Don 2 - The King is Back is an Indian Hindi action thriller film directed by Farhan Akhtar. It is a sequel to the 2006 film, Don: The Chase Begins Again. The film stars Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra in the lead roles and also Om Puri, Lara Dutta and Kunal Kapoor in supporting roles. The film marks Farhan Akhtar's return to direction after a gap of nearly 5 years. it also marks Khan's return to playing villainous characters in lead roles since his earlier films like Darr and Baazigar and first sequel in his two-decade old career. It has released on December 23, 2011 in both 2D and 3D formats and is also available in Tamil and Telugu languages. The film was shot in India, Germany, Malaysia and Switzerland.
In 2006 with the ever looming dangers of the underworld in Malaysia, Don broke the morale of his associates by infiltrating the gang with an alias and taking advantage of the enmity of Singhania & Vardhaan. He rose to become the undisputed King of the underworld with his shrewd mind and merciless tactics.
The police in their pursuit of Don unknowingly hired the very man they were trying to hunt. Don used this to his advantage and let the police and his former associates battle each other while he escaped much to the bewilderment of everyone leaving no traces of evidence of his whereabouts.
Having conquered the Asian underworld, Don (Khan) now has his sights set on European domination. In his way are the bosses of the existing European underworld and all law enforcement agencies.
The action shifts from Kuala Lumpur to Berlin as Don must avoid assassination or arrest, whichever comes first, in order for his plan to succeed.
Shahrukh Khan: Don
A 'wanted' man, 5 years ago, he was being hunted by law enforcement agencies of 11 countries. After a cat-and-mouse game of his own archestration, where he duped everyone into believing that he was the paan-chewing simpleton Vijay. Don walked away tall and victorious - the new, invincible king of the entire Asian underworld.
This time around, wilier and even more ruthless than before, Don is ready for bigger game. A master plan that will destroy all his enemies and virtually bring Europe to its knees!
Priyanka Chopra: Roma
Don's 'Junglee Billee', in her quest to avenge the cold-blooded murder of her brother Ramesh at the hands of Don, she fell in love with Don's innocent look alike Vijay... only to shockingly discover that Vijay was actually Don.
Now, years later, determined to seek vengeance, she has joined the Interpol and is part of their worldwide hunt for Don. When she does find him, will it be payback time for Don? Or are there same tender feelings still lingering underneath all the hatred that feels for him?
Boman Irani: Vardhaan
He was masquerading as DCP De'Silva when we first met him. The dual identity was all part of an elaborate subterfuge. Years ago, Singhania had double-crossed him and Vardhaan managed to settle the score by assassination. But his best=laid plans hadn't taken into account Don's scheming mind, which ensured that Vardhaan fell victim to his own trap.
Now, he's languishing in a Malaysian prison, waiting... seething... to get even with Don. But when Don comes calling with a hand held out in friendship, will he join forces with his arch enemy?
And can he be trusted if he does?
Om Puri: Mallik
An Interpol officer, his life's mission seems to be the capture of Don. He's spent years pursuing him. Now, also a mentor to Roma, he is willing to do all it takes to accomplish what he started out to do.
But when he does come face-to-face with Don, will he manage to apprehend him? Or will he become another pawn in Don's hands, like many have before him?
Rajesh Khattar: Singhania
The original kingpin, Singhania had entrusted the running of his drug cartel to his trusted lieutenant Don. But Don had always has other plans. He took Singhania out of the equation with a major stroke by getting Vardhaan to do the fatal job and took over the cartel.
Although deceased, Singhania still has a part to play in Don's destiny. He has left behind a safety deposit box in Switzerland... The contents of which hold the key to Don's new master plan.
