Bangalore Film Society

DON The Chase Begins Again– Film Review

(In a world where people trust film critics like Gods, it becomes almost pointless to celebrate or rip apart any creative endeavor. Reviews that stink of financial motives more than the love of reviewing, reviews lacking in the most elemental liking, forget, love for cinema are the order of the day. It is cool to use flashy words to make yourself heard, irrespective of the content or the meaning that the words convey.

This is another of those reviews.)

DON is a good film.

DON is flawed. DON is cinema attempting to recreate cinema. DON happily agrees to be made in face of all the expectations and creates an undiscovered cockiness in the process. It is a pack of popcorn that you get in old-school cinema halls. You know you will find all flavors in the pack-salty, bland, and uncooked. But you still pay for the engrossing emotion.

The overpowering self-indulgence is used to the advantage in few frames; it almost oozes with the hormonal arrogance. SRK (Shah Rukh Khan) leaves his snobbish cockiness (seen disgustingly previously in Duplicate and one two ka four) to adapt a new attitude which makes him make reasonable leaps to attempt matching up to the real thing, if not redefine it. The film works another accidental magic- it is less detailed and lacks work in almost all the aspects, which is good for it given the thriller genre it attempts. Half-baked dialogues, confessions and revelations and connivances and threats lack the emotion. Works. Would you want to see the archaic characters spiting fury while they avenge to wipe all evil from earth in a digital avatar of the 70’s formula? Yes. No. Maybe. Depends. Cant say. Sorry?

The die-hard kitsch-on-screen lover will have the viewing high’s in the timeless lines done rather cheekily. The whimsical pleasure in deconstructing the conventional narrative seems to be the current favorite of Mumbai filmwallahs, and not many seem to be complaining. It is a fantasy with restraint and gives more attention and emphasis to the emotion than the actual goings-on. Cinema with this kind of attitude puts off more people than it impresses.

When treated like a fresh enterprise with no knowledge of the story, DON is a delight. It still manages to deliver in face of all the incumbent hype, which is mostly the case with all Diwali releases.

The story is so timeless and powerfully imaginative that one can hardly falter fully. And ‘fully’ is the operative here. So DON does falter, where- is for one’s own to figure out.

The magical moments stay with SRK’s effervescent and historical gaze into the camera, be it the lavishly shot title song, the re-entry of DON, his self-declaratory affirmation of authority or his take on smoking and women. He looks like he is breathing, loving and living the cheeky in-your-face-I-am-DON-I-don’t-care-if-you-don’t protagonist. His reel and real overlapping persona work for the film. DON is one spell of a concept where the imagery exceeds the goings-on.

One questions if SRK is still the King Khan on the screen as well. Yes and no. He is slowly losing the crown given his selection and suicidal associations in the circuit, but once you sit through a depiction of his entire armory of histrionics, the populist ‘fluid’ Bollywood hero who can be menacing, astounded, jiggle-friendly and maudlin in the same hour, you are made to convince yourself somehow of his claim to the top, strictly in the populist fervor though. It goes without saying that no-one has yet filled in the shoes of the original prankster and the effortless genius of the Bachchan of the 70’s. Farhaan Akhtar quietly does an honest attempt, and the singularity of vision and humility in accepting the invincibility of the original does reflect in places. Priyanka Chopra looks her contained and sartorial best. Arjun Rampal is focused and exudes a penchant for screen space. Isha Koppikar looks like a moll awaiting her retirement. Om Puri could be exploited for more humor. Kareena Kapoor doesn’t deserve a mention. Boman Irani is a notch above all the actors. This is what he is good at, instead of disguising in all possible Indian costumes in tasteless comedies.

DON is every ‘star’s’ dream role, and SRK almost glows with the realization of the timely milestone in his career, he lives the ambiguity, and all of it sparklingly translate and traverse on different receptive levels of Mumbai cinema.

Tushar Shukla