Critics' verdict: Don 2 gets mixed reports!

By Hindustan Times

Farhan Akhtar's Don 2 has witty, zany and cooler dialogues, great action sequences, sleek & stylish package, but lacks a tight script. SRK who's back in a negative avatar with the film has done full justice to his role. Here's what critics are saying about the movie:

Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama (Rating: ***1/2): When viewed in isolation, Don 2 looks like the right package to woo the movie-going junta -- SRK in top form, a stylishly crafted story, pulsating and invigorating action and stunts. But it's not without its share of hiccups. In fact, the first hour and the post-interval portions of the film are akin to the two sides of the same coin. The first hour is bland, the second is energetic. The first hour is deficient in thrills, the second keeps you on the edge. The first hour disentangles at a languid pace, the second is feverish with several adrenaline rush moments.

Farhan Akhtar has narrated the story with aplomb, but the script needed to be crisper. "With Don 2, Farhan Akhtar reasserts himself as one of Hindi cinema's stylish storytellers. It wouldn't be erroneous to state that Don 2 redefines slick in Bollywood. But the film could've done with a tighter script. Besides, the writing is urban-centric and those with an appetite for international thrillers may take to the film instantly, especially the twists and turns in the second hour. Again, the conclusion to the story could've been simplified for the average viewer to decipher. Yet, all said and done, Don 2 mirrors the changing trends in Hindi cinema. Those with the conventional attitude or tilting towards the conservative form of cinema may find it difficult to absorb," says Adarsh.

David Dewitt, New York Times: The director, Farhan Akhtar, seems out to create a spectacular, international entertainment with “Don 2,” in a mix of Hindi and English and a dollop of German. And thanks to the unpretentious humor, he is mostly successful, though audiences will have to forgive the bland performances. Not the actors’ fault, really; when a cocky chuckle (Mr. Khan) or determined lips (Ms. Chopra) are your only character bits, you don’t have much character to explore. Only Kunal Kapoor, as a more sympathetic colleague of Don’s, has human moments. They’re almost out of place; subtlety is one language this playful film doesn’t speak.

Nikhat Kazmi, The Times Of India (Rating: ****): The high point of the film is Shah Rukh's delineation of the character of the Don. The actor interprets him as an arrogant, agile, wicked and wild dare-devil who has the most bizarre schemes up his sleeves. But that's not all. He also has the chutzpah to carry them through.

"Action is the other alluring selling point of Farhan Akhtar's film. The chases, the fights, the demolition, destruction, break-ins, escapes have all been done with a finesse that rivals the best of Hollywood. Watch the car chase between Priyanka and Shah Rukh and you'll get the point. It's not only high voltage that drips with passion which makes it seem almost like foreplay. The other notable sequences include the heist, the escape and Shah Rukh's larger-than-life leap from a high-rise while his assassin wrings his hands in dismay," says Kazmi.

Aniruddha Guha, DNA (Rating: ***): Like Danny Ocean. And John McClane. In Don 2, Akhtar manages to blend elements from various H’wood films, mostly Ocean’s Eleven and Die Hard, with a bit of Mission Impossible thrown in. This is our answer to Hollywood - a rehash of what they’ve done already. No points for originality. No points for writing either. If Akhtar’s film lulls you to sleep initially, in spite of some slick editing, it’s because the writing (Akhtar, Ameet Mehta, Amrish Shah) falters. Characters say boring, random things to each other, there’s a pointlessly long dance sequence (Hrithik Roshan, looking dapper in an unintentionally hilarious cameo), and the attempt at dialoguebaazi is laughable (“Jab tak Don ko asliyat ka pata chalega, tab tak Don mar chuka hoga”).

Komal Nahta, Koimoi.com (Rating: ***1/2): Farhan Akhtar, Ameet Mehta and Ambrish Shah’s story and screenplay are basically about plotting and planning, which keep the audience’s interest alive. The first half, however, moves at a leisurely pace and takes a while to come to the point. It is after interval that the pace picks up but even in the post-interval part, the initial reels are too technical and get confusing for the average viewer. But the last few reels are very engrossing and the revelation of the suspense (like in the first part, Don) is the highlight. Intrigue, suspense, style and drama – the four highlights of Don – are in evidence in the sequel too.

Daily Bhaskar.com (Rating: ***): Shah Rukh Khan compels one to leave the bitter memories of Ra. One behind and experience an exhilarating ride with Don 2. Hollywood style crisp action sequences and different avatars of SRK, prisoner and eventually ultra-classy Don keep the spectator busy. The story picks up pace in the post interval portions with tremendous suspense value related to Kunal Kapoor. The vulnerable love sequence between SRK and Priyanka also commands for appreciation in terms how it brings the necessary twist in the story which can be called the forte of Farhan Akhtar as a story-writer.

