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Overall Rating

Awesome: 25%
Worth A Look: 0%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 3.57%
Total Crap71.43%

1 review, 22 user ratings

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by Abhishek Bandekar

"What a con!"
1 stars

I confess, I’d never expected Farhan Akhtar’s remake of the 1978 ‘I’m-too-cool-for-the-70s’ 'Don' to be even be a patch on the original. Farhan, for all his uber-cool style, is just not familiar with the tropes of masala Bollywood cinema. 'Don'(1978) not only achieved those masala elements but it also grasped the chic 70s filmmaking of Hollywood. The mix then was a spicy syrupy thriller with a dash of tangy hip-hop blaxploitation energy. And to top all this off, an engaging wack-a-chick-wow soundtrack and an effortlessly cool performance from Amitabh Bachchan. Farhan, given his obvious Hollywood-style leanings, is the wrong director to adapt the 'Don' of the 70s to this confused millennium, even though his father(Javed Akhtar) penned(co-written with Salim Khan) the original. Regardless of how poor I expected the remake to be, I surely did not expect it to be so bad as to make me want to leave the screening mid-way through it!

For the heck of it then, Don(Shahrukh Khan) outwits his enemy(a surprisingly effective Chunkey Pandey) in…PARIS! Yes, location number 01- Paris. As Superman wears his red undies over his pants, our Don wears his shirts over his matching ties! Costume designer Aki Narula impresses me NOT yet again after the flab-err-gasting costumes he did for Rani Mukerji in last year’s Bunty Aur Babli. Super-Don is a notorious henchman(really, he’s only a henchman) working for a certain Singhania(unlucky unknown ‘unactor’) and wanted by the police of 11 countries. But you see, “Don ko pakadana mushkil hi nahin…namumkin hai!”("Not only is it difficult ot catch's impossible") Ofcourse, the impact of this sentence is terribly lost when Shahrukh mouths it in his stuttering lover-boy voice, unlike the naturally unruffled baritone of Amitabh Bachchan. Hot on the trails of Super-Don is DCP D’Silva(Boman Irani), of the Indian Police. Location number 02- somewhere in India(introduced by a bullock-cart…talk about seeing India through western glasses). Super-Don, and his fellow Singh-a-song-ania employees Narang(Pavan Malhotra, wasted), Mac(Shakeel Khan, unexploited after his brilliant act in Ahista Ahista) and a muscular firang(in place of yesteryear’s baldy, Shetty), have made Malaysia their den to carry out their shady drug deals. Location number 03- some island in Malaysia. D’Silva pursues Super-Don till he finally catches up to him in Kuala Lumpur- you guessed it, location number 04! D’Silva is aided in his pursuit by Kamini(Kareena ‘I-think-I’m-too-sexy-for-this-cameo’ Kapoor) whose husband, Ramesh(wooden model, modelling wood), is killed by Super-Don. Super-Don kills Kamini as well, but not before engaging in an insipid remix of the classic song Yeh Mera Dil (My Heart)from the original made further worse by Kareena’s absolute cluelessness, and escapes from the clutches of D’Silva yet again. Roma(Priyanka Chopra), Ramesh’s sister vows revenge for the twin-murders of her brother and his fiancé. Roma, aka Junglee Billi(Wild Cat), cleverly becomes a part of Super-Don’s gang; but before she can kill him, Super-Don is finally caught by D’Silva who keeps it a secret and plants Vijay(Shahrukh Khan), a Don look-alike into the gang. This little secret is only between Vijay and D’Silva and nobody, including the police department, is aware of it. This creates the hook to the story, as when D’Silva is killed during a raid and Vijay’s identity is sealed as Don forever, and he has to run from the police(who think he’s Don) and from the gang-members(who know he’s not).

Vijay is a street-dancer in Mumbai(location number 05), who uses whatever little he earns to educate Deepu(overacting child actor), a young kid who’s lost his mother and whose father is missing. Deepu’s father, Jasjit(Arjun ‘I can’t act’ Rampal) is behind bars thanks to D’Silva who arrests him for a crime that he was compelled to commit. While in the original it is made clear that Narang compels Jasjit to steal diamonds, it is left ambiguous here. Moreover, in the original, Jasjit was shown as a circus trapeze artist; here he is shown merely as a master hacker/password breaker. This is a big mistake as the reason behind Jasjit being a trapeze artist in the original was to justify his tight-rope act later in the film. This blunder is highlighted when this time around Jasjit pulls off a similar act(albeit less dangerous) atop the connecting bridge of the Petronas Towers! Location number 06!!!

