Sunday, November 12, 2006

Don.....Don.....Don.....Don .....Don.....Don

[In my imagination, there's at least 2.5 people eagerly awaiting this post...]

Despite all the whispering of Don's name, the remake left me mostly underwhelmed. I don't guess that's any big suprise considering that the classic version wasn't that good to begin with. [Don't hit me! Amardeep said it first.] That's not to say that there weren't good things about either film. There were several.

1978:
My favorite thing about the original Don is the music! Not the dance numbers either, the background stuff. It is unashamedly '70s--hard hitting bass lines, twangy strings and distorted guitar. I LOVE that sound.
One of the tracks seriously sounds like a 1996 Quad City DJs backbeat dropped an octave. [For reals! Listen to this track then pop in Don and fast forward about 24 minutes to the scene where Roma goes to the restaurant.]

Other than that, there are a few cinematic moments that give cause for pause. The opening is an obvious one. Is that a wheat field?

If I were in a room with a man known to be unpredictably dangerous and he donned a lion mask, then began singing and dancing, I'd be creeping the heck out of there. But that's just me...

The "baby beluga" bodyguard from Amar Akbar Anthony is back. I guess that’s what “fierce” looked like in the late ‘70s.

Somebody has got to help me understand the pink scarf! It appears on Ab1 over and over again. I notice this time other people are wearing them. Maybe it’s the marker of a secret society…

2006:
For all the remake’s foibles, I was impressed by Shahrukh’s seemingly innate sense of villainy. (A bit too much of that might have leaked into his acting in KANK.) He was remarkably vicious. On the other hand, Priyanka did a great job kicking butt. And I hate to admit it but I wasn’t too sad about seeing Kareena’s character die off early on…

I didn’t miss anything from the 70’s version besides the music. The most impressive part of the remake were the stunts and chase scenes. I’m curious as to whether there are any other Indian films to date that can match them.

Visual moments that stand out: the car chase in which Don gets nearly killed was impeccable. Jumping out of a plane! That actually had me on the edge of my seat. I think I threw out a WTF at that point primarily because I’m thinking, There’s NO way Vijay could pull that off! Um, yeah. Also, the scope of the final fight scene of course! Did I mention I added Malaysia to my list of vacation locations? [Note to the police: If you are in a helicopter hovering over a member of the police force being beat to death for 2.5 minutes, it would behoove you to use the large assault weaponry in your possession to free him from said beating. Just a thought.]

The camerawork in Main Hoon Don, aka Song of Crushed Velvet is also noteworthy. It was sporadic and disorienting with delightful moments of visual pause. It reminded me a bit of Moulin Rouge which of course, was Baz Lurhman recycling Bollywood…

Even though I’m not so impressed with Don, I like Farhan Akhtar’s directorial style. I guess the problem with remakes is that they’re so often self-referential. Do we stick with the original or flout expectations? You could almost hear the whisper between every scene. So I guess we have to blame the staleness of the film on its initial incarnation. Still, I’m hooked on Farhan-ics. I look forward to Kismat Talkies.

9 comments:

indian parrot said...

The pink towel(not scarf) is a marker of the working society. The workers always have something like that to wipe off sweat(its hot out there in the night, i know) and err i am thinking paan. They also use it as a pseudo turban, like AB has. Did i tell you they cost very very less.

indian parrot said...

ok ok . I clicked on the other two links. The other two links looks like a scarf. But the Don pic that you have posted here is definitely a towel. A working class towel.

t-HYPE said...

Thanks for the knowledge. I'm still kind of wondering why it's pink though...

Anonymous said...

Like Indian parrot said above, that is a towel - very thin cotton, in a loose weave that makes it very absorbent. Those kinds of towels make awesome baby burp cloths. I've seen it in one of 4 colors usually: blue (rarest), green, white (most common in the south) and red - the one in the picture is red, it probably looks pink because it is old and faded or possibly the the lighting?

Bitterlemons

Recovering Baptist said...

I will never be able to call this movie "Don." It will forever be referred to as (whisper) "Don, Don, Don, Don, Don." (/whisper)

Anonymous said...

The pink scarf is actually red and white checkered cloth which gives the appearance of being pink from a distance. It's called a "gamccha", has it's root in Bengal and has the same social significance as an arab kaffiya.It can be green and white or blue and white or whichever other colour. Big B wear it in Bunty aur Babli as well.

t-hype said...

Hey, anon. I think you win the award for best answer...

Anonymous said...

I think you are right, nothing in bollywood comes close to the stunts in this movie. The fight in flight stunt was a copy of a James Bond movie stunt though. The car chase scene was no doubt the best... it looked so real and daring and suited Don's style. I loved this movie.

Anonymous said...

I also loved this movie. I actually screamed out loud during the in-flight fight scene!
-nyanna