When it comes to reworking Hollywood thrillers into Bollywood crime dramas, writer/director Sanjay Gupta has had a stab at Reservoir Dogs and U-Turn. But it's the critically acclaimed Korean film, Old Boy, that's his source of inspiration for Zinda. Sanjay Dutt stars as a family man forcibly imprisoned for 14 years by a mysterious adversary, only to be released and given five days to find out who locked him up and why. Not a patch on the original, this remake is neither as dark, innovative or humorous.
When Indian software entrepreneur, Balajit Roy (Dutt), is abducted and banged up in a grotty Bangkok cell with nothing but fried dumplings to eat for more than a decade, it's understandable that he should be peed off and ready for revenge when unexpectedly released. Clueless as to why he was locked up, with the help of taxi driver Jenny Singh (Lara Dutta) he begins piecing together information, which eventually leads him to The Scholar (John Abraham). The characters he encounters on his bloody journey may be as dangerous and double-crossing as those found in the Korean original, but that doesn't necessarily translate into entertainment or suspense for the audience.
"A BLEAK VENDETTA FLICK"
The thing that made Old Boy stand out was its willingness to simultaneously shock and impress the viewer with comically gruesome incidents, which illustrated the damaged psychological state of both the victim and the perpetrator. An example is the infamous scene in which the semi-dead hero proves his own vitality by devouring a live octopus. However, to make the film more palatable for Indian audiences Gupta's decision to omit or replace them leaves behind a bleak vendetta flick with a pointless Thai backdrop.