Shahrukh Birthday Countdown: Don 2, New Review!!!!

Yaaaaay! Another movie I didn’t really really review before this, and now I have an excuse to go back to it!

This is a totally different movie from Don 1. That’s pretty unusual in the modern sequel world. Usually “sequel” in Hindi film means something like Love Aaj Kal 2020 or Aashiqui 2 or the Golmaal films, where there is no real connection between the movies in terms of narrative, but there is a similar style to them, a similar sort of story, similar sort of characters, and so on. Don 2 is a direct narrative continuation of Don 1, but in a completely different style with a completely different kind of story, just all new.

Don 2 - Lifetime Box Office Collection, Budget, Reviews, Cast, etc

That’s part of why we are all so eager for Don 3, or at least why I am eager. I want to see what Farhan does next, where he takes this franchise. Because really, it could go anywhere! The first movie was a clever homage to classic 70s Masala, a romance, and an action thriller. The second movie was a tight heist film in modern style. What could the third movie be? A spy thriller? A tragic romance? A complete comedy? Anything is possible!

This movie is not just unlike Don 1, it’s unlike any other Hindi film. It’s got the sleek no nonsense style of a western thriller, there isn’t a lot of spectacle and emotion and “masala” to it. It still has the kind of fun “anything goes” attitude that you need for a movie like this, only without the songs and excitement that usually go with it in Hindi film.

Writing and designing a film like this, so different from the previous movie, is impressive. But convincing the same cast to come back, play the same characters, but completely different? That is a real feat of direction. Not 100% of course, Om Puri and Priyanka are basically the same as in the last movie. But Boman and Shahrukh? The same characters, not just because they have the same names, but because they are the same people with the same histories and motivations and behaviors. Only this time these same people have wandered into a totally different kind of world.

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This plot has a bit of a trick to it, the trick being, there is no trick. At the start, all the top gangsters of Europe have come together to try to get rid of Shahrukh. He fights off their assassins, then goes to the police and offers to give over evidence against all of them in return for total amnesty. The police refuse. So Shahrukh goes to jail, meets up with Boman Irani again, works with him to escape, then plans a heist to steal the engraving plates for Euros. He meets up with noble hacker Kunal Kapoor, and smart organizer Lara Dutta, and distracts the cops Om Puri and Priyanka Chopra, and then in the middle of the heist, when Boman turns against him, goes back to the cops to offer to help them capture Boman for immunity. He helps capture Boman and gives back the engraving plates. Then reveals at the end that he switched the plates and walks off into the sunset with unlimited money, and no warrants against him.

The movie starts with Shahrukh offering to give evidence against all other gangsters in return for immunity. He’s turned down, a bunch of stuff happens, and it ends with him giving evidence against all other gangsters in return for immunity. The trick is, there is no trick. Shahrukh wanted to go straight all along, he just had to find a way to make sure the cops agreed after they turned him down the first time. The heist was just an elaborate shell game to draw in the police, and Boman Irani was always set up as the fall guy.

Part of us buying into the idea of the heist and so on is the way the movie is filmed, so clear and straightforward and detailed, we see every little bit of the preparation, and it all takes place in gray Berlin, no colorful outfits or big dance numbers or any of that. We see everything, we just don’t understand it when we are seeing it. We don’t see the meaning behind it.

And yes, this is also a continuation of the story of Don 1! Priyanka ended the film frustrated at being tricked by Don, Shahrukh ended by flying off into a bright powerful future, Boman ended it arrested and furious. Now, we can see that Shahrukh went on to become a powerful gang leader, Priyanka joined the police in a continuing search for justice in the world, and Boman is still bitter. The connection between Shahrukh and Priyanka in Don 1, which was sincere on her part and trickery on his, has developed too. She is a tie to his old life and identity, a “what might have been” and a nostalgia all at once. And he is her last bad thing, the wild undercover Priyanka of Don 1 is now hidden under a proper cop.

It’s a well made heist film, the action sequences (especially the car chases) are great, and the heist itself is satisfyingly complex. What really makes it work is uniformity, the whole film is dedicated to a certain clear taut aesthetic, whether it is a jail in Singapore or a ballroom in Berlin. The camera is sure of itself and what it is doing.

And of course, our star is sure of himself. This is the Don series after all, the whole thing lives or dies on the central performance. And Shahrukh brings the edgy danger and unreadable expressions and everything right back. It’s still Don, just in a whole new world.

