In Cibi Chakravarthy’s debut film Don, which stars Sivakarthikeyan in the lead, drama works more effectively than the comedy. However, it’s the comedy that makes up for about 80% of the movie. It’s the emotional core, anchored by a very strong father-son relationship angle, that makes the movie likeable and relatable more than the college portion, which could’ve been funnier. In an otherwise predictable film about the hero’s journey of self-exploration, it’s the latter half that gives it some semblance and makes it wholesome. Also read: Doctor strikes gold at box office, becomes Sivakarthikeyan’s highest-grossing film with ₹90 crore collection
Sivakarthikeyan plays Chakravarthy, who is born in a lower middle-class family, which believes that their son becoming an engineer would change their lives for good. Samuthirakani plays Chakravarthy’s father–a disciplinarian, who only wishes that his son studies well and settles down in life. Chakravarthy, on the other hand, wants to make a name for himself without really studying. Due to their clash of opinions, there’s always a friction between the father and son.
Chakravarthy is forced to join an engineering college much against his wishes. To add to his misfortune, Bhoominathan (SJ Suryah), a faculty member, turns out to be tougher than Chakravarthy’s father and makes life miserable for the students with his rules. The rest of the story is about how Chakravarthy finds his calling and becomes something in his life.
Don is largely a campus drama and the film stays true to the genre for the most part. It opens with the scene where we see Chakravarthy leave Kerala on a rainy night, despite being warned by his staff, to reach Chennai the next morning at any cost. Through the course of the night, Chakravarthy takes us back to his college days and his strained relationship with his father. The college portion keeps the film light-hearted and some scenes work well but on the whole it could’ve been funnier.
The college portion reminded me of Sushant Singh Rajput’s Chhichhore and how it was enjoyable but still managed to inspire with its message. Don misses out on delivering the laughs, despite setting most of the story in a college campus. But what it succeeds in achieving is getting the drama to touch all the right chords. The father-son relationship makes for a very interesting sub-plot and it anchors the film when it sails off course.
As you walk out of the movie, you’re left on an emotional high and that makes you overlook the largely predictable first half of the movie. Even though you can sense how the film will end, it still leaves a lasting impact. Samuthirakani walks away with all the brownie points for his moving performance as a father who gives up on his own dreams to make sure his son stays happy. It’s not something we haven’t seen before but it’s likeable and highly relatable. Sivakarthikeyan is at his effortless self and undergoes a major transformation towards the end, and it’s something he handles so maturely.
Director: Cibi Chakravarthy
Cast: Sivakarthikeyan, SJ Suryah, Priyanka Arul Mohan and Samuthirakani