Language : Tamil.
Director : Cibi Chakaravarthi.
Writers : Cibi Chakaravarthi.
Cast : Sivakarthikeyan, Priyanka Arulmohan, S.J. Suryah, Samuthirakani.
Genre : Comedy | Romance
Directed by debutant Cibi Chakaravarthi and starring Siva Karthikeyan in the titular role, Don is the answer for anyone who is on the lookout for a fun-filled youthful entertainer. At a time when the discourse is around creating large scale ‘Pan Indian’ films, Don also doubles up as a quick reminder that audiences are also ready to welcome simple, good-hearted entertainers.
Now Don doesn’t boast of an inventive storyline. It’s basically ‘what if’ the character of Farhan (played by Madhavan) from ‘3 Idiots’ was picked and his dilemmas were explored in detail, with some major tweaks to the character. But where the film succeeds is in conveying its core emotions successfully. This is an even more commendable achievement as the prime conflict only kicks in during the second half after a first half that travels on a different track.
The pre-interval portions of Don are a laugh riot with plenty of witty sequences surrounding Don’s school and college lives. The school portions work especially well due to the cute and goofy histrionics of the leads. The college episode packs in all the generic sequences that one would expect in a film like this but fortunately for the makers, the humour aids the proceedings in being engaging. The second half is on the emotional side with the script focusing on topics like parenting, figuring out one’s path, and how education needs to play a role in helping students unlock their talents. While I was worried about this diversion post-interval, the heartfelt emotions and well-written scenes helped the film to seamlessly and effectively navigate towards the finish line. The major drawbacks of Don, in my opinion, are the runtime, placements of songs, and its empathetic tone towards toxic parenting. The songs though enjoyable act as speed breakers and feel like additions to tick all the boxes for a commercial venture. Right from the beginning, we are shown how Don is ill-treated by his father, and although they’ve tried to justify his actions in the climax bits in the name of love, it still feels problematic.
Director Cibi Chakaravarthi has done a good job in his first outing. He’s aware that he’s not got a unique plot to work with and hence smartly packages Don with engaging moments to hold the viewer’s attention to eventually deliver a message. As mentioned, the latter half deals with a track that’s tonally different from the initial half. But Cibi smartly pushes the comedy for a good 40 minutes before going for an all-out emotional route, making sure the transition isn’t jarring.
Sivakarthikeyan is in fantastic form here. His previous 3 films had him play characters that demanded a restrained performance, opposite to his natural style. However, the actor is in his element here as a jovial college student who is on the quest for finding his talent. His comedic timing is excellent and some of the counter dialogues evoked plenty of laugh-out-loud moments in the theatre. He’s also put in visible efforts to improve his dancing skills. SJ Surya puts up a good show as the strict disciplinarian of the college. His animated style of acting benefits the character to be impactful. Samuthirakani gets a typical father role but it’s his performance in the climax that makes one overlook the thorny messaging. Priyanka Arul Mohan as the female lead gets good screen time and manages to impress with her screen presence and expressions.
Overall, Don is a neatly packed entertainer that manages to impress through its multiple tracks. Sivakarthikeyan’s one-man show and some well-written comedy and emotional bits make this a pleasant theatrical watch. It’s a film produced to entertain the masses and it successfully achieves its objective.
Verdict : 4/7 Stars