Don – a film review
If film critics took into account the Entertainment Value (EV) of a film while reviewing it, then a lot of ‘good’ films could be dubbed as ‘bad’ and a lot of ‘bad’ films dubbed as ‘good’. At least that’s what the critics think. The reality is that a badly made film with low scores on editing, cinematography, acting and casting, direction, music, story-line and so on, is unlikely to have high EV and will never succeed at the box office. In fact a film that makes money and has high EV is likely to score at least averagely on the above aspects, perhaps even all. It’s subject is also likely to have mass appeal or high escapist value.
On the other hand, a film that flops usually has low EV and is very likely to be badly made or if it does happen to be well-made, it’s flopped because the subject is (yawn) esoteric or because the treatment is stale or because the film scores very very poorly on at least one of the critical aspects …like say editing, acting or story-line.
Considering the primary objective of going to see a film is entertainment – I guess it’s EV that finally counts. So let’s just concentrate on that and leave the business of dissecting films to the cynics. Lets see a film from the point of view of the average cinema-going public. People like you and me.
So how much EV do we give Don, which is a re-make of the 1978 Hindi blockbuster?
Ummm…I would say at least average. On second thoughts, good! Shah Rukh plays the role of the dashing, flamboyant and philandering villain with panache. It’s a relief to see that he does not over-act. After Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, I had almost forgotten that the man could act. But then he was always pretty good at playing the villain…remember Baazigar and Darr? Well, he sends a chill down our spine this time, with his menacing expressions and megalomania.
The movie, directed by Farhan Akhtar, begins with familiarising the viewer with the activities of this ‘Don’, a drug smuggler, but the plot really thickens when we find that our villain has a ‘double’. While the story-line is basically the same as the old one, there are surprises in store for those who expect a faithful re-make…
What’s it about?
But what’s Don really about? Well…it’s about a gang war between two ‘Dons’ – Shah Rukh and a faceless gangster called Wardhan. It’s about Don’s double Vijay who tries to save the day by helping the cops nab Don. It’s also about Inspector D’Silva (played by Boman Irani) who recruits Vijay. Arjun Rampal plays the role of Jasjeet, an aggrieved father whose life has been ruined by Wardhan. Later, as the end draws near, it’s Jasjeet who plays the role of a catalyst in bringing the plot to a satisfying end. The end is in fact is one of the best ‘ends’ I have ever seen in an Hindi movie…the high rise chases, bloody fights, and a whammy of a twist in the tail.
One mustn’t forget the pretty girls though none of them had a meaty role. Kareena Kapoor does an item number to seduce Don, Isha Koppikar plays Anita the gangster’s moll, and Priyanka Chopra is Roma who joins Don’s gang to avenge her brother’s death. None these girls stand out, except perhaps Kareena. But she lacks the oomph that is so necessary to play the role of a seductress.
In this film Boman Irani (Inspector D’Silva) goes around with a bland expression on his face most of the time. And Arjun Rampal looks good…but his acting isn’t spectacular.
The music, by Shankar Ehsan Loy, is good and the song Aaj Ki Raat is special. Main Hoon Don from the older version of Don, is a new and catchy re-mix, the background chorus of Don, Don, Don, adding a touch of the sinister. Yeh Mera Dil is also rehashed and made more contemporary. The song Khaike Paan Benaras Wala however falls short of Kishore Kumar’s original.
Overall the movie is fast-paced, picking up speed in the second half. There are a lot of thrills for the viewer…as long as he overlooks the glaring impossibilities…the way Don manages to escape sticky situations has a touch of the ridiculous …
Certain scenes like the one when Don falls off a plane or the car chase through narrow lanes seems familiar…probably ripped off from some English movie. Why does this have to happen…why do our directors not bother to choreograph their own scenes? This kind of plagiarism of scenes has become so common now that no one raises eye-brows anymore…
All in all, Don is above average on EV. The racy plot, the double role, the pretty women, the song and dance and ofcourse – Shah Rukh’s acting. It’s certainly not the Satya kind of gangster film, which had a high dose of reality. It’s best to watch Don with a complete suspension of disbelief.
(Picture sourced from Apun Ka Choice)