Friday, December 23, 2011

Don 2 

Mission: Possible?

Many film professionals in Mumbai—Shah Rukh Khan included—protest vehemently at the term Bollywood being used to describe the Hindi film industry, because they think it makes them sound like Hollywood wannabes.  And then, so many of them—SRK included—keep trying to make Hollywood wannabe films. Which is not to say that sci-fi or action thrillers should not be attempted, but what’s the merit in doing well what Hollywood has already done before and much better?

You see Mission: Impossible 4 and then see Don 2 and the latter seems like it’s sprinting to catch up with the first Mission Impossible film, panting with the strain.  Sure, it’s slick and pushes all the right action buttons, but then anyone with talent, money, a star at his disposal and a good CGI team can make a big, splashy actioner. From Farhan Akhtar one expects more. And don’t even get started on the awkward plotting and the lapses in logic… nobody watches a thriller with those expectations.  But the mark of a great thriller is that you don’t notice the holes, and in Don 2, you practically stumble over one every few minutes.

Okay, so here’s Shah Rukh Khan, looking  gelato cool, smirking like his career depends on it (it does!) and it has to be admitted nobody can say “Oops!” like he does. Continuing from the last film, he is now an Asian kingpin and wants to conquer Europe.  For which he gets himself captured in Malaysia to spring Vardhaan (Boman Irani) out of prison, because he has a key to a safe…. forget it, that’s not important.  But why does the all powerful Don need to go in to get Vardhaan out?  Couldn’t he delegate such a minor task?  Then,  how does a wanted Don skip in and out of countries without the Interpol finding out? Then again, because Akhtar and SRK and occasionally Priyanka Chopra trying to be Angelina Jolie, are trying so hard to entertain the audience that you stop going “Huh? Whaaaaat?” after half an hour and go with the flow, which, amusingly, includes Don masquerading in the mask of another big star (in a guest appearance) who is  taller, better built, with shaper features and a different voice.

The big plot (with Lara Dutta, Kunal Kapoor, Alyy Khan, Nawab Khan, etc ganging up) involves stealing euro printing plates from a high-security German bank; the whole process is recreated with the solemnity of a bypass surgery, and, but for SRK’s energy, would have been as boring. It’s fluffy nonsense, presented with elan and it is sporadically amusing, but never grab-the-throat thrilling.  To present old stunts in a stunningly different was would require genius that many Hollywood A-List directors would find mushkil if not namumkin.

They so badly want it to be a hit, it won’t hurt to buy a ticket.  Provided they promise no more crime-glorifying, films putting a Don on a pedestal. At least when Tom Cruise hangs from ceilings and jumps off buildings, it’s for the right cause.


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