You can add state of the art technical visualizations, change the setting from Kandivli to Kuala Lumpur and replace old wine by newer tequilla shots but for God's sake dont change the central character and the theme of an iconic movie. The slicker Don comes with all the hyped brouhaha but leaves little less than dust for its disappointed audience.
SRK ... well not being a fan of this man is considered tabboo nowdays. But so be it. I dont know why I changed my mind and decided to view a SRK movie. I guess it all started at me being at fault rather than the movie.
This movie is all about misfits. Lets start with Iftikhar saab as the redoubtable DCP Dsilva. If there was a need for a role of a cop in yesteryears, Iftikhar saab was the sole candidate. And Don was by far his most convincing role as a cop. Boman Irani, is a man of many virtues and as much as I like his genre of acting, I sincerely feel that I need to send him some flowers from Lage Raho. This should serve him as a wake up call. Boman Sir, please no more injustice to you as an actor. Please choose better roles or if a good role comes by, make sure you have your boundaries set.
Next comes, Le Diva, or atleast supposedly so, Madam Kareena Kapoor. I am sure Salim Khan's family must be having a blast this Eid looking at the way Kareena tried to match the sensuality of the evergreen seductress .. Helen. Farhan Akhtar needs to be informed ... there can be no Amitabh Bachchan Part 2 in the same way as there can be no Helen Part 2. Kareena fails miserably and takes special help from her cleavage to bring about some sensuality in the song. I dont understand why she was continuously crawling on the floor.
Arjun Rampal ... hmmm ... in the role of JJ. Man, I didnt know such people exist. A password hacker, supposedly a software engineer, an acrobat who can climb buildings, a lame guy who can cross the Petronas towers despite being physically handicapped with his son in tow and to top it all, great physique and a haute personality to boot. Compare that to Pran. I dont need to go into this. This can be the mother of all misfits.
Narang ... Pavan Malhotra ... some people are made for Nukkad kind of roles but not while replacing the irreplaceable Narang from the old Don. Besides being the sidekick of Don, Narang also made sure that all plans were executed to a nicety along with boosting Don's ego now and then and most importantly ... expressions my dear friend. I dont blame Pavan Malhotra. Dude I have seen you act in serials, you are great, but pardon my nonchalance regarding your character. For me, Nukkad still rules over the new Don.
Finally, SRK himself. Its not too tough to come to terms with the fact that he is putting immense pressure on himself to deliver all dialogues like the Big B. Thats but natural. But that he maintains such a miniscule difference between Don and Vijay that you never realise that its Vijay and not Don. I know there will be comparisons practically for every little thing between the old and the new version but some things are better followed, to remain iconic than to reinvent. The first scene after the Ganpati scene makes you pray to the almighty and say ... "Please be yourself SRK". He just cant make it through the UP accent and a Paan in his mouth. Plus, Don is portrayed as a street smart, humorous and happy go lucky types. What Big B did was carry on with his age old angry young man stuff, more to do with being callous. He infused terror by being constant with his mannerisms not by playing a DDLJ in a Don.
The story ... well lets say that you let a iconic film be just that ... iconic. Do not tinker about too much. The first half is close to 80 % similar to the first half of the older version. But the second half has quite a few surprises. Perhaps, thats when Farhan Akhtar started thinking ... I could have made a better Don had I been Chandra Barot. Wishful thinking, I must say. Consider the number of people he has let down. The audience, himself and last but not the least, Daddy dearest. Farhan Akhtar ... take a bow wow.
With so many twists and turns, you cant help but feel nauseated. There was a tinge of Jaani Dushman also laden with Don what with SRK and another badman fighting high up in air over a bag. This scene would have made Gonecase Buffoon proud. FYI, Gonecase Buffoon is an imaginary person just like this scene ... :)
The director has done an admirable job in making the audience realise that it has been 30 years since Don was made. He makes sure that the audience are tuned in to the changes in the last 30 years. A diary had been replaced by a CD, 200 odd rupees collected by Vijay after his Bambai Nagariya song has gone upto 5K after a Ganpati song, laptops have replaced files, key combinations of cupboard locks have been tranformed to high security vaults that have passwords and thumb impressions as means of authentication, Deepu and Munni have been replaced by just Deepu considering the expenses of bringing up kids nowdays and to crown it all .... our regular fight sequences with the background of Dhishum Dhishum have been replaced by kickboxing and the far east kind of fighting techniques. Its a surprise to see that everyone knows Judo and Karate.
Priyanka Chopra is pleasing, this being said by an ardent fan. She is the person who does maximum justice to any old character though even she isnt there totally. Isha Koppikar is a waste and arrogantly speaking, no match for Priyanka Chopra.
There are so many cons that I have very little space left for the pros. What I liked about the movie is the background score. It really tries to save a tattered storyline and inadequate acting acumen. People who have not seen the original Don may take an instant liking to the new one. To be honest, the new DON as an independent movie, isnt bad. Its just that when you start making comparisons, it doesnt remain good enough. The songs have been shot well and bear some kind of resemblance to the old songs though finding Bhaang in KL was a bit over the top. To be honest, I went to see the movie expecting a 90 % frame to frame copy. But I was pleasantly surprised in the 2nd half but the execution anywayz left a lot to be desired. You can predict some things if you are highly observant.
To conclude, the only bright points I took home was the background score, Priyanka Chopra, the trailer of Dhoom-2 in the interval and the fact that I was sitting in the front row ... coz no one would squeeze in front of us and make it to their seat ... :). One remake done ... Lets see what Sholay has in store .... I hope this trend of remakes dies sooner than later. So if DON revisits, dont welcome him. Cheers .. !!