Will 'Don' see the dusk?

A big deal is being made of the new version of Don. Worse, they are talking about whether it will live up to the legendary status of the old one. When was that silly little film a pathbreaking filmic venture? It was a regular potboiler.

I do like Farhan Akhtar as a director, but he has nothing to live up to. If he has remade the original in his own style it might turn out to be a taut movie. That’s it.

A lot of hoo-ha is being made about whether Shahrukh Khan will fit into Amitabh Bachchan’s boots. No, he won’t. Amitabh has large feet. And in that over-hyped “Khaike paan Banaraswaala” song he looks like one of those street acrobats balancing on stilts while rolling a scarf as a magician would do before bringing out a pigeon.

It was an exaggerated performance, not even in the sense of caricature. The small-town or dehati has been done with great sense of comic timing by Dilip Kumar in Ganga Jamuna and later Gopi

As for Shahrukh, I have never thought him to be an actor; his own admission of being akin to a madaari fits him well. His typical roles are urban, not necessarily urbane. As small-towner/villager he seems like not even a disaster, but a damp squib. Paheli will bear witness to this.

So, in the other part of the Don, would he jell? As one of those irritating ad types said, “Amitabh was all about dignity; Shahrukh gives a damn for it.”

Ah well, Amitabh as Don was a stiff, starchy-suited, deep-voiced mannequin. That passes for dignity in Bollywood. Shahrukh may well be in control, but the effort will show. A bit like holding back a sneeze.

I know this is presumptuous. I have not seen the film. I am a presumptuous person. But if I do watch the film and it turns out to be different from my perceptions, then I am willing to eat my words.

It’s been a while since I had a delicious meal…
* * *
Talking of which, let me tell you about my disaster. Yesterday, with minimal pomp, I entered the kitchen with the purpose of cooking. It was to be humble fare – aloo paratha. I love aloo parathas. The potato mix had been kept ready, the dough was ready. All I had to do was fill the mixture into the dough, make it into round thick parathas and cook.

The potatoes kept peeping out, as though in protest for being trapped. The dough was clinging to me like a spurned lover. The flour that was to be dusted waited sullenly to be sprinkled. I overdid it. I put lots of it and rolled the damn thing and put it on the tawaa. Suddenly, I remembered the fat had to be added. As a child when anything was being cooked I would run miles away because the smell of cooking ghee sickened me.

Here I was dunking it on the frying pan and waiting for the paratha to cook itself. Turn, wait, turn…and I couldn’t figure out whether it had been cooked completely at all. I put my head close to it and saw spaces that were raw, the dough the colour of sallow skin. I don’t know how long it took.

At lunchtime, my mother bravely ate; she said it wasn’t bad. I thought it was awful. I took spoonfuls of yoghurt to cover the bites I took.

I wasn’t trying to hide my mistakes, but having committed them I was making an attempt to make up for my flaws, for no one but myself. I owed it to me.

Making parathas is not my scene. This isn’t about giving up so easily, but some things are not meant to be. And that which we relish need not be something we ourselves can be good at.

I feel humbled by Ammi’s efforts and all those who make good parathas.

I cannot. There are many things I cannot make. Many more that I cannot unmake.


  1. Yet another "new" movie I'm going to miss when it comes to DVD. (or the theatre playing Hindi films)

    Don ka legendary status?! Only because Amitabh Bachchan was in it, nahiN tau it wasn't that great of a movie, and somewhat disappointing performances from both Bachchan and Aman.

    Well at least you're considering the possibility of watching the remake. I've already decided not to!

  2. Arre public ko khush karne ke liye kept the option open...otherwise, the usual accusation would be dished out: "why are you then even writing about it? Don't you have better things to do? Is this a propostion??" Okay, the last bit was my 'ouch' moment :-)


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