Rituparna Chatterjee, IBNLive, Tweet Review: The action is great, esp an exciting jailbreak. #Don2 promotions have been low key. The investment in action has paid off.

"Not gold, cash or secret documents. This time the eye is on Euro printing plates. #Don2 sets the pace for future heist movies."

"In many ways this is @iamsrk's film. He has a quiry sense of humour. Even behind bars he never fails to flirt with @priyankachopra."

"The storyline is not new, but the surprising change of heart is. Impalusible perhaps? But who knows what goes on in the mind of Don? #Don2"

"The @iamsrk fans will love him in this one. That much is for sure. #TweetReview #Don2"

Rediff (Rating: **1/2): And then how can one forget when Khan strikes the ultimate pose -- the camera captures him at an angle, as he slightly tilts his back, with his arms open sideways. It is King Khan's signature attempt to remind us that he is the master of the universe. At least his fans believe that.

Direction
"Farhan Akhtar yet again shows his brilliance as a director. Barring few loopholes which can be neglected like Vardhan (Boman) despite in the hitlist of police gets an easy entry into the bank is highly indigestible, Don 2 impresses at various stages. The theft sequence is amazing shot with no room for technical goof-ups especially the way SRK escapes the inside chamber with plates in his bag," according to Daily Bhaskar.com.

Performances
Shah Rukh Khan: "Don 2 marks SRK's return to anti-hero roles after enacting such roles with flourish so early in his career. Recall BAAZIGAR, DARR and ANJAAM. He plays a wicked, debonair anti-hero in Don 2. The character he portrays is iniquitous and sinful, but attractive at the same time and SRK lives it up with gusto. Besides, SRK has also experimented with varied looks in the film, from a debonair looking guy to a person with unkempt hair and stubble. Without doubt, DON 2 is SRK's best action movie to date," says Adarsh.

Priyanka Chopra: "Priyanka revisits her character of Roma in DON 2. Not only is the character more evolved, even her performance is of a high order. In fact, she enacts the role of an angry, tough lady who means business with a vengeance. Lara Dutta looks glamorous and alluring, but her character lacks meat," says Adarsh.

Kunal Kapoor: "He is decent, though he doesn't really get the scenes to prove his credentials. An actor of the caliber of Om Puri is wasted this time. Boman Irani lends the right texture to his character. He excels yet again. Nawab Shah should hit big league with DON 2. He plays one of the baddies with conviction. Alyy Khan is natural, enacting his part with ease. Sahil Shroff has screen presence and stands out in a brief role. Hrithik Roshan appears in a cameo", feels Adarsh.

Weak points
"The film does lack a bit on the emotional quotient and human relationships are hardly given a chance to grow. But just when you think it's all sound and fury, there's a sensuous tango between Roma and the Don as the cop opts to help the gangster she once loved and the gangster is determined to save his junglee billi (wild cat), any which way. A word about the dialogues: brilliant. A word about the music: mediocre (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy)," points out Kazmi.

"The situations are alarmingly unimaginative. Sample this: Don-ny Ocean (SRK) plans to get out of a high security prison by mixing the food given to prisoners with a liquid that results in mass food poisoning. Johar Mehmood In Hong Kong had a similar sequence where prisoners in a jail are given julab (laxative) on the sly, helping them flee. That was a farcical comedy. Here, it seems like a cop-out," says Guha.

"On the minus side, all that Don and his team do seems so easy that it appears rather unbelievable at times. Besides the confusing portion of the drama, this is another drawback of the script. Farhan Akhtar’s dialogues could’ve packed in more punch and power as they, at places, seem quite tame, especially those mouthed by Don, given that he is so powerful. But his dialogue about his mother being happy if she were alive and about and his dialogue about ‘Sir’ not going well with his personality are brilliant. Light moments are few and far between and had there been more of them, the appeal of the film would’ve been bigger," says Nahta.

Conclusion
"On the whole, Don 2 rides on star power and brand value. The film has a bland first hour, but the second half takes the film to another level. There's no denying that a cohesive script would've made a world of a difference to the film, but the tremendous hype, star power and the lucrative period [Christmas and New Year celebrations] will make its investors reap a harvest," concludes Adarsh.

"On the whole, Don 2 may not give the discerning audience a great high but it will be loved by those who like style, intrigue, suspense and attitude. It will score at the box-office and yield good profits to Reliance Entertainment (worldwide distributors). The producers, of course, have already made a huge profit by selling the worldwide rights and also by getting heavy subsidy from the German government. Business in big cities and multiplexes will be far better than in smaller towns and single-screen cinemas. The film will work wonders in the Overseas circuit," says Nahta.

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