Don movie review: Sivakarthikeyan is in his element in this pleasant campus drama

Don is the new entrant in a long series of movies that talk about Indian parents’ obsession with making their children engineers. Sivakarthikeyan’s Chakaravarthi hates his father. And he has his reasons. Chakaravarthi’s father, played by Samuthirakani, is a working-class man, with old-fashioned parenting skills. He believes that there are not many parenting problems that can’t be solved with a tight slap across the face. Chakaravarthi is clever enough to know not to openly rebel against his autocratic father because all it will get him is bruises on his face. His rebellion is rather quiet. He refuses to honour his father’s wish for him to do well in his studies by willfully doing everything in his power to fail in his studies. Despite all his efforts, his father puts him in an engineering college and his rebellion only grows in scale and scope.

Chakaravarthi is not an aimless person. He has an aim and that aim is to find an aim in his life. Yes, it feels like a generous mix of 3 Idiots and Lakshya. Debutant director Cibi Chakaravarthi makes this cocktail by filling up the narrative with social commentary on the dated educational system and a feel-good romantic track. And then he mixes a sense of strong nostalgia, youthful exuberance, a dash of drama and serves it after garnishing it with a nice slice of vincible ignorance. It’s quite a familiar drink, nonetheless very enjoyable. There is something very comforting about familiarity, no?

Don is pleasant from the word go, thanks mainly to the charm of Sivakarthikeyan. It is very easy to accept him in this role given the film also closely resembles the struggles he faced in real life before he became a movie star. He infuses the character with a lot of conviction and palpable energy, which is very hard not to succumb to. The actor has brought his A-game to this film. From mimicry to his trademark tomfoolery, he keeps us invested in the story of Chakaravarthi.

Another good quality of Don is it is not one-sided. The coming-of-age campus drama is all about the protagonist learning there are no villains in his life. There are only well-meaning people with different life experiences. The guilt trip in Don is enormous, it may even well up your eyes a few times. But, it all ends well and leaves you with a good mood and satisfaction, something that we have missed in movies for a long time.

Don movie director: Cibi Chakaravarthi
Don movie cast: Sivakarthikeyan, Priyanka Arul Mohan, S. J. Suryah
Don movie ratings: 3

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