Don 2 – My Review

I will get straight to the point – Don 2 is pretty good action thriller, where the hero is the script (very rightly so). Screenplay is engaging, never letting you breathe, and there is no point of restlessness. You watch each and every frame with attention, because you know some of this will be the answer to the twist which might come later. It is this anticipation of the twist and turns which is very important to engage any viewer, that keeps Don 2 always engrossing. And there are twists galore, most of which are unexpected. The climax twist is also unexpected till the very last scene, just before the end.I watched in 2D, and may watch 3D in coming days.

Story is basically the same as Don. Don wants to now save himself from the Europeun mafia who are after his life as he is ruining their business from Asia. The rest of it is better not told. The film gets you engaged right from the beginning, and the basic plot is quickly established. Don’s introductory scene is awesome and sets the mood & tone for the rest of the movie. The sole song is in the first 30 mins & gels with the movie, Lara looks amazingly HOT!

The movie then shifts from Asia to Europe, Don’s look changes and Europe serves as a fresh & scenic backdrop for another adventure. The other characters are introduced quickly and Hrithik’s cameo is very well thought. He’s doing what he does best, look godly, dance amazingly & behave mysteriously. A masterstroke from Farhan & his team of writers, to their credit, the cameo doesn’t appear gimmicky and is actually very well woven into the narrative. There are many action scenes, car chases which are really very executed and lavishly done. You actually feel that Don 2 is costlier than Ra.one!!

All the standard ingredients of a good engrossing thriller are present – blackmail, double crossing, chases, gadgets, heists, etc. Farhan has managed to rightly mix all these and come up with a good concoction. It is not something novel, but it is all well integrated and smartly done. The movie is Smart, which Indian thrillers rarely are, and it really keeps the audience guessing and watching every scene with the intention to figure out the big picture, the twists. And the movie still manages to surprise at regular intervals.

Of course, it is not the perfect film. There are flaws, like Lara’s character is totally wasted! She hardly has one song and 10 mins of dialogues. Kunal’s character is not well-etched and his motives are not really explained. Om Puri is given unintentionally funny dialogues to speak, his character is more of a caricature. But as these characters are sidekicks, the flaws are not noticable. The main characters, Don, Vardhaan, Jabbar, Roma do well enough. Aly Khan is also good.

SRK is the life of the film and his performance was the highlight for me. He looks really good after a long time, and his dialogues are witty, charming and cool. He plays the role with such nonchalance that you can’t help but root for him. His voice modulations, mannerisms, and expressions are apt and Farhan has managed to bring out the best in SRK as an action hero. Boman Irani is the surprise package and he shines. His role is the second most important in the film (yes, it is not Priyanka’s), and he does complete justice to it. His scene with the German expert doctor is awesome, making you laugh even while something tense is going on parallely. Priyanka Chopra does well with whatever is given to her. She is confused about her feelings for Don, and she portrays it convincingly enough. She could have looked better, but I beleive her look is more realistic compared to her character here. Nawaaz Shah does well, and I hope we see him more in villanous roles. Kunal Kapoor’s character is not well etched, but he performs with sincerity.

To sum up, Farhan outperforms himself with Don 2. While Don was a good movie only because it managed to fool the audience till the end, Don 2 is a slick & well executed complete package with continuously engaging screenplay and unexpected twists & turns. There are points where the movie slows down a little, but its followed by an adrenalin rush scene immediately to boost. The best action in the movie is undoubtedly the Car chase scene between SRK & Priyanka, and the most classy and well executed mysterious part is the Hrithik scene. Although the basic premise is of heist, the bigger picture is something else, and heist is used as means to achieve that goal. Don 3 might be on the way!

Guys, have a blast with your wives, gf, kids. I say guys, because this is completely a guy’s movie (and young girls). If you have loved MI, Bourne, Ocean’s etc., now enjoy Don-2.

PS: I think Don-2 is going to break this year’s opening records in UAE. It is having the max no. of shows I have seen this year. A single multiplex (Sahara Center in Sharjah) was showing 7 shows between 9.30pm & 10.30pm (Ra.one had 3 shows, BG had 4), and all were fully booked in advance when I checked 3 hours prior to the 22.30 show I wanted to go (except for first 2 rows!). I then called another newly opened theater which is normally always somewhat available, as it is situated far away from major population and is not an old big chain (Cinemacity @ Arabian Center). They had their 11pm show full and had just added another show at 10.25pm, and thankfully I got the last row seats for that show.  My show was almost full, except for the first 2 rows.

