Fourteen minutes into the film and SRK is found playing golf by the seashore. He strikes. And how! Knocks off his best man with the golf ball.
When Farhan Akhtar was quoted that the new Don is going to be "only style, no substance", I wondered what he had got himself into. Thirty minutes into the film and I know he can't spoil it from here. The plot is set. The characters are borrowed. And the stylists have done their job.
The film has received a mixed response. NOTE: Mixed, is a euphemism, here. Whenever a film's collections don't rise exponentially as they're expected to, a sugar-coated verdict - 'mixed' - is spread around.
What I liked about the film...
1. SRK is first rate as DON. He carries the role splendidly on his shoulders and Farhan's direction has kept in mind the 'King Khan' status he enjoys in the industry. In that sense, the role is tailor-made for him.
2. Mohanan's cinematography is ultra-slick. His earlier outing in Robby Grewal's Samay starring Sushmita Sen, was notable. He's succeeded in achieving the film's lead actors a sense of authority. The colour toning is generally grey, since throughout the film, the story line marches on the 'Evil v/s Evil' format.
3. Farhan Akhtar has borrowed the concept, but thankfully created his own version, since post-interval, the movie eludes the original screenplay. The twists and turns are swift and the racy screenplay does justice to the required tempo of the film.
4. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy's background score maintains the agility of the screenplay.
5. Supporting cast - Boman, Rampal, Priyanka Chopra are worth a mention. Boman Irani is turning out to be one of the most versatile actors in the industry.
6. And finally, the surprise ending. Goes with the promo line of the film - Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahin, na mumkin hai.
What I didn't like about the film...
1. The absence of clever humour is a disappointment. The chuckles during DCH...I hoped Farhan would do an encore of some sorts in DON. Black humour would have been perfect, here.
2. Isha Koppikar and Kareena Kapoor. Farhan's tried to keep up with the original DON's music. Perhaps not the right thing to borrow, especially when you know Kareena's put on weight. Isha is a waste.
3. The film can get confusing at times and that's one reason why family audiences are going to keep away from watching it for a second time. Blockbusters depend on the 'second-time-watch' potential. e.g Lage Raho Munnabhai, Rang de Basanti. I'm afraid, DON, doesn't satisfy the second-look quotient.
The film can bomb with good reason. SRK is never known for superhits beyond his conventional 'lover-boy' image.
e.g Asoka, One two ka Four bombed badly. Swades did average business. So did Abbas-Mustan's Baadshah. And off late, comedies (Lage Raho.., Phir Hera Pheri, Golmaal), romances (Fanaa, KANK) and 'leave-your-brains-at-home' action flicks (Dhoom, Krrissh) are the trend flicks that are doing great business.
DON's USP is its styling and packaging. While both can do enough to pull in the crowds, they cannot do enough to entertain.