Drona

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Posted on October 6th, 2008 in Movie Reviews

It’s a great feeling to come across a movie in which the maker fully embraces rich and colourful Indian culture and attempts uses it to its full potential. However, whether the potential was executed well is another story altogether! That’s the sort of feeling one gets when they walk out of Goldie Behl’s latest action-adventure saga Drona.

The experience of Drona is quite sad and heart-breaking. Not because it’s painful or disastrous because it really isn’t all that horrendous. But it’s heart-breaking and sad because it has so much brainpower invested in it and so many small errors that could have been so easily tweaked to deliver what might have been a masterpiece. Sadly, little errors in the film add up and take a huge toll on the movie regardless of the brains behind the script. Thus, Drona ultimately becomes a tragedy.

Aditya (Abhishek) lives a loveless life of denial and constant rejection. He was adopted by a family in which he clearly wasn’t welcome from a very young age, so life for him has been a long journey of loneliness. However, at a very young age Aditya’s uncle reminded him that he’s more special than he knows. However, Aditya doesn’t pay much attention to this statement even as he grows up.

However, all this changes one day when Aditya discovers a new facet of his life and with it a grand destiny awaiting him. Aditya is this generation’s ‘Drona’, the protector of the universe and the keeper of the nectar of immortality. Generations of his family have lived for the sole purpose of protecting this elixir of immortality from various demons. However, to Aditya, all this is still very confusing and rather daunting too. As the truth unfolds, he begins to realise that those who have lived amongst him for years have been protecting him, fully knowing the destiny that awaits him. Thus begins a journey of mystery, adventure and the never-ending battle of good versus evil.

On the basis of the synopsis above, one may argue that the story in itself is rather foolproof and also very intelligent. However, it is the execution that is the biggest problem in this complex storyline. Goldie Behl very intelligently combines creativity with legendary Indian myths to deliver a unique storyline and give the Indian audiences a superhero that they can truly call their own. For this, he must be commended because his effort is genuine and isn’t a mere tool to become noticed or gain popularity. This is perhaps why it is so disheartening that he didn’t give the execution more thought.

There are several issues with the script and screenplay that affect the film negativel. Firstly, the slow-paced screenplay takes a good 45 minutes to get interesting which can definitely put the audience to sleep. Additionally, excess and unnecessary detail is given to several situations that is another factor that could potentially leave audiences in dreamland.

Furthermore, the characterization of Drona’s bodyguard, Sonia (Priyanka Chopra), and arch nemesis, Riz Raizada (Kay Kay Menon), is rather well-crafted. However, the same can’t be said for Drona himself. If a movie has a poorly written character in combination with a slow screenplay, it simply has no hope. Abhishek’s character is almost is half-baked! So much detail is given in regards to Drona’s destiny that you hardly get to know the character himself. In fact, so much time is spent on stunt sequences and other unnecessary scenes that it seems like Drona has very limited dialogues. Lastly, making Drona a Cinderella story does not sit well with an actor such as Abhishek Bachchan on-screen. Realistically, does he look like a person who would be bullied by an evil aunt and cousin when he’s a fully grown adult? No! This aspect of Aditya is highly unrealistic and a major issue in the script that also affects the movie at large as the character relies heavily on this aspect.

In addition to various flaws in the script and screenplay, art direction and costume design could have been improved marginally. Both Drona and Sonia’s trademark costumes, though beautiful, are somewhat impractical for a duo fighting battles in the scorching desert. In fact, during several scenes, it seems like Priyanka will trip over the hundred slits in her outfit any minute. The outfits looks great on posters and even in normal scenes but when you’ve got such demanding action sequences, a tad bit of realism would be much appreciated. To top that off, the art direction, which is extremely lavish, could have been given more thought in certain portions. For example, using purple shiny shell with studs is quite laughable considering that it’s an artifact that has been buried in the sand for years.

It’s not the most pleasant task to extensively expand on the negative aspects of a project that clearly had a lot of effort put into it, but it’s a task that must be done. So now we move on the horrific placement of songs. The movie opens up with ‘Khushi’ which is a total drag. You expect to go on the biggest adventure ride of the year but are suddenly forced to endure a totally irrelevant song in terms of situation and timing. Soon after, you’re put through the horror of ‘Oop Oop Cha’. After revealing a monumental secret to Drona, Sonia decides to change into a mini-skirt that is utterly out of her character and dance around with her sidekick? I don’t think so! This is the logic behind the song and the reason why it’s a painful task to sit through.

At last, we can movie onto the more positive aspects of the movie which would naturally have to be the special effects which are rather impressive for an Indian film. Also, in such a setting, they are highly appropriate and do not demand realism that might have been needed otherwise. The sequence in which the mystery village is exposed to Drona and Sonia deserves particular mention because not only was the concept highly impressive but so was the creation of the location itself.

Speaking of impressive sequences, two more come to mind when thinking about the film. The first is in the scene where Drona is escaping from Riz’s minions and suddenly he sees that strangers that he interacted with everyday are people who seem to intimately know him. In addition, the sequence which is incorporated into the ‘Oop Oop Cha’ song where Drona sees that these strangers have followed him all his life is quite well shot too. Both these sequences are impressive for the sole reason that it exposes this secret society that has awaited Drona all these years.

In addition to great special effects and a few impressive sequences, Drona also offers admirable performances. Abhishek Bachchan is a delight to witness in such a character. He delivers an impressive performance considering that his character is some what flawed to begin with. Priyanka Chopra should also be commended for yet another unique performance. The actress seems to be grabbing the most unique roles around and in this industry versatility in a female lead is always admired. However, it’s Kay Kay Menon that takes the cake in this one! His character is not only well sketched but he also delivers a high-standard performance. Although no one ever expects anything less from him, Menon is truly a scene stealer. It was also a pleasure to see Jaya Bachchan back on screen. As always, she’s natural and delivers a perfect performance.

To conclude, Drona had the right ingredients that were unfortunately mixed the wrong way and cooked at the worst temperature possible. You almost walk out of the cinema with tears because it had so much potential and effort that went terribly wrong. At the end of the day, one does have to commend Goldie Behl for attempting something different, One hopes that he fixes all his mistakes the next time around. Perhaps you should save this one for DVD and avoid rushing to the cinema.

Our Rating:

Kuch Toh Bolo!

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