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So, Don 2 released this weekend, and I thought that I would go watch it. For those of you who don’t know anything about the movie, it is a sequel to the 2006 movie, Don, which was a remake of an older Bollywood film starring Amitabh Bachchan. In the first movie, the protagonist (Don) manages to kill an innocent look alike, romance the woman (Roma) who is out for his blood, and disappear into the sunset with his ladybird with absolutely no repercussions. In 2011, we catch up with those characters in a movie that I regretted watching.
The movie stars Shahrukh Khan as Don. Priyanka Chopra played Roma. Om Puri was Roma’s boss. Lara Dutta played Ayesha, Don’s new squeeze. Kunal Kapoor played Sameer, a computer’s expert, Boman Irani was Vardhaan once more, and Nawab Shah played Abdul Jabbar, the man in charge of ballistics and muscle.
Warning: There will be SPOILERS in this review.
In 2011, we find out that Don has become the King of the Asian underworld. How do we know this? Don very helpfully tells us. Twice. The opening sequence has European drug cartel leaders talking about killing Don, and the very next scene has Don’s loyal subjects in some foreign locale attempting to kill their king. Don escapes that assassination attempt. In another foreign locale, in an Interpol office, we find Roma, who has spent the last five years searching for Don. Don very helpfully surrenders at that same location. He offers to hand over all the contacts and information regarding the drug cartels, if they will give him immunity. Roma and her boss refuse, and Roma finally gets to see Don behind bars.
Don goes into prison and escapes, bringing Vardhaan with him. Vardhaan had been jailed there after Don had betrayed him at the end of the last movie. After Don helps Vardhaan escape, we get to hear the reasons behind Don’s actions. Don has decided to steal some moneymaking plates from a German Bank. These plates will help them to make as much money as they want, while the bank is scrambling to switch out the currency. By the time all of the currency is switched out, Don and his cohorts will be billionaires. Don, Ayesha, his new main squeeze, and Vardhaan plan on getting into the bank by blackmailing the Vice President of the Bank, Diwan, with a past murder that he contracted for his boss. They bring on board Sameer, a man who can control the computer security within the bank, and Abdul Jabbar, the man Diwan sent to kill Don.
The team gets into the bank, place bombs in strategic locations, gather hostages, and Don is able to retrieve the plates. Midway through the plan’s execution, Don is betrayed by Vardhaan and Jabbar. Don escapes, but is then turned into the police by Sameer. Don coolly negotiates immunity for himself by promising to get the hostages out of the bank alive, giving them Vardhaan, and handing over all of the information on the drug cartels. The police bow to his dictates, and Roma goes in with him and the police team, refusing to trust Don’s sudden about face. Don helps them to get rid of the bad guys and plays with Roma just enough that she begins to wonder if Don has really changed. He manipulates her emotions to such a degree, that she is willing to die for him. Roma gets shot. Don kills Jabbar and incapacitates Vardhaan. He leaves the building to hand over Roma to the medics, takes his immunity and walks away.
In the aftermath, we see that all of Don’s rivals are arrested. Diwan is killed by a bomb that Don placed in his car for his betrayal. Diwan’s boss is arrested for the murder. Vardhaan goes back to jail. And we realize that getting captured by the police was all part of Don’s plan. Sameer was in on it from the beginning. Don now has immunity, his freedom, and the money plates. Don meets up with Ayesha and Sameer, and the three chuckle over how rich they will be.
The movie succeeds in giving the viewer slick action, cool explosions and pretty, foreign locales. Beyond that, we get nothing more. There is no good story. No memorable dialogue. No great acting.
The acting in this movie was cringe worthy. I expected more from Shahrukh Khan, and the man overacted his way throughout the entire movie. His movements, expressions and manner of speaking seemed alien on him and made for a lot of awkwardness. The only scene where I could see good acting was the scene where he was sneaking out of the German Bank, and that only because he was not talking. I never forgot that the man in front of me was Shahrukh Khan, the actor. I could actually see him striving to be so “cool”, and could only laugh at some of the banal things he was made to say in a “cool” manner that just fell horribly flat. He never became the Don. Shahrukh Khan fumbled badly with this role, and I was embarrassed for him. Hrithik Roshan, who guest starred as the Don for about five minutes, did much better acting as the cool, villainous protagonist than Shahrukh Khan did in the entire movie.
Everyone else was stilted and awkward, and floundering due to the weak and bland dialogue they had to work with. The two ladies, Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra, really had nothing to do except to look pretty. This movie was a case of having good actors, who were let down by a weak story, laughably simple dialogue, and bad directing. Whoever told these actors to overact should be never allowed to direct again.
Finally, I could not understand how the story had that thread of a romance going between Roma and Don. The man killed her brother and future sister-in-law, but apparently that wasn’t enough for her. She still felt this attraction for Don and was willing to die for him. That made no sense with the character we had been shown in the first movie, and the “romance” just seemed forced and out of place.
Farhan Akhtar did a horrible job with this movie, and I hope that there isn’t a Don 3. Not unless the man takes a course in what a good action flick is. Let’s just hope he realizes it is never just about the cool action scenes and fiery explosions.