Don poster


wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)

Director: Farhan Akhtar
Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
More Movie Info

The entire movie, frame-by-frame, has been done extremely tastefully, an exceptional treat for the eye. Of course, you have to ignore Shah Rukh Khan and the exhibition of the many faces he is capable of making, through all of this. Fortunately, there is enough to distract us on the tour. Name it – cinematography, art direction, locations, action, special effects – all visuals have been done very skillfully.

Our brains though are taken for a roller-coaster ride by the storyteller. Yes, there are a few additional twists to the original plot. While some of them work and keep you interested, with others you are deprived of a satisfactory explanation.

The direction is classy in most parts. A few scenes are superbly executed – the one where Don meets Kamini (Kareena Kapoor), the one in which she is found dead, the one in which Jasjit (Arjun Rampal) is asked to do some work for the goons. Then there are others that could have been done better – the one where Vijay escapes while they are being transferred from one jail to another, the one where Jasjit is taking his child away from the gangsters.

Having expectations before seeing a movie can change the flavor of a movie, just like the food you eat changes the flavor of a wine. This movie would be much more enjoyable if you are not constantly comparing. But expectations are called for when you are paying a high profile tribute to a high profile movie. Comparisons with the 1978 Don are inevitable.

We have some cool new dialogues which add spice to the movie. Some loopholes from the first movie are smoothened out and a little additional back story fills in the blanks appropriately. But new loopholes and blanks crop up with the new situations. Let’s just say, the new story has its fair share of flaws too. I thought Chandra Barot’s Don was long and it dragged in the end. I was happy when a lot of sub-plots from the original were cut down, but was saddened very soon, with the new sub-plots taking up too much screen time. This time too the pace slackens in the last hour. You can’t have an action movie in this day and age slowing down in the end - that’s just wrong.

Granted, Shah Rukh has a lot to live up to, but all he needed to do was follow the master’s steps! Was there any change at all in dialogue delivery, intonation, voice modulation between Don and Vijay? In the Sauna scene, you see the Amitabh-Don oozing with confidence – the Shah Rukh-Don is just sitting there. You see constant suspicion, and rightly so, on Amitabh’s face in ‘Ye mera dil…’ – through the song Shah Rukh’s eyes are full of lust like that of a schoolboy, and suddenly he smartens up. You know Amitabh is satisfied and happy when he meets the children at their hostel, Shah Rukh is just regurgitating the lines. You sense fear in Amitabh’s body language when Zeenat Aman points a gun at him, not a muscle moves on Shah Rukh’s face in the corresponding scene. Maybe some of this can be claimed to be intentional, but all of it? That’s hard to digest.

The other actors have done a great job. Boman Irani seems to fit into any role that he takes up. Arjun Rampal needs special mention, why don’t we see more of him? The three ladies Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Ishha Koppikar do their bit suitably.

Though the songs are not the greatest when you are listening to them (again because you are constantly comparing) they have been picturised beautifully. The choreography is very good especially for ‘Maurya’. Shah Rukh oozes with energy when he dances and he has done a pretty good job with the rap-like singing bit in ‘Khaike paan banaraswaala’ too.

All-in-all, you have to bear in mind that when you go for a Mission Impossible or a Bond movie, you go more for the style and special effects than to see a good story or quality acting. Similarly, a trip to the cinema halls won’t be wasted when you go for this one; you are guaranteed a stylish product.

- meeta, a part of the audience

7 reviewers(?) - 2 yays 4 so-so 1 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Aparajita Ghosh, Apun Ka Choice : ...Farhan Akhtar does succeed in giving a just tribute to the timeless ‘Don’... full review

Thumbs up, by Shruti Bhasin, Planet Bollywood : ...Word of advice: watch Don as if you have not see the 1978 classic... full review

So-So, by Prema K., : ...ull marks to the cinematographer and the action director also.... full review

So-So, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...Let's just say, the new DON is body beautiful, minus soul.... full review

So-So, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...end up missing Pran too when you hear Arjun Rampal mumble and Zeenat Aman when you watch Priyanka Chopra jiggle.... full review

Thumbs down, by Deepa Galhot, Sify Movies : ...Shah Rukh’s box-office clout, the combined sex appeal of Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and Isha Koppikar, plus Boman Irani’s current popularity can’t save Farhan Akhtar’s Don from being slow and mechanical.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