The idea for a sequel to Don: The Chase Begins Again had been conceptualized ever since the first movie released, and it was officially announced by Farhan Akhtar shortly after the release. However, he was involved with other commitments while Shah Rukh Khan needed to recover from a shoulder surgery, so he gave his dates to Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi and My Name Is Khan because they required very little physical exertion. In February 2010, Akhtar revealed that the script and locations for the movie had been finalized. In an interview with DNA Akhtar revealed that he decided to pick up the character again because it still had a lot to offer: "I am wary of sequels having to be made. You should not touch it if you don't have a nice story to tell. With Don 2 I could finally make an action thriller the way I wanted to. Good story, classic action and simple plot which has one goal and work towards it effectively and dramatically." The film marks Akhtar's return to direction after a gap of nearly 5 years, the last film he directed being Don. Anand Subaya was chosen as the main editor of the film, while Ritesh Soni was roped in to oversee the production of music.
Don 2 had a different team of writers from the first film, and it included Akhtar, Ameet Mehta and Amrish Shah. Akhtar stated that "The first film was my father's vision, but Don 2 is being written by fans only. These are yours truly and two new enthusiastic boys, Ameet and Amreesh, who came to me with their ideas on how the story can be carried forward. I've thrown my ideas at them. Don 2 is basically being written by three Don fans who are having a ball carrying the story forward." On November 15, it was announced that Khan became the first celebrity to register a tattoo in his name, when the 'D' tattoo ported on his arm in the film was registered for copyright protection.
In August 2011, the makers of the film announced that they would release the film in 3D. The idea of the 3D conversion occurred to Akhtar while shooting for the film, and after conducting various conversion tests in Los Angeles the producers decided to convert the entire film. Also, the director of photography had shot the film with special lenses which made it easier to give it a third dimension. Sidhwani revealed that he had the idea of converting the film into 3D after seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. Chuck Comisky, a veteran S-3D innovator who supervised the 3D stereo and visual effects on Avatar and Sanctum, was roped in for the film.
Casting and filming
The film was announced with the original cast reprising their roles, with the exception of Arjun Rampal and Ishaa Koppikar. It was also announced that Lara Dutta and Kunal Kapoor were cast as new characters in the film. Filming for Don 2 began from October 10, 2010 in Berlin. According to Khan, who also co-produced the film, the city was chosen as location for the film because the film demanded a more realistic backdrop, unlike some of his other films shot in more fairy tale like environments of countries like Switzerland. A 70-member crew from India traveled to the city two-week preparation for the film's shooting. The film was shot at Berlin's prime locations like Brandenburg Gate, the Olympia Stadium, The Gandarmen Market and the East Side Gallery. Khan bulked up for the film and developed a six pack. Khan also experimented with a variety of different looks, including long unkempt hair and a stubble. Chopra prepared her body for at least two months and requested the action choreographer that she wanted to do the stunts all by herself. While in Berlin, Khan made a 300-feet jump for a scene. In December 2010, shooting ended in Berlin.
In February 2011, the actors flew to Malaysia for the second phase of the shoot, where a few scenes were shot inside the Malacca Prison with real prisoners. A complete section of the prison block was made available for the shoot. In order to avoid any hitches, special crew T-shirts were made to differentiate crew-members from the prisoners as it was a high security zone. Filming in Malaysia lasted for a month and ended on March 20, 2011.
Khan became the only Indian actor to have successfully shot a film sequence in Germany, a country that is infamous for denying requests of international film shoots. A production executive stated that "Unlike the US, UK and Thailand, it isn’t easy to obtain permission to shoot in Germany. The rules are very strict and in order to be eligible one needs to clear at least 47 points out of 60 [...] Shah Rukh Khan is so famous in Germany and that made a great difference to shoot Don 2 there". Sidhwani said, "We are the first Indian film which has managed to do that. There were certain pre-conditions that we were required to meet and we had to be very careful. Eventually they did open the doors for us. Once we were together on making the film, they proved to be extremely helpful." In the process, he joined Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt to become only the third actor able to obtain filming permission in Germany, after the former actors shot Valkyrie and Inglourious Basterds respectively.
Shahrukh Khan trained with international stunt and fight director Wolfgang Stegemann, who has worked in several high-profile Hollywood films. Wolfgang, who also plays a negative character called Karl in the film, created a special fight style for Khan. He said, "These are powerful and effective to knock off Don's enemies. I had to analyse Mr Khan's motions and find the perfect fight style for him. It is a mix between martial arts, Krav Maga, Wing Chun and Trapping, which has not been practised in Bollywood. It helped him endure long settings of fights together".
