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Don – The Chase Begins Again November 21, 2006

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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I saw the 1978 version of this movie starring Amitabh Bachchan when I was very young. I do remember the plot from that one but not the individual scenes, so my perspective of the new version is more or less like that of a fresh viewer. From what I had heard before I saw this film, most people who saw the original or are fans of Amitabh have not liked it very much but those who have not seen the original have found this film to be entertaining. I found the movie to be alright but nothing really great.

Don (Shahrukh) is a gangster that is wanted by police in 11 countries. DCP DeSilva (Boman Irani) is hot on his trail and manages to catch him. He replaces Don with his look-alike Vijay to get more information on the gang. In one of the numerous subplots Roma (Priyanka Chopra) is out for revenge against Don and manages to infiltrate his gang. Another subplot features Jasjit (Arjun Rampal) on the lookout for revenge against DCP DeSilva. Apparently director Farhan Akhtar and father Javed Akhtar (who wrote this film and was also part fo the writing team for the original with him famous partner Salim) have made changes to the original script which has not gone down too well with the fans of the original.

Farhan Akhtar introduces an excellent twist (which can be guessed if you are looking for it but most will miss it otherwise) towards the end that wasn’t part of the original. It might be possible that it was this very twist that led him to remake Don. Despite its new millenium look, its soul still feels old school. I would really have liked to see Farhan take the basic plot outline and shake it up completely like Ram Gopal Varma is trying with his Sholay.

While the twists and turns in the screenplay would have been quite appealing in the seventies, somehow the movie didn’t appeal to me as much. It is in part the effect of knowing the twists beforehand and in part the effect of watching too many thrillers. The main plot is actually quite interesting but it is the subplots and too many characters that mar the film to an extent. The writer and director focus a bit too much on the twists and forget that they still need to grab the attention of the audience.

Farhan makes a very slick looking film that would appeal to the younger generation. Some of the dialogue by Farhan reminds you of the seventies but that could be forgiven. Mohanan’s cinematography is notable and Malaysia works well for making a good looking film. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have provided great music for Farhan’s previous works Dil Chahta Hai and Lakshya. The music for this film isn’t upto to the standards set by their combination but is still good (not really the popular variety). Two of the songs from the original (including Khaike Paan Banaraswala) are rehashed with other new ones thrown in.

Shahrukh is much better as Vijay than he is as Don but doesn’t do as well as expected. Underplaying would have worked much better for the role of Don. Priyanka isn’t very impressive but she isn’t bad either. Arjun Rampal is fine and Boman Irani is dependable as usual (he gets quite a good role). Kareena is quite horrible when you remember Helen in Yeh Mera Dil (she comes across as cheap rather than sensual and graceful) but otherwise she is passable. It is good to see Pavan Malhotra (from the TV series Nukkad and the telugu thriller Aithe, where he was fabulous) in a big movie. Om Puri is wasted in a small role. Isha Koppikar plays the girlfriend of Don and doesn’t get much to do really (though she is well incorporated into the script). Chunky Pandey and Sushma Reddy show up in special appearances.

The movie looks slick and is entertaining in parts with a lot of neat twists. However, it never manages to captivate you and isn’t as gripping as I would have liked. Nevertheless, it is a decent thriller that can be watched if you haven’t seen the original. If you have seen the original, you might want to catch atleast the climax of this one (and it has other interesting changes too).

Comments»

1. Shujath - November 21, 2006

I wanted to watch this in a theatre initially…but apart from the first promo it never appealed to me; especially the song promos which turned me off. Also, the producers seemed to have bought all news channels a few weeks before the release leading to a Don overkill. So, waiting for the DVD to come out instead.

2. Shujath - January 18, 2007

Finally saw this. On the whole it is above average…mainly salvaged by the second half. Somehow, I found it too slow paced for a thriller. The plot of the original Don is quite well suited for a new age remake but something seems to have gone wrong here.

I didn’t like Shahrukh much in this movie apart from the fact that I got to see him do action sequences after quite a long time. As you said if you have seen enough thrillers you can see the twists coming but nonetheless Farhan Akhtar seems to have got atleast this part right.

There are talks of a sequel but I don’t think it would work unless there is something extraordinary.

3. dr.bujji - February 14, 2007

i have seen the original moovie and still i could enjoy this also.
i liked the locations and the twists in the new don.
after all, i support the view of sai.


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