3 readers - 3 yays 0 so-so 0 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by click here to discover a website

Yay! Thumbs Up, by elk velvet

Yay! Thumbs Up, by TimELiebe : twisty Glitzy Thrilling Action Movie With Great Songs - and Some of the Iffiest Morality Ever

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Don - Cast, crew, links

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Supporting Cast:
Action Choreography:
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Comments (11)

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Hey Meetu! Another movie we agree on! :) Yes, we liked this movie (and it sounds like you did, too), but it also had so many plot twists it either didn't explain well (or explain at all) that the whole edifice felt ready to collapse on itself.

Also, do you get the feeling That Last Plot Twist may have been added so Shahrukh Khan could say his performance wasn't lacking - that was the point all along? ;) Yes, I'm sure it was in the original script to differentiate it from the Amitabh Bachchan version, but it's kind of like something the great American Film Critic Pauline Kael said about a not-good Kirk Douglas gangster movie, where his character kept complaining about feeling old and fat - "He wants you to think he got heavy for the role."

Anyway, we liked it but didn't love it, too - and there was this weird vibe of the movie rooting for Don throughout, making him do awful villainous things but still treating him like the hero. Too bad you don't have a "Half-Yay! and Half-So-So" rating....

@TimEliebe ha ha ha...even I feel like I want more ratings in the scale some times. This was one of the first films I reviewed - Fourth if I remember right.

@Meetu - we're catching up...slowly. ;)

Yes, I feel that way myself, very much so when I watch a film like this one which I really liked - but can't say I loved or would recommend to anybody who isn't looking for twisty half-smart crime thrillers.

@TimELiebe :D I hear ya!

I was watching the original DON the other night (turned out I'd bought the DVD from NehaFlix before they got shut down) - and I had this weird moment early on, watching a young Amitabh Bachchan play Don, of thinking, "Whoa - he looks just like Abhishek Bachchan, but he's So Much Better!" It's the same way I feel when I'm watching Charlie Sheen, most of the time (though I think Sheen Jr. is a bit more capable of turning out a good performance than Bachchan Jr. is - or, well, he was anyway before he went all nutzo!).

Just wanted to say how weird, and impressive, it was to see Amitabh Bachchan play Don and Vijay - and now I see how SRK's performance was so disappointing to you....

@TimELiebe :D Though I must say I like SRK's Don better than Big B's.

I don't think Amitabh Bachchan's Don was meant to charm us as much as shock us the way SRK's was, Meetu? Bachchan's Don seemed more of a Very Smart, Very Cautious Crime Lord, rather than the Bugs Bunny Baddie SRK's was.


@TimELiebe: agreed that SRK's Don was made to shock us with the twist.

Amitabh's Don was a classic entertainer, with only purpose being to entertain. Coming on the heals of the biggest Hindi blockbuster ever i.e. Amar Akbar Anthony, and being released in a month of 4 consecutive Fridays with AB releases viz. Kasme Vaade, Besharam, Don and Trishul - Don gave a tremendous boost to AB's already super star status. To couple with it the song Khaike Paan Banaras Waala was a mega hit of the year - topping all (only one in that age) charts. And in those days, a Hindi film with a super song was a guaranteed formula for being a super hit. People would go to watch an entire film just for the song (bear in mind VCRs were not yet available).

Amitabh's Don in that sense was a full on entertainer and a massive blockbuster of the year.

@Fan - thank you very much for that!

As I've said before, we've only recently been watching Indian movies enough for me to have a real opinion on them - and those are mostly recent ones with a handful of "Bollywood Classics" like DDLJ and Amar Akbar Anthony. (My wife will never forgive me for subjecting her to the mind-roasting lunacy of the musical number "My Name is Anthony Gonsalves" - with Amitabh Bachchan coming out of a giant egg in top hat and tails! The rest of us, of course, loved it....) So what we know of Indian film history is mostly picked up by what modern movies say about them - like the prevalence of Sholay posters in any film set in the 1970s or 1980s, snarky references to Devdas as a drunken loser, a female character teasingly referring to a gloomy male as "Bachchan"....


@TimELiebe: you are most welcome.

Thanks agin, @Fan.

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