Starring: Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Arjun Rampal, Boman Irani, Isha Koppikar, Om Puri & Kareena Kapoor (Special Appearance)
Director: Farhan Akhtar
Remaking a film is never easy. One must realize that if they do so, there will be many comparisons made between their film and the original. When Farhan Akhtar decided to remake the all time classic Don, he must have known how much pressure would be on him to recreate the magic brought to us by Chandra Barot in 1978. He knew he would be faced with intense scrutiny if he could not live up to the original. When he chose Shahrukh Khan to essay the role of Don, immortalized by Amitabh Bachchan, it raised the stakes even more. You have the country’s biggest star trying to match the enormous strides created by the country’s all time biggest star. This was a tough task for both Farhan and Shahrukh. But they said from the beginning that this is more of a remake than a tribute. After watching the film, I must say I agree with that statement. The basic plot is kept, but it has been executed in a totally different way. For this, I say no comparisons should be made between the two. Let us rather look at Don – The Chase Begins Again, as a film all by itself. As a film in general, does Don 2006 work? It does in parts, but overall it definitely does not live up to the big hype it has created prior to the release. Surely one expected much more, with so many talented people involved in the movie.
The original Don worked because it was a complete film with great performances, music, direction, and screenplay. The new Don lacks in all departments compared to the original, but it is not right to compare the two films, only because they have the same name and plot. The two films have been handled rather differently, and are two different films in their own right. Bollywood has always gotten ideas from outside areas, be it Hollywood or anywhere else. Rarely were those films compared to the original. The same should be the case here. So as a film, Don 2006 does disappoint you a bit. The promos promised thrills and action all throughout the film, but in actuality, they are few and far between. When they do provide thrills, it is shown brilliantly. The action in the film is amazing and perhaps some of the best Bollywood has ever seen. The problem is there isn’t enough of it and it takes away from the film.
Farhan Akhtar, after a brilliant debut and a solid second film, totally shocks you with Don. Clearly, this cannot be the same Farhan Akhtar that gave us Dil Chahtha and Lakshya. He is not in form this time around. He does a good job of making the film look stylish and cool, but he fails to keep you excited with the pace he goes. The movie gets really slow at times, and tends to make the viewer bored. An action movie like this should be going a mile a minute, but this movie drags more than you would expect. The film is nearly three hours long when it could have easily been shortened by a half hour. Farhan spends too much time concentrating on the style, gloss, gadgets and gizmos. He should have spent more time on writing a more cohesive script. The twists he put in the movie, though, deserve praise. The surprise ending does shock you and you definitely do not see it coming. No doubt that the ending is the best part of the entire enterprise. But again Farhan spent time on these little things that it took away from the entire picture. If Farhan did not want to spend too much time in writing a good script, he should have just kept his father’s original script and made a real remake. Then the movie would have had much more thrills and excitement, as well as a better story. We all know how talented Farhan Akhtar is. It’s just that this movie does not prove it. Let us all hope he finds something more innovative for his next movie.
Only two tracks from the original have been kept for this one. It just so happens to be the most famous tracks from the film: Yeh Mera Dil and Khaike Paan Banaraswala. Both tracks have been given a remix and sound very good. As for the picturization of the two, neither is great. Both have dancing that just doesn’t fit with the song. It is too bad because the songs are so great, but on screen it just does not work. As for the rest of the songs, they are pretty good as well. The best picturization goes to Aaj Ki Raat. It’s a pretty funky track that you can get into while watching it on screen. It’s a fun number that everyone is sure to enjoy. Main Hoon Don is also a great number that shows that the Don is back. The picturization is solid, but a bit out of place. Maurya Re is the worst track of them all, but it was required to introduce Vijay. The best thing about the music is the background music. It totally fits the movie. It gets you pumped to see some ass whooping take place. The soundtrack is not for everyone, as it has a techno feel to it. It is aimed for the young generation who like the pumped up numbers. Shankar-Ehsan-Loy bounce back after a disappointing KANK soundtrack.
The big question is does SRK live up to Mr. Bachchan’s towering performance in the original? The answer is an obvious no, but you can’t fault him as no one can live up to that legend. But SRK still manages to do a decent job and much better than most people expected because of his image. As the Don, he does surprise you as you do not expect him to carry off such a role. As Vijay, it is typical SRK, so what you see is what you get. This just goes to show you that if Shahrukh works with the right directors, he can pull of a good performance. Farhan deserves credit for being able to bring out good performances from his cast, especially SRK. It’s time for him to move on from the Chopra/Johar camps.
Priyanka Chopra excels in a role tailor made for her. She looks gorgeous throughout the movie and kicks major ass as well. She is not made to look like a mere prop as she was in Krrish. If this movie does well, then she can actually feel proud because she did have something to do in the movie. The one thing lacking was her chemistry with Shahrukh. It was absolutely nonexistent. It would be better if they aren’t cast opposite each other again.
Arjun Rampal does a solid job with Pran’s role. He does not get much scope, but what else is new, but does good when he is shown. All these actors who were always looked down upon have ended up performing very well. This proves that no matter who Farhan directs, he will bring out a great performance. Arjun’s fans will be happy to see him in this avatar as he looks cool and kicks some ass too.
Boman Irani is brilliant as the police officer. We are used to seeing Boman in comedic roles, but he does an amazing job as the hardass cop. He was definitely the show stealer as he stood out in every scene he was a part of. He is one of the brightest and most talented actors in the industry and proves it yet again in this movie.
Isha Koppikar is totally wasted. She does not have much to do in the movie. You would hope that she would get a chance to prove her talents, but she is relegated to the backseat once again.
Om Puri is also a non factor in this movie. His role could have been played by pretty much anybody. It is pretty insulting to offer such a role to an actor of his caliber. The only positive he can make out of this is he got to work in a big budget project.
Kareena Kapoor is there for only two scenes and a song. She is basically there for the Yeh Mera Dil song. She does not provide the same heat Helen did. Surely, Kareena has looked hotter before and one expects more from Bebo.
When it’s all said and done, Don is all style and no substance. The movie lacks a good script and the direction is sub par. It moves at a slow pace, which will put off many people. The movie is, however, picked up by awesome action, good performances, and the twist in the end. If there is one reason to watch the movie, it is the surprise ending. It will surely shock and please everyone. If you have watched the original Don, it will surprise you even more. For those who have not watched it, they should check this one out as they won’t know what to expect and might like it. But the better option is still to rent the DVD of the old one and relive a classic. Don 2006 is an average fare and people expected much more after such hype and hoopla. Watch it if you have nothing better to do on the weekend.