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Friday, December 23, 2011

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(Published in The New Sunday Express dated 25 December, 2011, retrieved from

Cast: Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Boman Irani, Om Puri, Lara Dutta, Kunal Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan (guest appearance)
Director: Farhan Akhtar
Rating: 1 star
Yes, it is that bad. Don 2 begins as a pain in the nose – SRK’s new toy is 3D, and I groan at having to trudge back for the glasses and, worse, dig around for a twenty-rupee note. I was once a kid that got kicks out of arrows and water bottles being hurled at me in Kutti Shaitan, but thanks to poorly-executed 3D conversion in a plethora of films, I took off those glasses for far longer than I kept them on at Don 2.
If the plot of Don was twisted and implausible, the sequel is predictably twisted and resignedly implausible. The action sequences are tired re-enactments from old Hollywood and Bollywood films, and the one jump in the movie thrills less than the dive-from-a-cliff in the chick-on-a-horse-saving-women-from-gold-wastage-charges ad. Yes, I love that ad. And I prefer the plump model’s come-hither expression as she says, “BIS 916 hallmark” to the fiery glances Don (Shahrukh Khan) and Roma (Priyanka Chopra) exchange through Don 2.
We travel a lot – the French Riviera, Thailand, Switzerland, Germany – and if the movie had had the sense to stick to two dimensions, we may have had some decent cinematography to distract from the storynet – yeah, a pictorial representation would look like a couple of octopuses mating, and be far less interesting to watch too. For all the sketchily etched sub-plots, and the contorted trails of the fabric of the story, it’s threadbare enough to be entirely banal.
We meet Shahrukh Khan hair follicle by hair follicle, as the theme rings out. The theme is the most memorable part of the film – this could be the first Don movie in which every song is forgettable. Then, he cracks the first stale joke of the film, asking a bunch of mafia dons out to scalp him to name a good Italian diner where he can go to celebrate after killing them. He will go on to sodomise that hallowed phrase from The Godfather by going, “you know, make me an offer I can’t refuse” when he means “give me a better deal”.
Trite pickup lines and infantile attempts at humour encrust the two long hours the movie stumbles through. Roma goes around commanding the Interpol, and clenches her jaw every time Don tries to play cute or brings in innuendo, examples of which wouldn’t be worth the newsprint they’d use up. Somewhere between orange jumpsuits, backless gowns and bulletproof vests, the main characters morph from snarling enemies to sentimental lovers, and we’re left wondering which is worse.
Om Puri’s appearance on the sets must have lasted about the lifetime of a pimple, as must Lara Dutta’s. Boman Irani’s Vardhaan is downgraded to something of a hired goon, and he finds a sidekick in a double-dealing hired goon, who is even more unidimensional. However, they’re more believable than fanboy hacker Sameer (Kunal Kapoor), whose demeanour and character fluctuate about as often as Don’s vocal pitch.
You figure out what sort of audience the makers of this film are depending on to turn this thing into a hit when they have Roma explaining with an intense frown that CCTV footage showing two men in a car, followed by CCTV footage from six minutes later showing one man in the same car, must mean that one of the men got off in the space of those six minutes.
The Final Verdict: As I left the movie hall, I promised myself I would move on to reviewing Telugu films if Don 3 sees light of day.


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