Sunday, July 15, 2007

DON (2006) - laughable

If Quentin Tarantino directed an old-school Bollywood action thriller, it would be like the original 1970s version of DON. That DON is a humungously popular flick starring Amitabh Bachchan and Helen. It has a kitsch sound-track, insane sunglasses and crazy-ass fight scenes. Seriously, if DEATH PROOF has you hooked, you should check DON out. Teasers and expos can be found here.

This 2006 remake is a different beast. It's caught between a desire to be all things hi-tech and a guilty love of all things 70s and naff. So we have polished stunts and glossy back-drops - namely Paris and Kuala Lumpur. But we also have disco-tastic outfits and dance sequences. The overall effect is as bizarre as the lead character's penchant for knitted ties and heavily patterned rayon shirts.

What's the plot? Director Farhan Akhtar remains faithful to his father's original script bar one crucial plot twist. As in the original, Don is a high-powered gangster being chased down by a vengeful hot chick and a wily copper. The hot chick infiltrates Don's organisation and soon becomes his trusted number two. Meanwhile, the wily copper has substituted a doppelganger street-kid for the real Don, in order to gain all of the organisation's secrets. Oh yes, and as this is a Bollywood flick, there is a regulation-cute street-urchin to tug at the heart strings.

So follows a lot of nonsense. Shah Rukh Khan is convincing as the street-smart doppelganger, but utterly unconvincing as a hard-as-nails gangster. Priyanka Chopra and Kareeena Kapoor are under-used in the female roles. Arjun Rampal is surprisingly okay in a smaller role but it is, once again, the multi-talented Boman Irani as the wily coppper, who gives the most credible performance. The tech package is decent but the 70s pastiche songs from Shankar Mahadevan are woeful.

In other words, the only real merit to this re-make is the unintended comedy. To wit, comedy gold like:

Don: I should've listened to what mother used to say...
other: What did your mother say?
Don: When I didn't listen to what she said, how can I tell you?

And the idiotic brilliance of a character who always refers to himself in the third person:
Don: Don's enemy's biggest mistake is that he's Don's enemy.
Don: People don't leave Don but the world instead...

DON went on cinematic release in October 2006 and is now available on DVD.

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