Don 2, Shah Rukh Khan

<Review by: Tushar A Amin>

Directed by Farhan Akhtar. Starring Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Boman Irani, Lara Dutta, Kunal Kapoor, Om Puri.

Watching Don 2 is like channel surfing between HBO, Star Movies, Sony Pix and Movies Now on a typical Thriller Thursday night with Shah Rukh playing Agent Hunt, Officer John Maclane and Danny Ocean rolled into one. Shah Rukh Khan’s sheer conviction in his own wicked charisma makes this bastardized hybrid-clone thriller worth one dekko.

Your reaction to Don 2 will depend entirely on what brought you to the movie. If it was your craving for a ‘stylish’ Bollywood thriller (you know what that means) that lured you in, you are bang on the money. If it was Shah Rukh Khan’s return to villainy, you will be more than satiated. But if it was Farhan Akhtar’s name on the billing that raised your expectations, let’s just say, “You’ve been served!”

Ripping off elements form thriller franchises like Ocean’s 11/12/13, Mission: Impossible and Die Hard, Don 2 spins a yarn around Don’s (Shah Rukh Khan) plan to steal the plates for printing Euros from a German bank vault. He ropes in Vardhan (Boman Irani), tech-guy Sameer (Kunal Kapoor) and a band of thugs to execute the heist. All along, he has Roma (Priyanka Chopra) and Mullick (Om Puri) pursuing him. How he gets past Vardha, Roma and the baddies and walks away with the plates forms the rest of this uninspired film.

There is nothing in the movie that you haven’t seen in one of the Hollywood flicks mentioned above. But then, proving that Bollywood can do what Hollywood does, seems to be the point here. The simple mantra seems to be: Borrow elements from their films. Hire their cinematographer and stunt coordinators. Shoot in their playground. Then let SRK’s wicked charisma work its magic.

As a result, Don 2 is all style, stunts and Shah Rukh Khan. If you are looking for a clever plot and character dynamics, abandon all hope. The plot, the characters; in fact, everything else, are just a prop for Don (Shah Rukh Khan) to smirk, swagger and spout third-person self-referential ‘donisms’ (read, inanities). Only Shah Rukh Khan can carry these characteristics off with such élan and conviction. He looks uber-cool in the long haired avatar – lean, mean and menacing. The lines get tiring after a while, but that’s part of the myth and you have to grit and bear it. The rest of the cast has little to do. After playing 12 roles in What’s Your Raashi and sporting seven looks in 7 Khoon Maaf, Priyanka Chopra scores another first for a Bollywood heroine. She gets the first high-octane car chase. Now, that is awesome. The ‘jungli billi’ sure is demanding what’s long overdue and getting it.

The film severely lacks in the humor department. The ‘donisms’ are plain lame and the overall writing is plain lazy. There is just one song in the film (and one with the closing credits) and the music is uninspired. On the technical side, the stunts are at par with the best and the cinematography meets international standards. The editing is patchy, crisp in parts and saggy in others. As for Farhan Akhtar, while the film is slick in trademark Excel style, the sheer unoriginality of the film is a huge let down. This is a film so much in awe of itself, it is evident the makers thought they had done enough. There is a term for this phenomenon: hubris. Honestly, an Abbas-Mastan thriller is more gratifying than this one when it comes to dramatic twists and turns. Watch it knowing what you are in for. You just might forgive it all for the sake of Shah Rukh Khan.

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