Sunday, 25 December 2011
It was a chilly Saturday afternoon. Also an afternoon, I was anxiously awaiting for the longest time. After all, there I was perched on a seat inside a Noida hall, endlessly waiting for the curtains to go up and for the drama to unfold. Don 2, probably the most anticipated film of the year. Mainly for two reasons: 1.Farhan Akhtar had done a fabulous job 5 years back. Chandra Barot’s Don is a classic and its legacy is unquestionable. But Farhan, who is known to add his own perspective to his work(DCH and Lakshya replete with such moments) had offered us a slick, technically superior film with edge- of- the- seat moments.
2. SRK’s rendition of Don in the 2006 version was a testimony to the fact that the King Khan was not only the King of Romance but also the Guru of Grey characters.. The swagger, the smirk, the dialogue delivery everything catapulted the character of Don to the highest level of cinematic experience.
So expectations from Don 2 had reached fever pitch. But 30 minutes into the film, it glared at us with its borrowed yet flawed storyline, an even weaker screenplay and all hopes of Don 2 turning out to be a treat disappeared with a whimper.
The movie starts on a promising note, amidst the meandering backwaters of Thailand as the camera artistically zooms into the profile of the Don, now the undisputed king of the Asian drug cartel.His next mission- to establish his supremacy within the European drug mafia as well. All this while Roma (Priyanka Chopra) works on his sole mission in life- the put the Don behind the bars. Her character doesn’t evoke much interest in the film except a scene where her exposed back in a dance sequence with Hrithik (yes, he makes a cameo, and an annoyingly stupid one that is) which exudes her hidden sexuality.
Clearly, Don 2 lacks a story and is nowhere near the engaging thriller that Don was. Farhan, whose films always smack of superb story-telling seemed to have handed over the reins of direction as well to SRK. He dominates every frame right from the beginning till the credit rolls. He does have some riveting moments to himself, but his overpowering presence reduces Don 2 to little more than a SRK portfolio trailer that lasts more than 120 minutes.
The pace of the film, is slower than the government’s approach towards the Jan Lokpal Bill. The screenplay scampers at such a sluggish pace that even the breathtaking stunts and the daredevil action sequences do not evoke much response. Jason West’s camera work earnestly captures the picturesque town of Berlin. Never has Berlin been portrayed so extensively in a Bollywood film. West does a commendable job in capturing the globetrotting adventure as it kicks off in Thailand, and then unravels in Europe. Some of the stunts exhibited in Don 2 match up to international standards. But the SRK free fall from a Berlin skyscraper though sleekly shot, suffers from the MI4 Tom Cruise- Burj scene hangover.
The second biggest disappointment of the film closely following the heels of its weak script is the music. Though Don 2 does not give much scope for music to take centre-stage, but even the title track ’ Aa Gaya Laut Ke’ is a thumbs down. Shaan’s emphatic vocal cords had made the prequel’s title track a runaway hit. But Shankar- Ehsaan- Loy this time has failed in their department.
Don 2 honestly is a display of SRK’s histrionics. He lends a leaner and deadlier feel to the character with his swagger, his cocky smirk but is letdown by a heavily weak script. Priyanka doesn’t have much to do, as the script doesn’t have much scope. Kunal Kapoor back in the big league after a long time shows promise while the role of Lara Dutta who plays the Don’s moll is nothing more than that of an extended item number. Both the beauty queens have been wasted in the film. Boman Irani delivers an endearing performance yet again, and his versatility is the silver lining in an otherwise disappointing take of affairs.
In the end, a word of caution for SRK, Farhan and those willing to invest their (or their father’s) hard earned money on the film:
Dear SRK, it is time you stop taking your fans for granted. You were the very reason I got glued to Bollywood. But of late your films are giving birth to strong withdrawal symptoms when it comes to watching Hindi Films. Your star power is and shall remain unmatched. Please stop being insecure about yourself . Next time, give some space to the director.
Farhan, your films have always been uber, sleek, cool and a torchbearer of the changing times in our film industry. Don 2 was a colossal disappointment. Next time please have a story to tell. Remember, a story drives a film and a screenplay is the catalyst. Do have a word with your dad.
If you are an SRK loyalist, Don 2 warrants a one-time watch. But somewhere in the middle, if you are forced to yawn, keep it low. You might just wake up the person snoring away next to you!