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Ra.one Movie – My Views (Spoilers)

Being an SRK fan is really hard these days. While his comptetitors have created history repeatedly, all SRK has managed is MNIK, apart from some really bad productions (AKK for example) & guest appearances. While MNIK was salvaged by the Overseas numbers, as an SRK fan, it was saddening to see so much potential in a movie squandered by a couple of instances of ridiculous screenplay. The consolation was that SRK outshone everyone & rose above the movie, and Johar was blamed for the lapses. MNIK managed to barely standup to the monstrous hits of other stars due to the overseas gross and a good opening.

To say that Ra.One carried the hugest burden on its shoulders would be an understatement. Ra.One was the 3rd Lifeline for SRK (4th & last being Don-2) as an Actor, and the biggest gamble by SRK the producer. With Screenplay credits also being shared by SRK, it was also a test for SRK the writer. Hence, as an SRK fan, it was scary because you could not blame anybody if the story, screenplay or visuals would be bad. But even that could not deter me from FDFS of Ra.one (good that it was Diwali, I had a reason for skipping Office!) with my entire family. It was also heartening to see 40-50 odd people in the theater on a Wednesday morning in Sharjah (UAE). Of course, I avoided 3D because I wanted to watch the original vision, not the converted commercial version. My philosophy is simple, if its 3D, it has to be shot in 3D. Its hard to ask that from Bollywood, but to take the 3D risk with my huge expectations was too much for me as an SRK Fan. I chose to play safe, specially considering my family too.

So the movie started with Shahana Goswamy laying the foundations with the virtual reality mumbo-jumbo which would make the basic premise of Ra.one believable (somewhat at least!). The very next scene was awesome. Although the SFX was subpar here compared to Hollywood, it was still good for Bollywood.  Khalnayak, Desi Girl & Li-trio made the scene worthwhile. Everyone laughed in the theater. Felt a sigh of relief as an SRK fan. First round was won!

Then came the first instance of Vulgarity. The teacher being shown as an S&M addict, and how the hell did SRK’s kid have access to the video? Why coudnt this have been replaced by a cleaner & more kiddish funny video to prove the point that the kid is a wizard? No excuse, SRK is the screenplay writer as well. Felt somewhat embarrassed with my mom sitting beside. The only silver lining was that the Vulgarity was short-lived. Somehow consoled myself that NRI audiences ke liye this might have been there – even though being one myself, I dint like it!

The dinner scene was funny and had emotional quotient. You could feel a father trying hard to get his son’s love & respect. It was weird though that the Son loved villains. Odd kid, they should have had some background for that. But I consoled myself – who the hell cares? There are always exceptions, and specially in movies! Then came another instance of Vulgarity, and this time it was worse than the previous one. Damn, why the key had to fall in the cleavage? Why not in a bald man’s wig instead? It would have been funnier and less vulgar. Another bout of sadness as an SRK fan. The worst part were the dialogues in the scene.

Thankfully after the above scenes the movie went on smoothly till Ra.one came out of the Game. Comedy worked, SRK as Shekhar charmed with the “aiyyo” tamil, and Kareena looked gorgeous. The Kid was restrained and natural. Tom Wu and his mom brought some laughs with the Jackie Chan portions. Ra.one & G.one formation was well explained, and the Game details animation was good.  One crucial thing was missed here. The powers of G.one & Ra.one were not explained at all. Like whether they could fly, what was behind their strength, any special powers, etc. This is a big mistake, I told myself. How can you have a superhero when you don’t know what makes him super? How can you have a bad-ass villain if the evil powers are not explained! It wasn’t enough to just state that Ra.one could take any human form, although I admit it was cool and novel. Come one man, there are more details on Ra.one website and they could have shown some of it! HART concept was nice, the same device would give you powers & make you mortal. Criminal song was nice. Although the big booties close-ups could have been avoided. All in all, it went quite well till Ra.one came out, but there was nothing so extraordinary yet.

Then came the extraordinary part, which took the film to another level. The 20 odd mins with Ra.one coming out, and killing Shekhar and taking the form of Akashi after killing him was thrilling and chilling. The action was awesome, SFX topnotch. The Funeral was well shot too with the nice song. Then came the best part of the movie (well it aint good if the best comes before interval). The  entire chase scene and G.one’s entry and the scenes thereafter took the film to an all time high. At interval, I was happy. Not ecstatic, because the couple of instances of vulgarity had dampened some of it.

Post interval, was surprised to see Rizwan Khan in G.one. Not a good sign this, I told myself. Thankfully, only an SRK Fan will notice it, I consoled myself. Then came the worst vulgarity in the movie, the gay scene. The blatant nipple display, the cheap expressions on the security guard’s face, damn it! They could have just seen KHNH, it had Gay jokes in abundance but wasn’t vulgar. I told myself, maybe the single screen crowd will love this, so the commercial angle might have forced this scene. You understand how a Fan’s mind works by now, don’t you!

