'Main Hoon Don,' says a supremely confident Shah Rukh Khan. Well, not so, if our surfers are to be believed.
For them, it's still the 'angry young' Amitabh Bachchan who fits the role. And it's the classic of the 1970s, complete with the star cast of Amitabh, Zeenat Aman, Praan and Helen, that has been immortalized in their minds.
This week, the response to our Don vs Don questionnaire has been overwhelming. As many as 2,901 surfers from all over the globe have responded with indignation to what they thought was a mockery of a great movie of yesteryears.
Aastha, a surfer from Delhi set the ball rolling. She wrote: "I'm shocked and upset to hear that the great classic Don is being remade. And to think that Shah Rukh has been roped in for this endeavour is even more unbearable. C'mon guys, a classic is a classic, it cannot be reproduced."
Sumit from London said: "Classics are gems which are made once and cannot be cloned."
Agreeing with him was Dipah, a surfer from California. She said: "There is nothing more beautiful than an original work of art. Be it films, books or sculpture, an original is a masterpiece. And no duplicate, however close to the original it may be, can even come close. Many of the nuances of the original work is lost when reproduced. Don of the 1970s was a classic and I don't think even Chandra Barot who directed it can reproduce it with the same effects today. So forget it Farhan Akhtar, your Don is a cheap imitation."
Many of our surfers were irked by the actors who were roped in to play the remake.
Vivek, a surfer from Chandigarh, led the brigade. He wrote: "SRK is not a good choice for the role of Don. If one compares the roles he has played till date, he has just one style. He desperately needs to be versatile, which unfortunately he is not."
Roy Khosla from Reno, USA, too echoed the same sentiment. He opined: "No one can match Big B. He has a style and charisma that no one can match. He gave Hindi cinema a new direction. So why SRK?"
A comment from Karthik who wrote in from Chicago would not be amiss at this point. He said: "Shahrukh's body language is too bombastic to be able to match with the brooding and angry-young man looks of Amitabh. So the new Don can never succeed."
Rinky from Ludhiana was even more vocal. She said: "Why can't we ever think beyond SRK? Is he the only actor we have today? And to think he's going to play the new Don-who's crazy out here?"
Before you think the whole exercise was a hate-campaign against SRK, wait. The other new 'characters' too, came in for flak.
Devesh from Atlanta wrote in to say: "Kareena is just not on. To even think that she can match the effervescent Helen, is a big mistake. And I'm sure my opinion will be reinforced when we all see the movie."
Keya from Patna agreed. She commented: "Kareena as Helen, Priyanka as Zeenat Aman and SRK as Bachchan-who is Farhaan Akthar trying to fool? And what is he aiming to achieve?"
Yasser from Manchester also pitched in. He said: "Shahrukh Khan as Don looks like a pimp! It was a ridiculous idea to remake a movie like Don and with such a star cast. It is simply suicidal. Kareena for example looks like a constipated dimwit dancing to something she can't identify with. To top it all, Shankar Mahadevan's 'music' is a disgusting copy of the original."
Roma from Fairbanks, USA, sent us a stark reminder: "When Amitabh Bachhan had taken on the role of Don years ago, he was a youngster and at the peak of his career. Well, SRK today has already reached his peak and has proved that he does not have the talent to go any further. Most of the roles he has played are stereotypes."
Said Shankar from Noida: "SRK mouthing 'I am the king' looks so childish, amateurish. He is a star, not an actor, mind u...he will kill the Don's persona with an overdose of mannerisms...the new Don will be a disaster…"
Seema from Chennai wrote: "I'm not even going to watch the remade version of Don. SRK will reduce the movie to nothing, and Kareena and Priyanka will rip apart the glamour and oomph in the film. Thumbs down, Farhaan!"
Sad to say, there was not a single comment that expressed optimism in Farhaan, or confidence in SRK. The only comment that came close to anything resembling hope was a very watered-down "Wait till the movie releases and then comment," sent in by Thomas from Andheri, Mumbai.
Interestingly, there was a comment sent in by a group of girls (Shameem, Romila, Kina, Anjoo, Rashi and Manya), from Ahmedabad. They said: "We do not like the fact that good movies of yesterday are being remade. We have seen the old films of Big B and like them very much. SRK is a big star, but he is good only for the lover-boy kind of roles. Any attempt to portray him as the intense, angry Amitabh will be an utter failure."
A comment from Anil who responded from Siliguri, perhaps, sums up the situation best. He said: "I do not think any actor today can match up to the stalwarts of yesterday. If today Aaamir can do a Fanaa with panache, or SRK a DDLJ with ease, it is only Amitabh who can carry off a Sholay, a Don, or even a Deewar with perfection. And any effort to mutually interchange the roles will only result in disaster. So it's my personal opinion that yesterday's glorious films are best left alone."
The numbers only served to highlight what the comments made clear: That SRK is simply not happening.
There was no doubt about who is the better don: As many as 2,360 people unequivocally said Amitabh. Only 395 surfers vouched for SRK, while 146 remained unsure.
Again, the verdict was clear: The new rehashed Don would be a disaster. A whopping 2, 011 surfers were sure the new effort would sink deep into oblivion. 553 people were cautious, saying it depended on Farhan Akhtar to create the magic, while only a mere 338 said the movie would actually click.
Once more, the numbers betrayed the new Don. As many as 1563 people said they could not even think of Priyanka Chopra in place of the evergreen Zeenat Aman. 863 people said this would not be a bad idea, while 521 remained non-committal.
Kareena vs Helen fared equally badly. 1,966 surfers emphatically said it was unacceptable, 472 said it was a good idea, while 462 wanted to see the movie first, before commenting on it.
Now here's the interesting part: As many as 1,255 people said they would not watch the new Don at all. Meanwhile, 111 surfers said they would watch the movie only to compare it with the original, and only 536 people said they'd watch it for the sake of King Khan (!). Farhaan, are you listening?
Now for another eye-opener. 1,620 surfers actually opined that anyone other than SRK could have done a better job as the new Don. (Some of them even said Abhishek Bachchan would have been a good option). Surprisingly, 650 people vouched for Hrithik, while only 631 voted for Shah Rukh Khan.
So that's the verdict, loud and clear: Let the past be. And SRK, it's time to pack your bags!
Ever heard of a movie being written off, even before it was released? Well, that's the power of public opinion!
Vox Populi is immensely thankful to its surfers for their enthusiastic, overwhelming response. Keep up the spirit and we hope to catch up with you next week, when a new topic will be the subject of debate. Till then, happy surfing!