Friday, October 20, 2006

Don (2006)

I loved the movie, can’t wait to see it again, and can’t wait for the DVD so that I can see it several times again. And yes, I have seen the original Don (1978), I loved that one as well, grew up adoring it / Amitabh Bachchan. I will compare the two movies later but I loved both and both deserve their own place in their own respective era’s / time.

Don (2006) is a thrill a minute, edge of the seat, don’t blink or you’ll miss something, superbly stylised action movie. It’s a sort of Don(1978) meets James Bond (the Pierce Brosnan era, with all its hi-tech gadgetry etc). It is unbelievably slick and amazingly cool. Its got the finish of a top-end magazine like Vogue or GQ…glossy, beautiful, a work of art. And the action scenes are breathless, non-stop and come at you one after another.

I had severe reservations about Mr Khan as Don. Especially as there are few bigger Mr Bachchan fans than me – I idolise the man. However, I’ve come from the movie convinced that no one else in the current set of stars could’ve carried it off as well as Shahrukh. He looks and behaves like Don – completely different to the chocolate faced ‘Main Hoon Na’ and ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ giggling lover boy we are used to. In this movie he has a steely look about him, a nastiness that is very believable. He is slightly over the top, but only to the degree you would want him to be.

Priyanka Chopra simply sizzles. When I look at her on screen now I’m ready to do all the things Jim Carrey does in the ‘Mask’ when he see’s Cameron Diaz dance at the club ! I only wish her part was bigger. Boman Irani continues to look the part in whatever part he is given and does a very stylish take on DCP DeSilva. The music – I didn’t think too much of it when I heard it on the net…but now as I write, the refrain is pulsing in my head, all the songs have acquired a life of their own (and Priyanka sets the screen on fire in ‘Aaj ki Raat’). The wardrobe guys also deserve a special mention - from Shahrukh's suede look in 'Main Hoon Don' to the cool, black leather jacket of DCP DeSilva, to the hot numbers that adorn Priyanka - I think the clothes will spark a thousand imitations.

I’m not going to mention the plot at all – my logic is that if you’ve seen the 1978 version, you already know it to a large degree. And if you’ve not seen that one, the last thing you should do is read about it – much better to see it / experience it and be blown away ! I will add though, that there are a few twists and turns. While Farhan Akhtar is true to the overall concept of the earlier Don, he has really put his own stamp on this remake by inserting a few really unexpected moments.

Now, the promised comparison. I really believe that both movies are great and sit comfortably in their own times / their own settings. When I see the old action movies (Gold Finger / From Russia with Love) today, I enjoy them, but I do get a feeling they are a bit dated. Every era has its own ‘look’, its own definition of hi-tech…for example 30 years ago a cassette could be considered hi-tech in India. Today it would be a DVD or a micro-disk. In the old Don, I thought the overall plot was amazing / original but hated the ending (the scene in the cemetery) which I thought was a farce / a joke. The new Don takes the basic plot but puts it in current settings. Mumbai becomes KL. Instead of a rickety police van transporting Don to prison, we have an airplane (a la ‘Con-Air’). There are some new characters. There are also some old characters that are interpreted differently, have different aspects to them. And it has an ending that is sensational ! A brave, polarising ending, which, just to relay some of the comments I overheard while exiting the hall, spoilt the movie for some but made it for others. For me - it worked and I salute this 'brilliance'.

I’ve loved every Farhan Akhtar movie so far – Dil Chahta Hai is in my top10 all time Hindi movies. Lakshya comes close to that list and so now, does Don. He simply gets better and better. He manages to extract something more from the stars, show them in a different light (Hrithik / Preity in Lakshya, Aamir / Saif in DCH....Shahrukh & Boman Irani in Don). He is willing to gamble, take a risk, do things his own way. Excellent stuff !

The one criticism that is possible of this movie though, is that it’s an ‘upper class’ movie. The earlier Don, while also a slick thriller for its time, I feel still connected with the common man in India. This one, I think, will struggle to do so – in terms of the locales, settings, clothing, plot…all were great / cool for me but I don’t think will have the same appeal in the smaller towns etc. Also, the same can be said of Farhan’s earlier movies as well – they all cater more to the upper / upper-middle class of India – the world that Farhan inhabits. However, its a minor issue and I still think the movie will be a huge hit !

The great thing, I remember, about watching Don (1978) as a 7 year old, was that when you came out of the movie (and for the next few days)…you felt you were Don ! You wanted to be like him, copy all mannerisms, you were mesmerised, felt the sense of power. I saw the same impact of this Don (2006) on my son (coincidentally also 7 years old). But even better, it still had the same impact on me ! Just love it !


Rohit Deep said...

Hmm... I guess I will have to see this one and sit through 3+ hrs of S.R.K.

Karan said...

S.R.K Rocks and i completely agree with watever u have written about the movie. Have seen it 3 times and just bought the dvd. Absolutely fabulous movie.

Rohit Deep said...

I finally saw the movie. One thing I have never understood is why we Indians need so much time to tell a story. Anyways S.R.K. cannot hold a candle to Big B. But if I take that bias out I would say the movie was well made, good editing and photography. After a long time, I watched a Bollywood flick that I liked. The action scenes were well done (except that 3 wheeler going up like a rocket (exposes the Bollywood brains)) and glimpses of new technology too (blown away by the use of the virtual keyboard when hacking into the computer system). The 2nd character (non DON) was totally unneccessary given the twist in the movie. We could have def. saved 45 minutes there :)

Anonymous said...

I loved most of your reviews which I read in random order , and thought this guy's thought process is very similar to mine , until I Don. Like many things in life .... it was almost there!

Anonymous said...

loved most of your reviews which I read in random order , and thought this guy's thought process is very similar to mine , until I read Don. Like many things in life .... it was almost there!

Apurv Nagpal said...

glad you liked the other Don, i really found it exhilirating, like Dhoom2 and i loved the twist at the end...

rhythm fadia-maniar said...

i guess i differ with u on this one!
i didnt like the end at all...thought whats the point after so much of plotting in the end it was the bad guy who lived!!!