The fight scene at the Airport was the second best scene in the movie. It was funny, entertaining and the Taxi driver’s antiques got some loud applause. But Robot-Chitti’s scene could have been better. Having said that, it was definitely good and this scene sustained the momentum of Interval. The portions after that were good timepass. But coming after the breathtaking pre-interval portions, they just couldn’t sustain the momentum. But my family and the crowd in general loved these scenes. G.One managed to make us all laugh with his antics. But kept reminding me of Rizwan constantly. One glaring loophole here, how come Shekhar’s death was forgotten so easily by the kid? How did the grief disappear so fast? G.one could not have done that for sure, I told myself. But hey, who cares, after all G.one is what matters when the movie is Ra.one. Shekhar’s mourning period was covered by that funeral song anyways, the fan in me replied. The karva chauth scene was cute.

Then came the two highlights of the movie. One, when Ra.one is reborn (or rebuilt?). Amazing VFX, surely the best in Bollywood ever and easily matching any Hollywood film. But I also wondered, why did Ra.one take so long to be reborn? They should have explained the catalyst behind Ra.one’s rebirth. No timeframe, no reason, no funda there. Hell, how does it matter, the fan in me said, just enjoy the best SFX in Bollywood man. Any how the hell did Ra.one travel to India? If they could show G.one acting all gay at airport, they should have shown Ra.one acting all brawny as well. Hell, at least some SFX could have been used to show how Ra.one used his evil powers to muscle his way to the flight by destroying the Heathrow Airport. Better still, they could have shown Ra.one taking the form of a sweet air-hostess and acting all lesbian with another air-hostess to take her place in the flight? That could have been awesome, G.one gayish and Ra.one lesbianish! But guess lesbian isn’t a tried and tested formula considered funny in Bollywood! Bet it would have been good for single screens though!

The second highlight, or course is the Chhammak Chhallo song. How come G.one started dancing all of a sudden? Maybe Shekhar had programmed it or some video might have been left in the “Shekhar folder” inside G.one? Nevermind, the fan in me said, this is THE CHHAMMAK CHHALLO! Then came the only genuine twist/surprise in the movie with Kareena becoming Ra.one (or the other way round, as your prefer). Masterstroke that. Then came what could & should have been the best action scene in Bollywood ever (it had immense potential). The train scene was really amazing, but I wish Anubhav had some more imagination, or for that matter, any one out of the 5 writers had used some imagination. The way the other passengers were saved by simply cutting off the link was an anti-climax. And why did SRK run along the train if he could just fly? Maybe they could have shown some fire coming out of G.one’s feet and shown him having a jet-propulsion to the driver’s room. That’s why I rued earlier, there ought to be some superpowers in superheroes. Running, jumping, etc. is common. We have seen that before. What was missed here was something novel, imaginative like Robot’s climax. SFX were great, but the only real bit of imagination came in the destruction scene of the Station. That was great, but not extraordinary. The SFX could have been more polished. It is of course unfair because I am comparing to Hollywood, for Bollywood it is by far the best even SFX. No two words on that. Still, for a movie to have spent 150 crores and not having the best SFX for the only really novel scene is CRIMINAL! The fan in me popped up again: for most of the Indian audiences, this is more than enough. But then why did the promotions promise so much? The fan said, thats what Promotion is for, to make promises such that you are lured to the theaters. Overall, 8/10 for this scene. The third best for sure.

What really killed the fan in me and made it silent was the Climax fight. Complete downer. And let me say this, worst possible final fight for any superhero movie ever made (Havent’ seen DRONA, so please don’t give that example). I mean seriously, what the fuck were they thinking after that almost awesome train scene? Or did they run out of money. Tacky Set piece, unimaginative hand to hand combat, really tacky 10 Ra.ones, and both shooting “Aag ka golaas” at each other. come on man, you cant forgive that. How on earth can Anubhav as a director have this scene, he’s had better scenes in Cash & Dus. The bullet flying slowly (gotta admit though that identifying the correct Ra.one was another surprise, dint see it coming!), isnt it all seen before umpteen times? This was the platform to showcase really cool one-to-one superpower battles and all they showed was hand combat? Fizzzzzzzzz.

All is well that ends well. Well Ra.one did not end well. Did I forgot to mention Satish Shah, Dalip Tahil and Mushtaq Sheikh? Duh, the fan in me never cared for them anyways, and I couldnt remember them while writing the above review because these characters were just props.

Sorry SRK, but fan in me is extremely disappointed. And this time, I cannot blame Johar, scriptwriters, whoever etc. SRK, you must take the blame this time for the sheer disappointment that is Ra.one. The only silver lining here was your vision, and your belief in the movie. Sadly though, the belief was on the wrong screenplay and bad climax. Still hats off to you for even attempting this, and matching Hollywood at places. Pretty good for any Indian action movie. Sadly, not good enough to be SRK’s dream.