Planet Bollywood
Don - The Chase Begins Again
Producer: Ritesh Sidhwani / Excel Entertainment
Director: Farhan Akhtar
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Arjun Rampal, Ishaa Koppikar, Kareena Kapoor, Om Puri, Boman Irani, and Chunky Pandey
Music: Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Midival Punditz (Guest)
Lyrics: Javed Akhtar
Genre: Action
Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Film Released on: 20 October 2006
Reviewed by: Shruti Bhasin  - Rating: 7.0 / 10
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Public Rating Average: 5.12 / 10 (rated by 411 viewers)
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  • 2006 has been quite the year for movies . . . one trend in particular, sequels, have already proven to be box office hits. In the next year we will be flooded with remakes of old classics and to begin we have the remake of the 1978 Don, which ultimately turned Amitabh Bachchan into the Baadshah of Bollywood. Does King Khan do justice to the role? Luckily, we have Farhan Akhtar at the helm of this venture, whose first two films have proven that he truly comes from a talented family of writers (Honey Irani and Javed Akhtar). Does the young filmmaker succeed in this ambitious remake? Lets take a look . . .

    Whether or not you are familiar with the story of Don, one thing is for sure, this film is full of action and many plots and twists (especially the climax that catches you off guard). The Don (Shah Rukh Khan) is part of the drug mafia based in Malaysia and he is a dangerous man that is wanted in several countries; it is truly impossible to catch him. DCP DeSilva (Boman Irani) is on a mission to capture the Don but he seems to be having difficulty. His luck changes when Don is injured one time and then dies. He decides to send in a duplicate to secretly infiltrate the gang (without his department’s knowledge). Vijay (the looakalike Don) is sent in with a memory loss and as he slowly gains information, the Don’s memory begins to come back.

    Within the gang there is also Roma (Priyanka Chopra), who is waiting to kill Don for the murder of her brother and fiancee (Kareena Kapoor). When she learns that he is really Vijay, she helps him to get a valuable disc (with all the mafia’s contacts, accounts, etc.) to DeSilva. But unfortunately, DeSilva gets killed and Vijay’s identity is buried forever as he cannot prove his innocence.

    In the mix, we also have Jasjit (Arjun Rampal) who is searching for his son (whom Vijay took care of while he was in jail for a false robbery charge) and helps him eventually to get the disc. Is Vijay able to prove he is the duplicate by getting the disc to the police? You have to see Don to get the answer.

    Word of advice: watch Don as if you have not see the 1978 classic . . . because despite the loopholes in the screenplay, you are entertained by the movie. Shah Rukh Khan infuses life into the Don and is truly a character of many talents, ruthless, and cunning. Top marks to him for playing the Don and Vijay effortlessly. Priyanka Chopra looks gorgeous throughout the film and does justice to her character Roma, by not going over the top. Boman Irani shows his talent as a serious actor and villain. Pawan Malhotra (as Narang) is fantastic. Unfortunately the rest of the characters are underdeveloped such as Jasjit, Ishaa Kopikkar (playing Anita, Don’s girlfriend) and Om Puri (as inspector Malik), who is completely wasted in this lacklustre, miniscule role. At least Kareena Kapoor adds glamour to the ‘Yeh Mera Dil’ song.

    Technically, the film tries to hard to show a few frills, with too many thrills, especially the action scenes, which get exhaustive after several minutes (although the opening sequence in Paris is enthralling). When Farhan Akhtar wrote the script, did he not think that the audience would have several questions after movie ends such as: How does DeSilva know Vijay? How does Vijay learn Don’s mannerisms and how does know martial arts? How does Jasjit know to go to Malaysia to search for his son? Wouldn’t simpleton Vijay be scared to jump out of a plane?

    Even the music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, which is average, seems forced into the movie at periods where a song and dance are unnessary (like Khaike Paan Banaraswala). Out of all the songs, Yeh Mera Dil and Aaj Ki Raat stand out on the screen. The background score is perfect for the theme of the movie.

    The Don has a new twist at the end and its truly the best part of the movie, however, would the film have worked if the screenplay stayed true to the original? The answer is yes and no. As mentioned the action scenes take away key questions that are unanswered, which would’ve made the film a more polished product. At least 15-20 minutes need to be edited out to leave a stronger impact.

    Farhan Akhtar is a talented director and manages to 1) get Shah Rukh to play the Don to character and 2) create an original ending that is unpredictable. Unfortunately, he rushes the first half up to the interval and makes the second half tedious upto the climax. Dil Chahta Hai remains his best film to date, but in the next few years, we are sure to see more interesting movies from the young filmmaker.

    The Don of the 21st century is stylish with flaws, yet, you do enjoy the experience of watching it in the cinema. So check out Don as a film you’ve never seen and don’t forget the popcorn!!!

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