The decision to make Jasjit a hacker is just one of the many erroneous choices that Farhan Akhtar makes. An Indian dwelling full of UPites(and I thought bhaiyyas i.e. North Indians only migrated to Mumbai!) in Malaysia celebrating MahaShivratri (an Indian festival)with bhaang (a kind of elixir/liquor)& banarasi paan (a variety of stuffed betel)is another such stupid contrivance, and the two twists(one at intermission point and the other at the climax) are equally bad, especially the one at the climax which has loopholes bigger than craters on the moon.

The biggest mistake that Farhan commits has to be his deliberate dull treatment of the movie. Farhan’s Don is to the original, what any white-cop flick is to Shaft! Farhan injects the movie with heavy doses of valium, removing any chutzpah and pizzaz that the original possessed. The sense of urgency is lacking, and the movie tends to take itself too seriously…not having any fun in the process, and denying its audience of the same. The screenplay, trying to one-up the original, ends up becoming too convoluted for its own good and confusing the audience unnecessarily. I myself found the unexplained shuttling between Mumbai-Malaysia puzzling at times.

It is apparent why Farhan’s Don is so disengaging. Farhan’s intent here is not to remake a cult masala classic of Bollywood, but serve it in a Hollywood platter. The movie finds inspiration in everything from Mission Impossible to Face/Off, from Swordfish to 24, from Kill Bill to Con Air; but does not show any awareness of Bollywood conventions. The remixed tracks are hence a pain to sit through.

The performance of Shahrukh Khan is a new low for him, which is severely bad given his poor showing in this year’s Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna(Never Say Goodbye). It’s not a good sign when the audience calls out Ballu(the eerie negative character Shahrukh unsuccessfully tried to play in 1998’sDuplicate) when he’s trying to pull off a suave Don. But then Farhan has not understood the charming sophistication of Don. His Don flies like Krrish and fights in slo-mo like a Shaolin Monk. The original Don never even bothered to throw a punch! Priyanka Chopra is listless like the movie, while Boman Irani registers his first bland performance. Om Puri acts bad, looks worse! Isha Koppikar as Don’s moll is the only one who survives unscathed and interestingly seems to display an awareness of the exact masala elements that Don should’ve had, in her acting, body language and costume.

Super-Don is a super-bore and a super-insult to the wonderful 'Don' of 1978. Apart from the one instance of an inspired bit that tries to hint at Don’s involvement in the stealing of Edvard Munch’s Scream, there’s nothing worth recommending here. Do yourself a favour, watch the old one again than endure this.

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originally posted: 11/05/06 14:33:56
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User Comments

1/05/12 vaks2000 Awesome review....supercrap movie 1 stars
11/14/11 Rick What a garbage review....who allows this shithead motherfu.... to review stuff? I loved it 5 stars
8/05/09 brian Tons of cliches. Style over substance with cardboard-cutout characters instead of people. 2 stars
4/06/08 Preeti I think the new Don was far far better than the old Don.anyway if we have biased reviewers 5 stars
12/04/06 critic roshan i think the don remake was brilliant, new twists, great plot, great performances. 5 stars
12/03/06 Cosmic Conundrum "hats off for SKR" guess only a karan could say that 1 stars
12/02/06 Kushan SRK is finished, all crap movies (kank, swades, now gargabe DON). what an insulto original 1 stars
12/02/06 Darth Vader SRK is crap overrated actor.Hrithik,Sanjay etc rule.Nonsense movie.Waste of time 1 stars
12/02/06 Cosmic Conundrum Welcome back Mr. Bandekar!!! 1 stars
11/21/06 Deepika Yeah was theer ever a need to remake Don.As if any one can match up with the big B.SRK was 1 stars
11/20/06 ASHRAF ALL CRAB FILM 1 stars
11/14/06 Parv Yawn... 1 stars
11/14/06 Shakika Bs 1 stars
10/27/06 karan hats off for SKR 5 stars
10/23/06 mataprasad bore film bore actors 1 stars
10/22/06 ADITI bakwaas film hai bakwaas actor hai 1 stars
10/22/06 Darth Vader pretentious garbage and a bad advertisement for cigarettes and sunglasses 1 stars
10/22/06 manny awesome 5 stars
10/21/06 Rohit Awesome DON AJJ KA HI DON HAIN PROVED 5 stars
10/21/06 Rony Rashid Ultimate Movie u can compare with OLD DOn Bu Amitabh is a legend so no1wnt 2 put him dwn 5 stars
10/21/06 ashraf shaikh FALTOO FILM SHARUKH IS BORE ACTOR CRAB FILM 1 stars
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  20-Oct-2006 (PG)
  DVD: 07-Dec-2006



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