Well, almost a good movie!
Farhan Akhtar tries an Indian James Bond but why did he have to choose a script of an old Indian blockbuster for this purpose? Maybe he consulted his father Mr. Javed Akhtar to write such a script and he said why not pick up one from my old tried and tested ones! And in 2006, you are treated to a film that is based (well, almost!) on a script written in the late 1970’s.
“Don 2006” is stylish and is twisted and convoluted beyond the recognition of the 1978 Don. Any resemblances to the original should be considered purely coincidental in fact. That’s the way in which Farhan Akhtar has adapted the script. Any comparisons to the original will only make you feel worse having watched Don 2006.
So, let’s steer out of comparison mode but not totally. The story, atleast the major part, is based on the Don 1978. Don is caught by police (DCP) and replaced with a look-alike “Vijay” to infiltrate the group and pass on information to the police. Then in a rare turn of events, the DCP dies and Vijay is left alone to fight it out all alone. So far so good and even Don 2006 sticks to this. Well, almost!
Farhan Akhtar brings in his intellect here. He hasn’t considered the Don 1978 script to be sacrosanct. He has made massive changes to make it interesting. And succeeds to an extent too. But then, it raises so many questions in your mind that when you are out of the theater you are busy debating certain things with everyone around you that you are not exactly thinking whether the movie was good or not. Now, I don’t think that’s the way one would want to end this movie after so much of effort to make it more interesting.
The Kareena cameo is not choreographed well enough. Farah Khan can do good work to party songs and dance numbers. She is not your person to do “seduction” numbers. I mean Kareena danced like she wanted to make Don dance with her and not sleep with her! The Farah Khan ability comes out very well in the “Khaike pan banaraswala” song combined with Shah Rukh Khan’s energy, the song is a pleasure to watch. (Utterly out-of-situation, but as Farhan Akhtar says, “Don would be incomplete without the song” and I agree)
The movie could have been shot better. The blurry look doesn’t help the slick image that Farhan wants. Paris (the action sequence to introduce Don was shot here. Why? You ask? Because Don is an international criminal!) was shown in such a hazy light that I was rubbing my eyes to believe what I had seen! If you want the movie to look slick then please hire a good cinematographer. A Ravi K Chandran or a Santosh Sivan would have done very well. Who is Mr. Mohanan? All people with names ending with “N” don’t make good cinematographers! (P.C. Sriram for example) The worst piece of cinematography I have seen is of that sequence on the Petronas Towers.
The editing, the scenes jump from one to another. Especially the scene involving DCP, Don and Roma where revelations are made and suddenly next scene is Don is in the school. Looks like a rearrangement of scenes in the hindsight. It is definitely a very amateurish attempt to cover up the twists and turns. At many other places too, the movie jumps. Not at all a good sign of editing a movie. If I had to rate editing alone, I would have given it zero stars.
The direction, considering the potential of Farhan Akhtar, could have been better definitely. Personally, I didn’t like the way he had characterized “Don”. Don is a womanizer (that tilted head with winged hands caricature of the ballet rehearsal at Paris was enough to establish that) and he drools over girls dressed in bikinis. He is a courier boy who goes to deliver his own stuff to seal business deals. He is a criminal wanted by the Interpol and only 5 cops including two old cops are on this search. The police have no photo of the enemy (Vardhan) of Singhania (Don’s boss) but have a shot of Don with which he could have entered a modeling contest (Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahi, namumkin hai tho Vardhan ko Don bhi nahi pakad nahi paaya! Ab uske bare main socho!) Finally, Don is a small-time arms dealer who grew big because of the disintegration of Russia. Why is this required at all?! If he could have worked on his characterization a bit more, such stupid things wouldn’t have been necessary to convince us of the gravity of the situation. Anyways, Farhan Akhtar fails completely in characterizing Don – his main character, but succeeds in keeping us glued to the seats till the eternally long movie ends. (Is there some rule that all SRK movies need to extend beyond three hours or something like that?)
The music of the movie is a highlight that keeps us interested. Mainly because the songs are recycled from the past and made to suit today’s sound. But I have a problem with the title song. Shaan’s voice sounds too hollow to be a Don’s voice. A voice with slightly more gruffiness in it would have done the job better. Maybe Shankar Mahadevan himself should have moderated his voice around a little bit and sung. Naresh Iyer would have been a great choice for this song. The background music is catchy. Giving the movie a James Bond feel is the background music.
The stunts and the special effects department could have done better in the Air drop sequence or for that matter the Petronas towers sequence. Both of them fall flat. Like “Lakshya”s war sequences most of the stunts here fall flat. First, because there is not a strong enough concept behind it and second it is shot badly. Very badly. An out-of-context thought here: What was the white villain doing in the prison and the aeroplane? Why was he required? To tell us that Don is an international criminal? Why couldn’t Farhan Akhtar move away from the clichés (that usually surround a Salim-Javed script) and give us a convincing version of the original? Well he tried. And it worked. Well, Almost!
Shah Rukh Khan does his part. After “Swades”, he has tried a non-mushy mushy movie for which we should nominate this film to the Oscars. There is no trembling voice here. No smiles and teary hand-waves showing ‘tatas’. Probably, not having seen him in such a role for a long long time I thought he was about to change into the Karan Johar wardrobe any moment. No slow motion running. (He would be dead in that case! LOL!) Good pair of coolers he wears. Makes quite a style statement by wearing his tie inside. The only person who could have carried all this off was Govinda. Sad to see SRK substituting for Govinda. But no, credit where it is due. SRK isn’t as irritating as he is in his other movies. And so he has done his part.
Let me not talk about other performances as I would tend to disclose the plot in that case. Let me just say that Bomman Irani is not wasted while Om Puri is given nothing short of shit. Priyanka Chopra is pleasant. Kareena tries in vain to be sexy and dies in the process. Arjun Rampal limps his way for a fight scene with SRK. The cast is irrelevant in Don. Well, almost!
*Stay at home
**If you have the time to kill, go ahead, but not recommended
***Watch if you are a film buff!
****Go watch it on the big screen!
*****Don’t miss watching this one on the big screen! Avoid piracy!