A Blog on Cinema

Review: The Don


An actor can be called complete if he portrays all kind of roles. Dileep who has given us some good films with his next-door-boy image, has of late been wanting to be a complete actor rather than being unfairly termed as a mimicry artist. So he turned to – who else – but our own Shaji Kailas – undisputed KING of action – to redefine his image. And DON was born.

DON starts with a note “One July night 18 years back” [Perhaps July has a significance as its Dileep’s favorite month and he tries to get a release every year on American Independence day]. A man comes into a house and bang-bangs the House owner and his wife. The kid , Unnikrishnan, [Kutti Don] escapes and seeks refuge in a Pettikada’ One day, his parents’ assassin comes to buy Soda in the Tea shop and our DON shoots him at point blank range. Then comes the next note on the screen – “Destination Unlimited” – Shaji alone knows what that meant.

After 18 years, the kid surfaces in a temple as Dileep, praying to “begavathee” [biriyani-de ba] “enne reshikkene“. He had spent his time in a juvenile home all these years. He meets Lalu Alex there – a police officer – who has a soft corner for him.

One day Unnikrishnan, while roaming aimlessly in the market, saves Kasim Baba [Lal] from some goons. Baba asks him to join his “force” – which includes a fully bald Bheeman Raghu, Augustine and Baburaj [as a good man for a change]. Baba re-christens Unnikrishnan as ‘Salaam’.

Baba is a kind of godly figure in the Cochin Harbour area. All people look to him to solve all their problems. He takes law into his hands if he feels that justice needs to be done. Baba has a very large family consisting of some kids – most notable being his youngest daughter Shaheeda [Gopika] and his nephew – Sulaiman [Shammy Thilakan] – the black sheep of the family.

Naturally, Baba has plenty of enemies who want to finish him off. These include Advocate Subramaniam Swami [Sai Kumar with a wig], Maniyan Pilla Raju and Subair. They try to make Salaam kill Baba, but he remains loyal. Finally they seek the help of Sulaiman who murders Baba and falsely accuses Salaam of doing so. Salaam is arrested and lands in jail. In jail, he meets his old pals in juvenile home – Harisree Ashokan and Ramu – who help him vindicate his mentor’s murder.

DON is a scene-by-scene copy of Ram Gopal Varma’s Sarkar. Kasim Baba, with rosary in hand, is modelled on Amithabh Bachchan as Subhash Nagre aka Sarkar who does the same. The background chanting of “Namasthasye Namonama” from Devimahatmyam is similar to “Govinda Govinda” of Sarkar. Even the plot where Sarkar’s son attempts to kill him and his second son [Abhishek Bachchan] takes revenge is the same.

Shaji Kailas tries his best to give Dileep a new image through DON – but fails. It reminds of you a malayalam proverb “Thumbiye kondu kalleduppikkuka”. As with Shaji’s movies, DON is also abundant in Sanskrit Slokas. The Kalady Sankara University should seriously consider granting a Honorary doctorate to Shaji for his services to the Sanskrit language. The plot – even though a copy of Sarkar – is innovative in some respects – in the latter half – the modus operandi of Salaam to take revenge on the villians.

Dileep tries his best to portray the cool-tough-action hero. But he comes a cropper in the fight sequences bashing up guys twice his size. His physique, unlike Suresh Gopi’s – is simply is not enough for an action hero. However he expresses a lot of restraint in his acting, which is good in the context of the movie. On the make-up front, he has more mascara than Gopika. Also he needs to improve his diction of malayalam – ex: Begavathy/Derma Samsthapnartha etc. And he says some Hindi as well!!!

Joiey Pallassery’s dialogues lack the familar punch of Shaji Kailas movie. But all the same its bearable.

Mohan Sitara has 1 song which is average. Shaan has done the Theme song which at some points bears resemblance to Balabhaskar’s violin compositions.

Sanjeev Sankar does a good job with the camera and captures the dark moods very well.

On the whole movie is not a TOTAL bore – watchable just once.


  1. No wonder the movie posters were retitled ‘The Donkey’ by some viewers…

  2. The Don to me was not at all a Bad film.I think Dileep did a very good job in Don.I want dileep to do more characters like this.He should team up with Shaji Kailas again and aproduce a thriller.

  3. Hari, I disagree. ‘The Don’ was a terrible movie, even more so because it tried to borrow heavily from ‘Sarkar’. But I did think Lal and Dileep tried hard to salvage whatever they could. As VC posted sometime earlier, Shaji should get over the hangover of his past successes.

  4. The Don is a terrible xerox of Sarkar(Hindi). (And I think our jail authorities should seriously consider prisoners taking picnics outside the prison.)

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