As a child, Vijay witnesses the murder of his parents by their unscrupulous employer, worried that pops will spill the beans on his "spurious injections" business. As luck would have it, Vijay was hidden in a wardrobe at the time and all he sees of the killer is his golden chain, with a cute little plastic horse dangling from it. Twenty years later, Vijay has morphed into Amitabh Bachchan and is a police officer, always in trouble with his superiors because of his tendency to take crime as a personal affront and use any means available to punish its perpetrators. He's a very serious and intense young man, haunted by nightmares of his parent’s murder.
Prior to 1973, the name Amitabh Bachchan was not revered amongst Indian cinema goers as it has been ever since. Indeed, Amitabh was considered to be box office poison at the time, and director Prakash Mehra was thought to have gone mad for choosing him as the star in his new film Zanjeer. History appears to be on Mehra's side, for Zanjeer was a resounding success and created the "Angry Young Man" image for Amitabh Bachchan that dominated Indian cinema for the next decade.
This was the film which actually made a star out of Bachchan. And the actor gave his all to this movie, in terms of performance. He lives the role with passion and is able to convey the underlying angst and smouldering rage of his character with great intensity and economy. Bachchan rises to the occasion and delivers a fine, nuanced performance. In fact, he is like a timebomb just waiting to explode.
Bachchan is extremely well supported by Pran, who plays a Pathan in this movie and Jaya Bhaduri sails through her role with ease and manages to translate her on screen chemistry with Bachchan on to the screen quite effectively.
The film's music which has been composed by Kalyanji Anandji has some lovely gems like the ever popular friendship anthem, 'yaari hai imaan' sung by Manna Dey; Asha Bhonsle's 'dil jalon ka dil jala' and Lata Mangeshkar's 'banake kyon bigada re'. This composer duo went on to have a musical hand in many of the actor's other successes through the years. Besides faring well at the box office, 'Zanjeer' won a lot of awards too that year.