Don (Tamil) Movie Review

One of the most fascinating aspects of Indian cinema recently has been the extreme paucity of the quintessential “college film.” Closer home, in Tamil, we have not really seen our biggest stars be part of this subgenre despite their core audience coming from this age group. In fact, it has been almost a decade since we saw one of the last notable “college films” featuring a star. It was 2012, and the film was Nanban

Sivakarthikeyan, one of the young Turks of Tamil cinema, has taken on the mantle of delivering a campus film, and gives us DON. Incidentally, Don does have a slight Nanban/3 Idiots hangover. Now, this comparison isn’t to slight either of the film but just to explain how deep the Rajkumar Hirani film has affected the collective psyche of a generation of college-goers and filmmakers. Another valid comparison would be with Hiphop Adhi’s debut film, Meesaya Murukku, mainly because Don too feels like an autobiographical film of the director Cibi Chakaravarthi. It is no coincidence that the debutant filmmaker has named the protagonist after his father. 

Following the success of Doctor, which saw a rather uncharacteristically subdued Sivakarthikeyan at the centre of it all, the actor loses all sorts of pretense to showcase an unabashed college guy who has a particular distaste for rules and regulations. It is this immovable object that meets with the unstoppable force of professor Bhoominathan (a brilliant SJ Suryah) who heads the disciplinary committee of the college. Their altercations provide the base for the film, which is solely then built on humorous gags hitting us one after the other. While a few gags miss the mark, the ones that land are howl-arious. Take, for instance, the scene where Soori impersonates Sivakarthikeyan’s close relative, which brings in laughs from unexpected writing choices. One other gag that really works is the presence of a student who well… talks and reacts like the sloth from Zootopia. The other comic actors like Bala Saravanan, Mirchi Vijay, Munishkanth, Singampuli, Kaali Venkat, and Sivaangi, hit more than they miss, and it keeps Don in okay-ish stead till the cookie crumbles in the second act that goes a bit all over the place. It takes time to get its things together, but when it does… oh boy! 


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