DRONA is a big film in all respects -- big stars, big canvas, big expenditure on SFX, big ad spend, big expectations. Sadly, it's a big, big, big letdown as well.
Fantasy/adventure films are a rarity in Bollywood. Actually, you want to laud Goldie Behl for being courageous, for venturing into a lane that's rarely visited by dream merchants here. But the screenplay is a complete mess. In fact, if at all there would be Razzies in Bollywood, the three writers of DRONA -- Jaydeep Sarkar, Rohini Killough and Goldie Behl -- should be nominated proto for coming up with a sloppy and slipshod screenplay.
What saddens your heart is the fact that the Lullas of Eros and Shrishti Arya, the producers of DRONA, have spared no efforts in giving DRONA a spectacular look. The vision is perfect, but how about narrating an absorbing and attention-grabbing story? You remember DRONA for its striking visuals, not storyline. It's like embellishing priceless and precious jewels on a mannequin.
What's wrong? Goldie Behl and his writers can't decide if DRONA is a superhero film or fantasy. Although the makers have been maintaining all along that it's not about a superhero, the fact is, it is. In DRONA, the protagonist does everything that a superhero does. However, the lead character would only look more powerful if the anti-hero is equally authoritative. Surprisingly, the negative force here [Kay Kay Menon] is more of a buffoon than a villain.
More minusses! Dhruv Ghanekar's music is a big yawn. The tunes are listless and the placement of songs is equally jarring. Also, the length is a problem. You wouldn't mind a 3-hour film even today, provided it has the power to keep you glued to the screen. In this case, the 2 + hours seem never-ending. The film goes on and on and after a point, you actually want to scream, 'Enough!'.
In a nutshell, DRONA disappoints and how!
Little Aditya has never known love. Brought up by a foster family, all he knows is taunts and humiliations. Aditya [Abhishek Bachchan] grows up. Enter an evil sorcerer Riz Raizada [Kay Kay Menon], a descendant of the Asuras. He is desperate for a precious secret -- the amrit. But to lay his hands on the amrit, he will have to defeat Drona. Problem is he doesn't know who Drona is.
One fateful day, Aditya and Riz come face to face. Riz notices the kada that Aditya is wearing and recognizes him as Drona. Riz's men chase him, but he's saved by Sonia [Priyanka Chopra], who makes Aditya realize his true identity.
Sonia takes Aditya to his birthplace, to his mother, Queen Jayati Devi [Jaya Bachchan]. Aditya gets to know his roots, but Riz and his army catch up with him. Thus begins Drona's journey...
Given the fact that DRONA rests on a thin plot, there's not much that director Goldie Behl can do to salvage the show. Yet, Goldie has executed two sequences with style. In fact, these two sequences stand out like an oasis in a desert. The first, when Kay Kay turns Jaya Bachchan into a statue. The second, the train sequence. Awe-inspiring sequences!
DRONA is also high on VFX and a couple of sequences are well implemented. Note the petal storm towards the latter part and also the one when Kay Kay drags Priyanka into his yacht. Sameer Arya's cinematography is, quite surprisingly, inconsistent this time. The lighting is too dark at places. The production design [Tania R. Behl] is innovative.
Jaya Bachchan is grace personified. The only regret is, she gets less footage. Abhishek does very well. He plays his part most convincingly. Priyanka's introduction is fantastic, but her 'Babuji kehte hain' dialogue gets on your nerves after a point. Kay Kay fails to impress. Navneet Nishan hams.
On the whole, DRONA lacks soul. At the box-office, the publicity blitzkrieg might ensure good returns in its opening 4-day weekend, but the cracks should start appearing sooner than expected, since the film fails to keep you hooked. Its fall is imminent!