmares of a white stallion. Twenty years down the lane Vijay is an honest police officer. In his line of duty he meets two individuals who change his life forever. The first one is Sher Khan, a man who runs gambling dens. He summons Khan to the police station where the latter’s insouciance irks him. Khan tells Vijay that he gets respect only because of his uniform. Vijay takes him up on his challenge, and meets him in street clothes to fight him. At the 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.
The second individual is Mala (Jaya Bhaduri) an eye witness to a horrific traffic accident that leave several children dead. Initially she refuses to testify but later on has a change of heart upon viewing the mangled bodies of the dead children. She comes clean and identifies the perpetrator. Underworld Don Teja (Ajit) whose men have been behind the incident come after her and she finds refuge in Vijay’s house and the two orphans slowly fall in love. 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 on the other hand wants him to forget the ordeal and begin life afresh and not resort to violence. Vijay acquiesces to her pleas but becomes withdrawn and depressed. Soon Mala realises the battle raging within Vijay and asks him to go out and punish the culprits. He goes after Teja and soon realises that it was Teja who murdered his parents on that fateful Diwali night (the charm bracelet gives Teja away). Finally with Sher Khan’s help Vijay is able to avenge his dead parents.
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
Cast and Crew:
Directed by Prakash Mehra
Produced by Prakash Mehra
Written by Javed Akhtar, Salim Khan
Starring Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Pran, Om Prakash, Ajit, Bindu
Music by Kalyanji-Anandji
Cinematography N. Satyen
Editing by R. Mahadik
Movie songs and lyrics:
1. Dil Jalon Ka Dil Jala (link)
2. Yari Hai Imaan Mera (link)
3. Banake Kyun Bigade (link)