Business rating: 3.5/5 stars
Star cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Boman Irani, Lara Dutta, Kunal Kapoor, Om Puri, Hrithik Roshan.
What’s Good: The engaging post-interval portion, Shah Rukh Khan’s endearing performance; the canvas; the stylised acting and narration; the revelation of the suspense.
What’s Bad: The slow-paced first half; the technical details in the drama which will confuse a section of the audience; the music; the boring portions which spring up at several places.
Verdict: Don 2 is a winner. It will score at the box-office and yield good profits to all concerned.
Loo break: A couple in the first half.
Watch or Not?: Definitely watch it for Shah Rukh Khan’s performance and the stylised narration.
Reliance Entertainment and Excel Entertainment’s Don 2, an action-thriller, is the sequel to Don. Having established his supremacy over Asia, Don (Shah Rukh Khan) now wants to rule over the underworld of Europe too. But for this, he needs the support of Vardhan (Boman Irani) who is in jail in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia). Don surrenders before Interpol detectives Malik (Om Puri) and Roma (Priyanka Chopra) in Malaysia and meets Vardhan in prison. He tells Vardhan of his plan to himself escape and also make him escape from jail – and carries out the plan.
Vardhan has one key and Don, the other key, of a locker in which is a recorded tape with evidence to blackmail J.K. Diwan (Aly Khan), vice president of Deutsche Zurich Bank in Berlin (Germany). Don shares with Diwan the incriminating footage and in return for not exposing him, asks him for the access codes used to lay hands on the plates necessary to print currency notes in Germany. He plans to smuggle the plates out of the bank, print currency notes and become a billionaire. Even if new and different plates would be made by the authorities, he is sure that it would be impractical and impossible to make the existing currency notes useless.
Diwan hires Jabbar (Nawab Shah) to kill Don so that he does not have to give him access to the plates but Don not only escapes but also takes Jabbar on his side. He forces Diwan to now give him the access codes, which the latter does. He also uses his own ways to ensure that he and his team can gain entry into the bank and the vault where the plates are kept. He hires the services of Sameer Ali (Kunal Kapoor), an expert computer hacker. Assisted by his girlfriend, Ayesha (Lara Dutta), Vardhan, Jabbar and Sameer Ali, Don hatches the master plot to enter the high-security bank and escape with the plates kept in a highly-guarded safe deposit vault. Everything goes according to plan till Vardhan and Jabbar turn against Don and demand the plates from him with the intention of ditching him. Don has no option but to give them the plates.
Meanwhile, Interpol detectives Malik and Roma have also reached the bank in Berlin to interrogate Diwan as Roma is sure that Diwan has links with Don. There’s further setback in store for Don when Sameer Ali telephones the police and has Don arrested while Don and he are escaping from the bank.
What happens thereafter? Does Don get back the plates? Do Vardhan and Jabbar again join forces with Don? Do Malik and Roma get to know the truth about J.K. Diwan? What happens to J.K. Diwan? Is Don arrested and put behind bars? Why did Sameer Ali get Don arrested? Was he acting on someone’s behest? What happens to Ayesha?
Don 2 Review: Script Analysis
Farhan Akhtar, Ameet Mehta and Ambrish Shah’s story and screenplay are basically about plotting and planning, which keep the audience’s interest alive. The first half, however, moves at a leisurely pace and takes a while to come to the point. It is after interval that the pace picks up but even in the post-interval part, the initial reels are too technical and get confusing for the average viewer. But the last few reels are very engrossing and the revelation of the suspense (like in the first part, Don) is the highlight. Intrigue, suspense, style and drama – the four highlights of Don – are in evidence in the sequel too.
By its very nature, the film relies too heavily on computer hacking and technicalities when Don and his team break into the bank and try to reach the plates. This portion will be difficult for the audience in the small centres to understand. The multiplex audience may find it engaging but the viewers in single-screen cinemas would not care too much for this part of the film. But the last few reels have a lot of appeal for all kinds of audience. Besides, the charm of Don works so effectively that the public would enjoy the film despite the aforementioned limitations. Because Don is such a charismatic character, the audience roots for him and feels a sense of elation when he accomplishes a task or proves one-up on his adversaries. This is indeed creditable because Don, after all, is a negative character. Credit for making this possible would go as much to the writers as to Shah Rukh Khan who plays Don.
On the minus side, all that Don and his team do seems so easy that it appears rather unbelievable at times. Besides the confusing portion of the drama, this is another drawback of the script. Farhan Akhtar’s dialogues could’ve packed in more punch and power as they, at places, seem quite tame, especially those mouthed by Don, given that he is so powerful. But his dialogue about his mother being happy if she were alive and his dialogue about ‘Sir’ not going well with his personality are brilliant. Light moments are few and far between and had there been more of them, the appeal of the film would’ve been bigger.
Don 2 Review: Star Performances
Shah Rukh Khan is the life of the film and charms his way into the audience’s hearts. He shines in the role of Don and uses all the charisma at his command to make his character supremely endearing. His dialogue delivery, facial expressions and wicked laughter add up to an enjoyable package. His attitude and body language are oh so endearing. Priyanka Chopra gets limited scope and is suitably restrained as the Interpol detective. She looks sexy. Lara Dutta is alright but somehow, she does not add the desired dose of glamour in a fairly long special appearance, and even her scope, is restricted. Boman Irani shines in the role of Vardhan. He is menacing and manipulative, as is the demand of the character. Aly Khan plays his part with calculated coolness. Kunal Kapoor leaves a mark. Nawab Shah is alright as Jabbar. Om Puri has been wasted. Sahil Shroff looks handsome and does a fair job as Arjun. Hrithik Roshan springs a surprise in a special appearance and does a fine job although the track looks forced. Others lend fair support.
Don 2 Review: Direction & Music
Farhan Akhtar’s direction is stylised and suited to the story. He has given the film a huge canvas and his approach makes it look like a very slick Hollywood film. His shot takings deserve distinction marks. But it must also be said that his drama and narration lack too many high points and excitement. In the absence of a solid antagonist, Don’s journey looks almost unchallenged and, therefore, unexciting at places. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music is disappointing. None of the songs has a memorable tune and is far from being a hit. Given the ordinary music, the song picturisations (Vaibhavi Merchant) also lose their impact. Javed Akhtar’s lyrics are meaningful. Background score is effective. Jason West’s cinematography is outstanding. The brilliance of his work is evident in outdoor as well as indoor shooting. The locations of Germany, Malaysia and Switzerland look stunning. Action scenes, composed by Action Concept, are lovely. Anand Subaya’s editing is very sharp. Production values are grand. Technically, it is a very superior product. The film has also been converted into 3D.
Don 2 Review: Komal Nahta’s Verdict
On the whole, Don 2 may not give the discerning audience a great high but it will be loved by those who like style, intrigue, suspense and attitude. It will score at the box-office and yield good profits to Reliance Entertainment (worldwide distributors). The producers, of course, have already made a huge profit by selling the worldwide rights and also by getting heavy subsidy from the German government. Business in big cities and multiplexes will be far better than in smaller towns and single-screen cinemas. The film will work wonders in the Overseas circuit.