Drona – movie review
Drona makes an impact for several reasons. It has taken an idea from Indian mythology and transformed it into a magical special effects extravaganza. Writers Goldie Behl and Jaydeep Sarkar (Behl is director as well) have penned an original story. What makes this movie one of a kind however are the visual effects, all done with collaboration with Eros International’s EyeQube Studio. In this sense Drona is a landmark film, although the special effects (David Bush) are certainly are not top class, not if one compares them to the best of Hollywood. Reportedly the budget for this film touched Rs 60 crore.
What’s the movie about?
The film is set in a fantasy land where there are kings and queens, hooded armies and asuras, mystics and magicians, totem swords and bracelets. Ordinary folk as well. We are gradually introduced to this mysterious world along with Aditya (Abhishek Bachchan). For all practical purposes Aditya is an ordinary man, although an unhappy one. He is unaware of his real identity and his hidden strengths. That is where the comparison with Harry Potter comes in. But no, Aditya is not anything like Harry Potter… his secret identity is rooted in Indian mythology. And despite what has been said about this movie, it is a superhero movie. Drona may not fly, but he has superhuman powers which he is yet to discover.
The story (no spoilers)
The movie starts slowly although right from the start there are signs that a noble destiny awaits Aditya. When he finally realises who he is, it’s his bodyguard Sonia (Priyanka Chopra) who familiarises him with mission. Aditya takes on his new role rather reluctantly, held back by his disbelief and his fears. The director takes almost till the interval to make Aditya fit for his mission. A mission to save the world from an evil man who wants to be all-powerful after consuming the holy “amrit” of the Gods that will give him eternal life.
The screenplay starts to meander half an hour into the movie, giving us a clue that the story is going to be a sketchy one. Some scenes stretch on endlessly, but quite deliberately, to “milk” as much emotion out of them as possible. One such scene is the one between Queen Jayati (Jaya Bachchan) and Abhishek. As if this mother son bonding is not melodramatic enough, the director decides to add a song at his juncture.
The story is predictable and there is no suspense worth the name.
Some redeeming points
The cinematography (Sameer Arya), art direction (Samantha Lotter), the sets and the costumes (Anaita Shroff) are not awesome, but they are good. The costumes are tastefully done and those of the lead characters, excellent. Drona’s shimmering white and gold robe and Riz Raizada (Kay Kay Menon) black and gold one look splendid in the desert scene at the end of the movie.
The look given to Razpur (Village of Secrets) is unique. The oranges, reds, and the saffron, used for both background and the motifs, pleases the eye. The designs are traditional Indian patterns and reminded me of rangoli.
The villain’s throne, set in a backdrop of black bricks with glowing red outlines and an ornamental silver staircase curving around it, is visually interesting. Despite scope for garishness, the overall effect of the costumes and sets is not vulgar.
The actors and characters
Kay Kay Menon plays Riz, the magician villain, and he shines in this movie. His renders the dark humour intrinsic to his character with comic expressions and theatrics which are amusing to watch. His portrayal of Riz is likely to be remembered for a long time.
Everyone else’s acting is forgettable, although Abhishek is aright in places. As a character though, Aditya is unconvincing. Why should a normal guy take the kind of ill-treatment meted out to him (his adopted mother ill-treats him), that too until the age of 28? If he is such a wimp, how can this man possibly turn into Drona?
As for the rest of the characters, they did not have much depth…how could they when screen time was hogged by Abhishek?
Is the movie worth seeing?
The movie is a feast for Abhishek Bachchan fans because he is all over it. It is also a treat to see special effects of the kind that are not shown in Bollywood movies. The fight and chase sequences (action coordinator, Shyam Kaushal) are nothing special, but the fight scene on top of a running train, complete with hooded villains and Drona on a white horse is quite enticing. There is violence in the movie, but it goes with the genre of the film and thankfully it is not gory.
Overall though, this movie disappoints. The screenplay is loose in places, there are too many songs, acting is mostly average, and the music lacklustre. Cannot call it a great entertainer, which is what this movie sets out to be.