By Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM
yesteryear hit can be an arduous task. Especially if it happens to be
the Amitabh Bachchan starrer DON. One film people remember vividly for
various reasons, right from Big B's towering performance to the popular
tracks to its gripping story and sharp execution.
A remake comes with its share of plusses and minuses, advantages and
disadvantages. The advantages first…
* Perhaps, the new generation might not have watched the classic
starring Bachchan. That makes the 2006 adaptation a novel cinematic
experience. The present version also arouses tremendous interest since
SRK steps into Bachchan's shoes.
* DON was made in the 1970s and a new version, with appropriate
updates, is always welcome.
* Most importantly, every director has his/her style of interpreting
a story. Chandra Barot had his way of narrating a story, Farhan Akhtar
has his own unique style.
Now, the sole disadvantage…
* Since the Bachchan starrer remains etched in the memory of a
section of moviegoers, the SRK starrer carries a massive responsibility
on its shoulders. The comparisons, therefore, are inevitable. Every
character, song and the impact of several vital portions will be viewed
Unfortunately, the new DON fails on several counts…
* The original script [Salim-Javed] had the power to keep you
involved and mesmerized for the next 2.30 hours. The new version lacks
* The sequence of events in the earlier DON unraveled at a
feverish pace, which the entertainment-hungry viewer lapped up with
glee and excitement. The new version moves at a sluggish pace at
regular intervals and that indeed is bad news for a thriller. In fact,
boredom sets in after a point and it also gets difficult to comprehend
what's going on. Things could have been simpler for sure.
* Every character in the earlier DON was well etched out. That's
not the case with the new version. Barring SRK and to an extent
Priyanka, the remaining characters appear as mere caricatures.
* The songs in the first version were merged beautifully with
the script. Somehow, in the new version, barring the Kareena track, the
songs don't take the story forward. Even the terrific 'Khaike Paan
Banaraswala' comes across as an unwanted guest.
Any area where the new version works? Of course, it's far more
glossy, far more stylish and far more visually appealing. Let's just
say, the new DON is body beautiful, minus soul. The original version
had simplistic execution, but it hit you like a ton of bricks. The new
version is a hundred times more stylish, but how about a riveting
script, Mr. Director?
The one question you want to ask Farhan Akhtar is, What happened?
His directorial debut DIL CHAHTA HAI told a novel story. His second
attempt, LAKSHYA, stood on a slippery wicket. But DON, his new
endeavor, is his weakest attempt as a storyteller. Agreed, Farhan has
climbed the ladder as far as craftsmanship is concerned [every frame is
well decorated and makes a spellbinding impact], but, despite a
readymade classic at his disposal, the storyteller just doesn't get it
right this time.
Farhan makes a sincere effort to shock the viewer in the end and you
are startled for a minute, but the moment the focus shifts to the
flashback and how he managed to pull a fast one, the impact evaporates
into thin air. Farhan also ends the film with some scope for a sequel.
Nothing wrong with that, but how one wishes Farhan had a hit a boundary
in this interpretation of the classic first.
Now, the storyline:
The drug trade is booming. Trafficking between Asia and Europe is at
an all-time high. There are rumors that a dreaded gang has moved their
operational headquarters to Kuala Lumpur. The cartel is headed by
Singhania [Rajesh Khattar], but the business is managed by his
lieutenant Don [Shah Rukh Khan].
An Indian officer Desilva [Boman Irani] has sworn to put an end to
the nexus. He knows that in capturing Don lies the key to unlock this
puzzle. And he succeeds one day. Don is captured and Desilva puts his
plan into action. Unknown to even his own department, Desilva recruits
and trains a man who is a splitting image of Don. His name is
Vijay infiltrates the cartel and manages to give Desilva all the
information he needs to bring it down. But in a bizarre twist of fate,
Desilva is killed during a raid and the secret that Don is in fact
Vijay is buried with him. The only people who realize that he's an
imposter are the members of Don's cartel [Pawan Malhotra and Shakeel
Khan] and they want their revenge.
Vijay manages to escape and is now on the lookout for the one last
piece of evidence that can get him out of the mess. Helping him on this
quest are two people: Roma [Priyanka Chopra] and Jasjit [Arjun
There are glaring loopholes in the screenplay and you just can't
overlook them. Like, for instance, how does SRK kill Kareena when the
fact remains that he himself admits that there aren't any bullets in
his gun? Here's another one: SRK, the Don, arrives in India for a major
drug deal, but why isn't he arrested by Boman Irani and his team of
cops when he must've presumably boarded an aircraft from KL? Why chase
him on a secluded beach somewhere near Mumbai?
In the second hour, the murder of Rajesh Khattar [Don's boss] gives
an impression that it's child's play to eliminate a drug baron.
Moreover, what happens to Don's gang, also being held captive and being
chartered to another destination [just before Don escapes from the
aircraft]? Also, Arjun Rampal's exit from the story could've been
properly defined. Also, where does his kid disappear suddenly? And what
is Om Puri doing in this film? A junior police officer [aiding Boman
Irani] has a meatier role than Puri here. It's a screenplay of
convenience. Frankly, this looks like a desi James Bond saga, with the
protagonist behaving like one mighty guy who can outsmart just about
anyone and everyone.
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's music is strictly functional. The only track
that's worth a mention is 'Ye Mera Dil Pyaar Ka Diwana' and S-E-L
cannot get credit for it because it's not their composition. Mohanan's
cinematography is of international quality. The opulent look and sets
are well captured by the lensman and so are the eye-catching locations
Action scenes are superb. Take the fight between SRK and Chunkey
Pandey at the very start of the film or the chase on a secluded beach
and the lanes of a town before Don is captured by the cops -- it's jaw
-dropping. The sync sound is not coherent at times and this will pose a
major problem, especially at single screens where the sound system
isn't of standard.
SRK carries a massive responsibility on his shoulders since direct
comparisons with Bachchan are foreseeable. SRK does very well as Don.
He enacts the evil character with flourish. But he fails to carry off
the other role [Vijay] with conviction. It looks made up, it doesn't
come natural to him at all. Priyanka Chopra carries off her part with
élan. The stunt [when she rescues SRK] is bound to win her laurels.
Arjun Rampal's character could've been better developed. Despite the
shortcomings, he makes a sincere attempt. Kareena Kapoor looks alluring
in a miniscule role. Isha Koppikar is alright. Boman Irani is fantastic
yet again. He enacts the conniving and calculating villain with gusto.
A remarkable actor like Om Puri is completely wasted here. Pawan
Malhotra does very well. Why doesn't one see more of his talented actor
Diwakar Pundir [as Kareena's fiancé], Shakeel Khan and Rajesh
Khattar are adequate.
On the whole, DON does not meet the expectations as a film. BUT the
film will be a different story altogether at the box-office. The
tremendous craze for the film, the fabulous hype of the film, the
presence of SRK in the central role and also the credibility of its
makers [Farhan Akhtar] will ensure a fabulous start at the ticket
window. The Diwali and Idd period will only give a big boost to the
business, making its distributors jump with joy.
In short, sometimes a weak film weaves magic at the box-office. DON
is one of those!
Bollywood.com Rating: 2.5
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