Remaking the Amitabh Bachchan classic DON was a risk in itself. Not only because it is one of Bachchan's most iconic characters, but also because films like SHOLAY, DON, AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY, DEEWAR, TRISHUL, MUQADDAR KA SIKANDER [and many, many more] redefined the cinema of 1970s and 1980s. Farhan Akhtar accepted the challenge and attempted a successful remake of DON with SRK.
Paanch saal baad, Farhan and his team of writers decide to carry the concept frontward with DON 2. I genuinely feel that sequels shouldn't be attempted if you don't have an enthralling story to narrate. This time, Farhan chooses an entirely new concept, garnishes it with classic action, stunning visuals, giving it an international look and feel...Â¦ the intention is to make the second part superior and enhanced than the first. Also, the fascination for thrillers such as M.I., BOURNE and BOND series is pretty evident.
While one was abundantly aware of what the first part had to offer [since it was a remake], one is completely oblivious about what the sequel has in store. And it is this facet of the film that kindles colossal interest. You cannot tell what Don's next move would be. As the reels unfold, you realize that he's cold blooded. You can't mess with him. He's dangerous to deal with. He has an agenda. Ditto for Roma [Priyanka Chopra], who shares a tumultuous relationship with Don. It's a cat and mouse chase.
When viewed in isolation, DON 2 looks like the right package to woo the movie-going junta -- SRK in top form, a stylishly crafted story, pulsating and invigorating action and stunts. But it's not without its share of hiccups. In fact, the first hour and the post-interval portions of the film are akin to the two sides of the same coin. The first hour is bland, the second is energetic. The first hour is deficient in thrills, the second keeps you on the edge. The first hour disentangles at a languid pace, the second is feverish with several adrenaline rush moments.
DON 2 begins in Thailand and moves to Malaysia. Don [SRK] surrenders himself to the cops [Om Puri, Priyanka Chopra] and is sent to a Malaysian prison. There, he meets his old foe Vardhan [Boman Irani]. Don hatches a conspiracy to escape with Vardhan and they succeed as well. They reach Zurich, then Berlin. The motive is to rob the currency plates. It's an unfeasible task, but Don takes the help of a hacker [Kunal Kapoor] to accomplish his plans.
With DON 2, Farhan Akhtar reasserts himself as one of Hindi cinema's stylish storytellers. It wouldn't be erroneous to state that DON 2 redefines slick in Bollywood. But the film could've done with a tighter script. Besides, the writing is urban-centric and those with an appetite for international thrillers may take to the film instantly, especially the twists and turns in the second hour. Again, the conclusion to the story could've been simplified for the average viewer to decipher. Yet, all said and done, DON 2 mirrors the changing trends in Hindi cinema. Those with the conventional attitude or tilting towards the conservative form of cinema may find it difficult to absorb.
DON is also acknowledged for its vibrant and eminent dialogue. One can conjure up the lines from the original Bachchan starrer and in DON 2, the lines are in sync with the various guises and situations of the Don. The dialogue are masterly and the flamboyance with which SRK delivers the lines is what makes it exceptional. The lines are cooler, hip, zany, witty and at the same time, easy on the lips. They're sure to become the new catchphrases in times to come, like the one you recall even today: 'Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahin, na-mumkin hain'.
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, the trusted and prominent names in Excel's movies, dishearten this time around. In fact, the music is the sole sore point of the film. Sure, it has vigor and spice, but the wow factor is amiss. The film deserved a much, much superior score to match up to the standards set by Farhan Akhtar. Jason West's cinematography is dazzling. Filmed in Germany, Switzerland, Malaysia and Thailand, the film is visually enchanting. The action and stunts are spectacular.
DON 2 marks SRK's return to anti-hero roles after enacting such roles with flourish so early in his career. Recall BAAZIGAR, DARR and ANJAAM. He plays a wicked, debonair anti-hero in DON 2. The character he portrays is iniquitous and sinful, but attractive at the same time and SRK lives it up with gusto. Besides, SRK has also experimented with varied looks in the film, from a debonair looking guy to a person with unkempt hair and stubble. Without doubt, DON 2 is SRK's best action movie to date.
Priyanka revisits her character of Roma in DON 2. Not only is the character more evolved, even her performance is of a high order. In fact, she enacts the role of an angry, tough lady who means business with a vengeance. Lara Dutta looks glamorous and alluring, but her character lacks meat.
Kunal Kapoor is decent, though he doesn't really get the scenes to prove his credentials. An actor of the caliber of Om Puri is wasted this time. Boman Irani lends the right texture to his character. He excels yet again. Nawab Shah should hit big league with DON 2. He plays one of the baddies with conviction. Alyy Khan is natural, enacting his part with ease. Sahil Shroff has screen presence and stands out in a brief role. Hrithik Roshan appears in a cameo.
On the whole, DON 2 rides on star power and brand value. The film has a bland first hour, but the second half takes the film to another level. There's no denying that a cohesive script would've made a world of a difference to the film, but the tremendous hype, star power and the lucrative period [Christmas and New Year celebrations] will make its investors reap a harvest.