Don - the review1Came back to Pune this morning and went straight into a showing of "Don" 2 (I love watching movies in the morning, even if I end up doing so alone). It was really a "cool" movie and highly recommended if you haven't seen it. A few words on the movie for everyone's benefit.
Now, of course, the story isn't quite new and we've seen the similar theme before3. But there are variations and twists in the tale that are worth your attention. It's a fairly tight suspense drama, but with the usual Bollywood garnishing of song and dance. But unlike the insipid film fare, the songs are nicely placed and provide just the right kind of relief. Some of the songs, such as "Mai.n huu.n ##Don##" are even integral parts of the storyline.
The action was a bit of a let-down - it gets a little silly towards the end. But perhaps that is in keeping with the original Don getting the more meaner fights than his replacement in the later half of the movie. The story and dialogue, however, are really good. You will spot many of the stock filmi scenes and developments, but on a few occasions, they were not quite so predictable. The bumping-off of Don early is a surprise if you don't know anything of the film. Also notice small touches such as when Shakaal admits to Vardhaan to having spilled some of the beans fearing for his life. In other films, there would have been a price to pay for the erring sidekick, but the fake Malik takes it in his stride. Also, the suspense is unbroken till fairly late (an achievement) because of him allowing Vijay to try and prove his innocence. And dialogues like "mai.n tumhaara dus minute chaahataa huu.n. paa.nch minute tumhaari piTaai karuu.ngaa aur baaki paa.nch minute tumse sawaal karuu.ngaa" are vintage Salim-Javed. The villainous bunch were not really setpieces (except for Anita) - Narang, Mac played it very believably. Also, the idea of a suave yet notorious Don was quite pathbreaking, IMO.
The acting is really good, with the characters of Don/Vijay, Roma, Vardhaan and DCP De Silva not wasting their time in getting down to business. Jasjit is definitely parody-material, what with the flared shirts and men-in-tights look! Still, the scenes where Vijay and JJ criss-cross each other without realising the connections that bind them were well conceived and executed. A few cribs of course: whatever happens to the real Malik after his brief struggle :-), the back projection in the corny rope-trick-escape, and what's with the all-purpose "Police Station, Bombay" board at the end?
Still, a great entertainer that doesn't overload you with its suspense and neither does it sag. Neither do the "all the hero needs to do when encircled by baddies is to leap backwards into the air" conventions annoy. A rare feat for a director with not much experience. A must-watch on the all-time list.
Update: am in the unhappy position of explaining my jokes (again!). I haven't seen the new Don - this is merely a cheeky review of the old one as I saw it the same day. I did say SET-Max channel below!
1: should probably be "anti-review"?
2: it was telecast on the SET-Max channel at 9 am today
3: the doppelganger-infiltrator theme has been explored, though in an even more sophisticated fashion, in "Jewel Thief"