Monday, October 6, 2008
Bollywood movie review: Drona
With such a drab story, Drona drained the life out of me.
Drona could have been something special. With the plethora of promos that emphasized fantastic visual effects that are unprecedented for a Bollywood movie, you only hoped the plot and writing would be stellar. Plus with two A-listers, Abhishek Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra, you expected something spectacular. However, the problem was the movie relied so heavily on the effects that the wafer-thin plot was too cliché.
The story was poorly concocted by director Goldie Behl who tried to create a whole new magical fantasy adventure. However, the story was the stereotypical, two-dimensional good versus evil. The villain is terribly evil dressed in black, and the good guy, dressed all in white, rides a white horse.
The movie begins with the myth of Drona, told like a comic book. For centuries, the battle has been waged between good and evil. The evil side is trying to get their hands on immortality which is protected throughout the centuries by a lineage of kings. Drona is the name given to whoever is deemed to protect this “nectar.”
We first meet a young Aditya who lives with foster parents, but the family, except for the father, hates him. He has no idea who his mother is and we feel pity. A magical blue rose petal flies to him and he learns he is special. Fast forward to him as a grownup (Abhishek Bachchan) working in a convenience store, down on his luck and we feel pity. Blue rose petals fly to him and he is reminded he is special. The petal guides him to a bracelet which is a symbol that he is Drona, but he doesn’t know it yet.
We also meet the villain, Riz Razaida (Kay Kay Menon), who is first shown killing his clone and makes his living as a magician. For some unexplained reason, Aditya is at Riz’s magic show and when they meet, and Riz spots the bracelet, the battle begins. Aditya is hunted, and we are then introduced to Sonia (Priyanka Chopra), who saves him and has existed to protect him and “be his shadow.”
Sonia fills him in on his destiny and takes him to his real mother. His mother explains the myth and tells him what he has to do as Drona. Once Riz makes his appearance again and sandfreezes his mother, Aditya gets his real motivation to become Drona.
You wait so long for him to realize this, that by the time he does, it is intermission. That’s already 1.5 hours of Aditya dilly-dallying, not really understanding his destiny. Sheesh. The last hour of the movie is just the Drona versus Riz battle, with a ton of effects.
The movie primarily drags, but there are a few action and visual sequences that are breath-taking. The story takes too long to unfold and there are too many emphases on every single special effect, that it becomes dull. None of the characters have any dimension to them. You are either really good or you are really bad and are plotting the end of mankind.
Unfortunately, the acting was really bland also. Abhishek Bachchan didn’t really go through a transformation. He didn’t have to be trained to ride a horse or use a sword, or fight; it was all engrained in him. And it wasn’t even a shock to him that he could do everything. As the title character, it was thoroughly disappointing.
As Sonia, Priyanka Chopra had a chance to be a feisty, tough action-heroine. She actually did a lot more fighting than Drona, and she rocked it with the fight choreography. Also, along with her gorgeous looks, her wardrobe was superbly sexy and innovative. However, her attitude and speech still had hints of damsel-in-distress making her less of a badass. Her character could have had much more strength, and it would’ve probably been more of an interesting movie if it were focused on her with her awesome fight skills and wardrobe. Too bad female-centered movies in Bollywood are semi-taboo, and if they are made, they flop.
And finally, as the villain, Kay Kay Menon is totally over-the-top becoming a caricature. It was always predictable he was going to place his metal fingertip on his face pensively and then flash an evil grin. And the blue contacts didn’t make him any less of a cartoon.
The soundtrack for the movie was hit-and-miss, with two tracks being chartbusters. However, every song sequence was horribly placed. The only standout was “Oop Oop Cha” picturized on Priyanka, who looks striking and has a strong attitude in the song along with the tight choreography. If only her character had remained this tough. Sadly, the song came at a time when Aditya had just been attacked for the first time and had just been saved by Sonia. Bad timing.
Even with the holiday weekend in India, this movie will find little acclaim. With such a drab story, Drona drained the life out of me.