14 thoughts on “Shahrukh Birthday Countdown: Don 2, New Review!!!!

  1. I wasn’t sure I’d like Don 2 after watching Don 1 – something with Don 1 didn’t and doesn’t click with me. But Don 2? Don 2 could be a $20 tilt-a-whirl ride at a theme park and I’d be right back in line every time the ride ended.

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    • At this point, I would be happy even with a comic book format, if they can’t get the thing filmed. Just tell us the end of the story!!!!

      On Fri, Oct 23, 2020 at 10:53 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      Liked by 1 person

  2. I really hate that Farhan Akhtar is trying to be an actor and rockstar. Who was asking for this? There is not a person on earth who wanted this. He made movies like Dil Chahta Hai and the Don series and now instead of that, we have to up with him acting in movies like The Sky is Pink?!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You think he wanted to go straight? That is not how I read the end at all. He wanted to take over Europe but he needed all the European cartels out of the way. I think he uses his collaboration with the police to clear his way, and walks away free of warrants, with his rivals (and anyone in his own organization he was done with) sold down the river, and with access to unlimited money because he still has the money printing plates that everyone thinks burned up in the car explosion.

    For Don 3, since Priyanka is out, how about Lara Dutta is the boss now?

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    • Maybe I’m reading into the character a little, but I read it as him wanting to go straight (or at least retire after one big score) partly because I couldn’t picture him as someone who would enjoy running a whole massive organization. He didn’t like taking orders, we saw that in Don 1, but I think this movie was about him realizing he didn’t like giving orders either. He enjoyed working with Kunal and Lara, just two people as temporary partners, but didn’t like the whole organization thing. We end with him riding off into the sunset alone and free, and that’s what I got as his goal all along, no more enemies to chase him, or police, able to escape. What would be the point of getting all his crimes cleared if he is just going to go out and commit new ones?

      I agree, Lara as the new boss would be sweet.

      On Mon, Oct 26, 2020 at 12:40 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I’ve been trying to fill out my Don 3 story in my head, and I think the problem is I can’t come up with what kind of ending Don the character should have. He always escapes, but…dudes like that eventually get caught, get killed, or end up somewhere living a life of anonymity where no one knows who they used to be. Hm. Maybe Dilwale was Rohit taking a stab at giving Don a happy ending?

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        • Give him a kid! Kill PC and her boring cop husband, and have Don rescue their kid from the “bad guys”. We can even have tension in the film, never sure if Don is just pretending to care about this kid for his own ends or if he really does. And then at the end, we can show him and the kid living that Dilwale life in Goa, so either he cared all along or he learned to care.

          On Tue, Oct 27, 2020 at 11:24 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. So, for me – I’m all in if SRK, Lara Dutta, and Farhan Ahktar just did Don movies forever. SRK is almost unrecognizable and smoking hot as the bad guy, Lara Dutta is the epitome of killer brains and breathtaking beauty, and Farhan Ahktar is ONLY USEFUL WHEN HE’S WRITING DON MOVIES. Seriously, if he must, he can be Bad Guy #4 or something and play the dude busking on the Indonesian street corner who turns out to be pivotal to the plot, but FOR GOD’S SAKE, GET YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT, MAN!!!
    Zaraa Dil Ko Thaamlo is a freaking work of art from a lighting perspective. I am continually stunned that they pulled off something so complicated as the backlit panels. And, I have no idea why, but bad boy SRK is by far the most … appealing … of his avatars for me. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I am no Simran. Hmmm …
    Honestly, what the hell are these people thinking? “Gosh, Don is so 15 minutes ago.” Hell, *I* would be willing to write the next story and fund the thing. Wait. What? Plot? Does it need a plot?? I mean, does it really?? A lot of SRK, quite a large dollop of Lara, maybe a second helping of Kunal Kapoor, and sauce the whole thing generously with some seriously pissed off Boman and we got ourselves a movie!
    Honestly.
    What the hell is wrong with these people? Can we just write the damn movie and send it to someone important to make it happen?
    Oh, and Hrithik. Now that I’ve seen Dhoom 2, I feel COMPLETELY ROBBED by the lame “dancing” Hrithik was saddled with in Don 2. F’reals. Such. A. Let. Down.

    Liked by 1 person

    • YES! Farhan keeps saying “I’m working on the script, I’m working on the script”. How much work is there to do?????

      On Wed, Oct 28, 2020 at 11:11 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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