Monday, November 06, 2006

DON review

Although I saw Don on the weekend it released, I was waiting for the dust to settle to write a review which gives away the plot. Like many other Bollywood fans, I was dying to see the movie after Farhan had stitched a memorable ad campaign running from Mumbai to Malaysia. (refer my earlier post) .
Firstly, the movie is not a remake but a remix, of the baby doll in the bathtub variety. Farhan Akhtar gives the movie mindblowing gloss, sheen and slickness making it on par with some Hollywood thrillers. But somewhere he forgets that he is remaking Don, a movie etched in lot of Indian minds and not Mission Impossible 4.
The fundamental problem is that Farhan somehow got convinced that to be true to a dialogue "Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahi namumkin hai" he needs to change the script to show that the original Don ( not Vijay the impersonation) actually survives in the movie. So with this end in mind, he indulges in monkeying around with a well written original script. Don does not die but is in coma in some hospital. Circumstances are created so that the Don can return in the climax. But now if Don has to return, he needs to have a score to settle. And that score can be only if the man who puts him to sleep is the villain.
So Farhan makes the most mind-numbing script change; DCP Silva is the villain and not Interpol chief Malik. This is where the second half and the original's tight coupling of characters and pace goes for a complete toss. To justify an end, he fails to do justice to any of the characters. As soon as this fundamental plot change is revealed you begin to writhe in your seat.
And what makes matters worse, is Boman Irani as the DCP. This is where a specialist like Iftekhar excelled, he was the quintessential tough cop, a face with years of experience and a no-nonsense talking style. Boman Irani with his Parsi paunch does not fit and ends up looking confused and jaded. This also means that Om Puri who has played the cop with great finesse in movies like Gupt is reduced to a nothing role.
Farhan also seriously weakens the central character of the movie Vijay through his twists and turns. Maybe it was deliberate since he knew that Shahrukh could never manage this part well. But it also means the emotional glue that the original had is completely lost. In fact the Vijay even in the initial parts where he meets the DCP is shown as an oversmart Mumbai tapori rather than a bumbling UP bhaiyya trying to eke out a living in Mumbai.
Coming to the key question, does Shahrukh Khan deliver? As the cool, menacing and stylish Don he packs a solid punch. This is the SRK I grew up seeing where the sheer aggression and earnestness overshadowed his acting limitations. It is simply great to see SRK in great clothes playing a man of substance rather than a guy who needs pastel colours and ribbons to feel for his lady love. In fact I believe its time SRK got out of the Yash Chopra-Karan Johar rut and did non-romantic roles for a change. At age 40 and as India's reigning superstar he needs roles of substance. But its sad that Farhan did not even give him a chance to play Vijay properly.
Nothing much was expected of Arjun Ramphal in any case, although Pran in the original had charged twice Amitabh's fees to play this role. Priyanka Chopra breezes into a role conveying both style, oomph and emotion in requisite amounts. Pavan Malhotra as Don's henchman Narang is a complete washout. Well the plump light eyed guy in the original was coolly sinister.
Songs. Kareena's well developed calves lend enough zing to Yeh Mera Dil. Khaike paan banaras as a remix song shot completely out of context in KL is a pale shadow. The best song in the movie is the under-rated Ganpati song Maurya re.Watch out for the brilliant banjo work in the song, reminds me of good old days in Mumbai.


At 9:38 PM, Blogger shikha said...

did not read you post coz havent seen DON yet and didnt want to spoil the fun...but have you considered writing a book on movie reviews only:)

At 8:54 AM, Blogger Palanivel Raja said...

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