Don : Movie Review 21st Oct 2006 18.00 IST By Aparajita Ghosh Farhan Akhtar’s Don is a Shah Rukh Khan film all the way. The superstar literally breathes fire into his character of a ruthless and clever Don. He also shows his versatility as an actor while playing the part of Vijay, the bumpkin. Twenty-eight years after Chandra Barot’s hit movie Don (1978) with Amitabh Bachchan in the role of Don, Farhan Akhtar comes up with a sleek and stylish tribute to the original. This ‘Don’ is certainly bigger and bombastic. Whether it is better, is debatable. Barot’s ‘Don’ was quite modern for its times. So is Akhtar’s. The story of new ‘Don’ is set in the cityscape of Kuala Lumpur, Paris and India (few portions). The don in the film operates on an international level. He uses state-of-the-art technology, fights like a martial arts expert and has a zany taste in fashion. He is like an Indian James Bond, but obviously on the wrong side of law. Farhan’s ‘Don’ is not a replica of the old. The director has changed the movie’s plot a great deal in the second half. It may leave the purists with raised hackles, but the way Shah Rukh has played the character and the unexpected twist at the movie’s end, more than compensates for Farhan’s experimentation. In short, this ‘Don’ is definitely worth a watch. For Shah Rukh’s sake. The movie opens in Paris. Shah Rukh Khan as Don, all dressed in black, is striking a cocaine deal with DJ (Chunkey Pandey). It is a set up to kill Don. In a matter of seconds, guns are drawn, shots fired and blood is spilled. Don walks out unscathed. His enemies perish. Cut to Kuala Lumpur, Don’s new base. Inspector De Silva ( Boman Irani ) briefs his colleagues about a crime syndicate that runs drug and weapons trafficking business throughout the world. The two big fishes in the trade are Singhania and Vardhan. Don works for Singhania. Vardhan, on the other hand, is a man whom nobody has seen. Then follows a cat and mouse game between cops and Don. Eventually, Don is cornered and seriously injured. Inspector De Silva takes Don to a secret location and keeps him unconscious. The cop then ropes in Vijay, a Don lookalike to play the part of Don. While being shifted to Kuala Lumpur, Vijay is abducted by his criminal colleagues who think he is Don. As long as he doesn’t get to know Don’s friends and foes, Vijay feigns loss of memory. Then he manages to pass himself off as the real Don and get his hands on a computer disc that contains information about all the people in the crime syndicate. But there are many surprises in store for Vijay, for Interpol officer Malik (Om Puri) and for Roma (Priyanka Chopra), who is on her own personal mission to kill Don. And there is a big surprise for audience in the end. In many parts of the movie’s first two hours, Farhan sticks loyally to the original flick. We hear the same dialogues, once immortalized in Bachchan’s baritone, now mouthed by Shah Rukh. There is also a slight hint of imitation in SRK’s performance. May be because it is difficult to improvise the part already played to perfection by Bachchan many years ago. Comparisons aside, Shah Rukh does impress in the film. After his absolutely overblown performance in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna , SRK uses his over-the-top style of acting to his advantage in ‘Don’. His swaggering gait, his arrogant poise, his piercing glance through lofty brows, they all work in favour of making his character credible. And in between all this he also veritably brings a rustic touch in Vijay. Boman Irani gets maximum footage after SRK. Although he plays his part well, it is becoming difficult to take him seriously after having seen him in so many comic roles. Priyanka Chopra has not much to do in the film. Even her stunts fail to impress. Arjun Rampal , handsome as ever, is convincing as the limping Jasjit. Kareena Kapoor has a two-minute role and a song appearance. Isha Koppikar is forgettable particularly because her character hasn’t been given any depth. Om Puri deserved a longer role. In a nutshell, Farhan Akhtar does succeed in giving a just tribute to the timeless ‘Don’ starring Amitabh Bachchan. But Farhan relies too heavily on style rather than substance. Watch it for Shah Rukh.