I watched "Don- The Chase Begins Again" last night. It was a disaster, relatively speaking (relative to the original). I could have spent those three hours watching a Real Madrid match where they defeated Barcelona, or I could have watched Schumacher pull out a real good one to end up at fourth, when even the stars were against him. But, however, alas! I watched DON! A meaningless chase.
First up – the background score sucks . Too loud, too "not-required". Unlike what he could achieve in Lakshya and Dil Chahta Hai, Farhan Akhtar and team have gone completely berserk with the background score of Don. Its jarry, incoherent and so distracting. And yes- distracting, the movie is!
Starting off with the golden scene where Amitabh picks the phone only to say - "Don!" in his deep baritone, and replacing it with a K.K.K…Kiran kinda Don voice (c'mon! you can't really compare the baritone of Amitabh's voice with Shahrukh's baby voice, can you?). Every dialogue then-immortalized by Amitabh goes begging for some more justice! SRK is just not there! He does have a strong screen presence. But that's where the similarities end. Don probably was written for Amitabh. SRK cannot be force-fitted in such a role. Just as I find it difficult to imagine Harish (remember, Prem-Qaidi, debut movie with Karishma Kapoor!) beat 20 guys at one go , I find it difficult to see SRK do justice to Amitabh's Don. For me, the movie will always remain – "Amitabh's" Don!
The songs are a disappointment . Morya re is probably the pick of the lot. Ye Mera Dil is not there. Simply because the song has such strong memories of the ethereal Helen dancing the way only the Apsaras of Lord Indra's court (religiously speaking) could! Kareena Kapoor does not look as hot , as luscious, and certainly, not as flexible. I could not understand why that Don did not give in to the temptation completely. But this Don, I understand. He just didn't get a good deal! Thank God , she is not there for too long. She looks a sack of potatoes moving around with great difficulty. Aaj ki Raat and Main Hoon Don are just ok. But the music arrangement could have been a little less obtrusive. Khaike Paan does not have the same punch that Kishore da packed.
The movie might have sold off well had it been an independent creation, simply because its brilliant in cinematography and editing. Technical details are well taken care of. Action sequences are involving and pretty much at the international level of film-making. The end is interesting and it leaves a lot of scope for a sequel. The first half of the movie puts you off because you compare almost every shot of the movie with Amitabh's Don. The second half is Farhan's creativity- but a little lost! Its difficult to retain the flair and flavor of the original Don , unless you retain the story. Farhan, to that extent, has fallen into the trap of trying to beat the excellent.
Lets do one on one comparisions –
- Amitabh Vs SRK – no comments! It will be an insult to the Big B!
- Chandra Vs. Farhan – Chandra was/is a no-name beyond Don. Farhan has DCH and Lakhshya , two amazingly well made movies. Vote for Farhan. But in the case of this movie, Chandra has kept it taut and flowing, while Farhan has succumbed to the pressure of altering the classic to show his creativity.
- Zeenat Vs. Priyanka Chopra – I am inclined to vote for Priyanka. While I do think the modern Roma had a more curtailed Role , compared to the old Roma, I think Priyanka has looked good, has acted well and has timed her expressions well.
- Salim-Javed vs. Farhan – Legendary S-J were the gods of Masala movies. They knew how to weave it all together. I think it would have been their era when RJ's on vividh bharti started explaining movies this way – Isme action hai , emotion hai, drama hai, suspense hai, thrill hai, romance hai aur song and dance bhee hai! Dekhna na bhooliye apne nezdiki theatre mein!! Farhan's biggest problem was trying to better a script written by the legendary duo. Farhan is good at natural expressions , and not at grandiosity of emotions. Don is not about subtlety. Its about magnanimity of that one character jise 11 mulkon ki police dhoondh rahi hai!
- Iftekhaar vs. Boman Irani – vote for iftekhaar. Iftekhaar was the traditional Indian cop who knew how to underplay himself while keeping the emotions/expressions natural. Boman , has a bigger role than iftekhaar and a different shade to it, but he is not in the same league this time.
- Om Shivpuri vs. Om Puri – Actors like Om Puri should not be wasted the way he has been in this movie. He could have taken one of the more meatier roles (maybe DCP De Silva or Narang). Lets not compare. Both are good!
- Narang and the side kicks – Mac and Narang are two characters everyone remembers. They are like the sambha and kaalia of sholay. And I missed the originals. They were better. New Narang (Pavan Malhotra) hardly looks menacing.
- Arpana Chudhrary Vs. Isha Kopikkar (Anita)– The character of Anita had more emotion and meat in the older version. Maybe , Farhan is saving Anita for the sequel.
- And finally, Pran Vs. Arjun Rampal – Whooooooooooaaaahhhh… There are times when I wonder if Pran was/is better than half our star lot put together. Pran had charisma, personality and an extreme amount of versatility in his performances. Arjun doesn't look half as suffering/determined as Pran looked.
All in all – watch it if you are totally madly in love with SRK, or if you have absolutely nothing to do. Otherwise , I would say – rent out the original Don DVD (buying might be a good option) and Ensoi!