'Don' dents Shah Rukh image

Oct 30, 2006 Arpana

New Delhi, Oct 31 (IANS) It seems Shah Rukh Khan's irresistible charm and the incredible slickness and style used by Farhan Akhtar in "Don - The Chase Begins" have not been able to save the film from biting the dust.

Just like Karan Johar's infidelity drama "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna", this action thriller has been given the thumbs down by the audience, going by the upsetting drop in collections since it released Oct 20, a day before Diwali.

In the first few days, "Don", a remake of the 1978 Amitabh Bachchan starrer of the same name, garnered good profits mainly due to its pre-release publicity and slick television promos. Critics have since panned it as a weak film.

"Any film which has a good star cast and proper media hype does well in the first week in terms of collections. It happened with 'Don'. It had big names like Shah Rukh and director Farhan Akhtar and it was marketed smartly. So the initial collections were good," said Deepka Gupta, a New Delhi-based media consultant.

According to a report on boxofficeindia.com, the film did exceedingly well in the first week in spite of discouraging reports. It earned hit status in Mumbai, east Punjab, West Bengal and Mysore. The first week box office collections were 75-80 percent. However, the eighth day registered a drop in collections at many centres. It stood at about 55 percent.

However, Shah Rukh prefers not to take the critics seriously or the viewpoint of moviegoers, many of whom have not liked the modern "Don" at all.

"It is a waste of money. I couldn't sit through the movie after the interval," said Kanat Jain, a 60-something movie buff, who wasn't floored by the film's slickness.

Many others found the film stylish, but beyond that they had nothing good to say about it.

"The title song was shot nicely. Kareena Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra were looking good and sexy. But the script was very bad, and it appears that the director has focused only on the action scenes.

"Shah Rukh was nowhere close to Amitabh Bachchan, especially in the 'Khai ke pan Banareswala' number. I felt like closing my eyes and visualising how Amitabh had done the dance scene," Annie Mathew, a young professional working in Singapore, told IANS.

"Shah Rukh was not at all exuding confidence. Maybe he should not do remakes any more. It seems to make him extra conscious," added Mathew, who got tickets easily for the film on the fourth day.

"In terms of style the original 'Don' was more stylish, despite this film being more technically advanced. It had a better script and cast. Amitabh had more style compared to Shah Rukh. Each character stood out in the cast," said Arundhati Chowdhury, a radio journalist.

"Other than that, the film was confusing... The pace is too fast, and it does not register. It's just an average film. One can go and watch this out of curiosity. I prefer Amitabh Bachchan as Don. Zeenat Aman was notches above Priyanka," said Chowdhury.

There is no denying that Farhan emphasised on the film's looks and ignored content, a key factor that plays a major role in the success of any film. In contrast, low-budget hit film "Khosla Ka Ghosla" did very well, a good example of content being king.

"The film's direction is very slick and the locales great. It has a very good background score, something like 'Mission Impossible'. It has a well-directed stunt scene - a drop from an aircraft and a mid-air fight scene - something like a Bond movie. It has a twist in the storyline, which leaves scope for a sequel. But the film cannot compete with the original," said Simi Gandhi, a chartered accountant and a movie buff.

Maybe Shah Rukh has hit a rough patch. After Farah Khan's directorial debut "Main Hoon Na" (2004), he has given a string of flops - "Veer-Zaara", "Swades", "Paheli and "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna". He was banking heavily on "Don" to give a boost to his sliding career graph.

Right now Shah Rukh is aggressively promoting the film. After lambasting critics for panning his film, he launched the "Don" collection of clothing for Louis Philippe - it displays clothes worn by Shah Rukh in the film. It was followed by the launch of a mobile game of "Don".

"Gaming is a very good way of marketing. It is a skill, which everyone should use. My next film is 'Chak De India' which is again a sports-based film. That lends itself to games and all. I would be game if Yashji or Adi (Yash or Aditya Chopra) bring in a game on that theme," Shah Rukh told mediapersons at the game launch.

Though the film has been given a flop status in India, it is doing well in the overseas market. In the US it raked in $1.2 million and in the Gulf grossed above 3.45 million dirhams.

In spite of its bad reviews, Shah Rukh is ready to make a sequel to "Don".

"I would love to make a sequel. If Farhan does not make it, I will definitely do so," he is quoted as having said.

Shot stylishly in Malaysia, this action thriller will appeal mainly to hardcore Shah Rukh fans.

Click the Movie button below for more info:
DON - The Chase Begins Again


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