The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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A well-made new Don, but...
- ‘Farhan should have added a few original lines of his own’
Chandra Barot, the director of the
original Don, reviews the remake for The Telegraph

Many years ago a film magazine wanted a commercial filmmaker to review an art film. So, they asked me to write about a Mrinal Sen movie. Now, after all these years, I am commenting on another film. But this time, it’s a huge film like Don. And it is a remake of ‘the’ Don, which I had the good fortune to direct 28 years back.

I was specially invited by director Farhan Akhtar to attend the Thursday night star-studded screening at Fame Adlabs. They were playing the film on all five screens. It was great to see such a nice turnout. Shah Rukh (Khan) and Hrithik (Roshan) were there with their wives.

Among the cast, there was Priyanka Chopra, Arjun Rampal and Om Puri. Saif (Ali Khan) and Rosa came in with his daughter.

There were Fardeen (Khan), Dia Mirza, Javed (Akhtar) and Shabana (Azmi).

Back to the film, let me say at the very outset that the new Don is very well made.

The visuals are very pleasant, vibrant and young. The places they have shot in Malaysia, I haven’t even seen before. The whole gizmo set-up will go down well with the audiences. The look is very hi-tech, very westernised. Even the actors look excellent, they look straight out of the magazines.

Of the cast, I was very impressed with Priyanka Chopra as Roma, the role played by Zeenat Aman in the original. She not only looks beautiful, she is very good in action sequences. The fight with Shah Rukh is really well done. Shah Rukh, of course, is always Shah Rukh. He is good.

However, the plot has to support the cast. The new Don has a totally different story and there are many unusual twists and turns.

But I wonder what was the need for Farhan to merge the two characters of DCP D’Silva (the good cop in the old film) and Interpol officer Malik (the bad guy) in Boman’s (Boman Irani) character' What he has done effectively is killed the good in the film.

In my film, the cop was honest and so there was the fight between the good and the bad. But here, there are two Ravans, so how can there be a conflict' There is no law enforcement as such.

Also, although Farhan has kept the best lines from the original Don, he should have added a few original lines of his own. There must be something new because the film is being made all over again for the next generation.

I don’t want to give the plot away but the fundamental difference between the two films lies in the basic premise.

My film was about a villager impersonating a sophisticated hardcore criminal but in the new film that whole idea is killed because of the big twist, and there lies the problem.

But then, however, by the time the film ended, my 14-year-old son was jumping with joy. He loved the film. He went up to Shah Rukh and told him: “It was awesome!” And I guess, that’s the audience the film tries to target — the urban youth.

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