Friday, October 27, 2006

DON’t you miss this one!

My foremost reason for watching Don was sheer curiosity. I just had to check out Farhan Akhtar’s third movie. After ‘Dil Chahta Hain’ and the slightly lukewarm ‘Lakshya’ Farhan took two years to come out with this one and I wanted to know why. Secondly, and more importantly, I had to see whether Shah Rukh would be able to say Alvida to badly made movies. And the result is that both have redeemed themselves. Don is not quite the most heart warming movie of the century and it certainly cannot lay claim to the title of the most thought provoking cinema of this millennium, but yes, for three hours, I was glued to my seat, watching out for what would come next. Shah Rukh takes on the person he publicly claims as his icon – Big B – Amitabh Bachchan. This remake of the 1970’s classic is not exactly a verbatim copy of the original script. Instead, the storyline twists, turns, rotates, spirals and revolves round the characters of the original screenplay and metamorphoses into a completely different entity. Don here is an important member of international drug dealer Singhania’s gang and even though not much is shown about his drug dealings, we get to see plenty of cold blooded killings to assure usthat he is ‘bahut hi khatarnaak’

Enter Kamini (Kareena Kapoor) in Helen’s role with an unforgettable performance of ‘Yeh mera dil pyaar ka deewana’. Bebo’s fiancĂ© (Diwakar Pundir) has been killed by the Don and she hopes to set things right by handing him over to the police. Sadly, Kamini’s plan misfires and she gets killed by the Don. But all is not over. Kamini’s would-be sister-in-law Roma (Priyanka Chopra) is a martial arts expert and she vows revenge. In meantime, keeping with the original storyline, Don is killed in a police encounter but only Inspector De Silva knows about it and he finds out Vijay – a village simpleton who is a Don look-alike and trains him as the Don. Vijay now tries to expose the gang. After this however, the story takes a completely different turn including the climax which proves to be the ‘kahani mein twist’

Now, I watched the original movie quite a few years ago and I really do not wish to compare the movies. Suffice to say that Farhan Akhtar has built a new story using the same characters and has merely retained the skeletal structure of the old story. But there are sub plots within the plot and some like the character played by Arjun Rampal are quite uninteresting. Somewhere along the line you feel that the story is losing its grip and frankly, there were times when I glanced at my watch wondering how much time remained. However, it would be unfair if I said that I did not enjoy some of the action sequences. There is this terrific scene, where Vijay is kidnapped by his gang, while he is a police ambulance in a freeway in Malaysia. Instead of going the old fashioned way of pulling the driver out and driving away with the ambulance , or taking Vijay’s stretcher out and getting away, Roma arranges for a crane to lift the ambulance into a truck which then drives off. We laughed off our sides when we watched the next one. ShahRukh and company are in an aeroplane and they are being taken to a special detention camp in an island in Malaysia because they are ‘khatarnaak mujrim’s. Don must escape and by now, his gang knows that he is not the Don, but Vijay and so they are baying for his blood. Well, our Vijay and a firangi start fighting in the aeroplane with their handcuffs and then with just one parachute between them they jump off the aircraft. The rest is hilarious. In an action that defies all laws of gravity pertaining to free-fall, they fight mid-air for the parachute and as all stories go, Vijay gets the parachute just when they are quite close to the ground.

Shah Rukh, is the probably only person who could have acted this role. His arrogance mixed with amusement is the perfect for the 21st century Don, who has no ethics or code of honour. Comparisons with the Big B are obvious, but to his credit, Shah Rukh handles the character in his own way and passes the test (though not with flying colours.) On second thoughts, Vivek Oberoi could have done this role as well. In anycase, after his mesmerizing ‘K k k k Kiran’ it’s good to see Shah Rukh in a negative role that he will be remembered for. Priyanka Chopra steals the show. She is maturing into one of the finest actresses in Bollywood. Priyanka takes on Roma – Zeenat Aman’s character, but at the end of the show, we do not want to compare the two actresses, because Priyanka has shaped Roma in a different garb and she does full justice to her part. Isha Kopikkar –as Don’s moll makes no difference to the movie. Anybody else could have done that role. Kareena Kapoor appears for five minutes, looks ravishing a la Helen and bows out. Arjun Rampal is good, but his character is pretty boring and I wish he would stop behaving like a bank manager and learn to emote a little more. Boman Irani as Inspector De Silva does his usual act, but he has a cute assistant Inspector and I wish he was the person to catch the Don.

All said and done, Don is quite a nonsensical movie if you try to make sense out of it, but in the truest sense of Bollywood style masala movie, it scores a perfect 10. Complete entertainment and satisfaction guaranteed. Farhan Akhtar – good job. What next?