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Nov 6, 2006

Movie of the week: Don - the chase begins again

Watched Bollywood director Farhan Akthar’s remake of the Amitabh Bachchan 80’s classic ‘Don’ a few weeks back (on premier afternoon, in fact). Expectations of this movie were almost nothing as I had never had the pleasure of watching the original, nor had any clue of how the plot would unfold (the advantage of watching on premier day).

The director’s previous 2 endeavours have been Dil Chahta Hai (DCH) and Lakshya. DCH is still currently holding strong on my top 5 list of the best all-time hindi movies – the defining aspects of this movie were the charming scriptijng, some innovative shots, a great team of actors, and last but definitely not least, a star director. I was heavily impressed by the debut and it was with great anticipation when I saw Lakshya. Bad mistake – every time I’ve watched a movie expecting a big one, I’ve always been disappointed.

The first half of the movie was slightly dragging especially Don’s encounter with Kareena Kapoor’s character (perhaps to pay homage to the original). Deciding to meet on a beach to conclude a business transaction might have also been a bit contrived. But it was the multiple shots of the action scenes (see editing) that caught my attention. The fight scenes never faulted through false shots (not usually the case, esp. in Malayalam movies ;) ). Every punch, throw or movement of a car seemed as real as can be through some slick editing that showed just enough to keep the intention sensible. This technique has been perfected in English movies for a while now, and more recently in Tamil movies (‘Gajani’). I thought a few of the stunts may have been copied from somewhere, but I might be mistaken...

The music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy was fantastic. Another attempt at paying homage to the original by remixing its music (I wouldn’t really call it a remix as each song or score had a fresh originality in it). The use of techno music in the theme and in a couple of scenes in the movie is sure to strike a chord (intended!) with the modern generation (ala DCH).

The locations were superb. Malaysia looks like a paradise. The dialogues, I thought, were simple and to the point. The Don’s little one-liners like ‘Don ko pakadna mushkil nahin… namumkin hai’ etc. etc. were humorously classic (excuse the expression, can’t think of another better description). I have a feeling the script-writers may have pulled it off the Chuck Norris website ;)

The best part of the movie was obviously the ending. Don’t worry – no spoilers here. Credit to the director for pulling off a ‘James Bond’ style movie, with ample twists and turns to keep the audience on their toes till the end. The authenticity of the movie has definitely set a new standard in Hindi movie-making. Here’s hoping for a lot more on similar themes.

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