Movie Review: Don ...

By Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM

imageRemaking a

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

of Malaysia.

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

in films?

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! Rating: 2.5

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