In September, 2011, filming resumed in order to shoot a song featuring the two leads. Another song was shot with Khan in Goa in late November, just a month before the film's release. This will be the first of a kind music video where instead of a choreographed song and dance treatment, they have opted to visualise the song as an action sequence. Speaking on this, Akhtar said "Its going to be a first of its kind music video which makes it really exciting to do. Instead of a song and dance treatment, we've opted to visualise the song as an action sequence.. to see Don vanquish his opponents while casually singing the words is surreal but very intriguing".
The film's original score and soundtrack has been composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, who composed the music for the first installment of the series, with lyrics penned by Javed Akhtar. The album features ten tracks, and was released on 17 November 2011 by T-Series to by and large positive reviews.
Marketing (Pre-release revenues)
The German government provided a rebate of €3 million to the producers of the film which was shot in the German capital. The entire shoot in Germany was at a cost of €6.8 million. This is the first time that such a heavy concession is being offered to any film shot in the country. Reliance Big Pictures has bought the rights of the film from Excel Entertainment for INR85 crore (US$16.15 million) and has spent another INR22 crore (US$4.18 million) in prints and marketing the film. Zee Network has acquired the satellite rights of the film for INR37 crore (US$7.03 million), the highest satellite amount as compared to other films released by Reliance in the same year. The distribution rights for the film in Tamil Nadu and Kerala were bought by the newly-formed Sudha Screen's Sreeraj for a reportedly record, but undisclosed price.
Earlier, some working stills from the film featuring Khan in long locks and a rough look were released on the Internet. Later, Akhtar tweeted that the first theatrical trailer of the film and its poster would be released along with Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. A promo launch event was planned on 13 July in Mumbai, though it was canceled later because the 2011 Mumbai bombings. A second trailer was released online on October 24th. The first look of the film was unveiled at the Dubai International Film Festival.
Since the quotes of Don in the first film became very popular, Sidhwani and Akhtar decided to popularize the dialogues of the sequel by releasing 10 witty tongue-in-cheek dialogues of Don from the sequel called "Don Says...", one every Friday starting from October 15 right till the release of the film on December 23. These quotes released simultaneously across all media including television, print, radio, Internet, mobile platform and mobile applications. The "Don says..." one-liners, also know as "Don-isms", have become quite popular in Indian and internationally as well.
The makers of the filmmakers tied up with Microsoft India to launch a "Meet the Don: Mission Berlin" contest that offered the chance to meet Khan himself, in addition to a free trip to Berlin. To popularize the contest, Microsoft planned a 360° marketing campaign which included a television commercial featuring clips from the film, radio advertisements, digital banners and retail collaterals. Amrish Goyal, Director of Windows Business Group, said that "With the Meet the Don: Mission Berlin contest, we not only intend to bring people together in so many different ways but give them more than one reason to celebrate this season."
Khan was accompanied by the director and producers on a multi-city tour in various non-metropolitan centers as a way to promote the film, including Patna. however, it received a set back when the team of the film was not allowed to fly to the city because of security issues. But the tour was back on track with a visit to Nagpur, Ahmedabad and Hyderabad.
Comic and Video game
In October 2011, a comic book based in the film called Don: The Origin was unveiled in Mumbai. It serves as a prequel to the film and talks in detail about Don's past. Speaking about the comic Ritesh Sidhwani added that "Don 2 takes off from where Don: The Chase Begins Again left off. In these five years, many have forgotten the film and must be curious to know how Don came into being. This original story will help them understand him and also offer a background on other characters like Roma and Vardhaan."
Excel Entertainment collaborated with India’s largest game services company Gameshastra, to launch a console game. The firm is developing a third-person action adventure console game where the player plays as Don and does actions similar to those done by Don in the movie. The character in the game will look like Khan in the film. There is also a social game called "Don - The Social Mobsters Game", which will launch on Facebook and is developed by Mango Games. The game will be available on Android, iOS, and PSN for PlayStation 3 platforms. While the game on Android and iOS will be released along with the movie, the console version of the game will be released in March next year. Sidhwani said, "This is the first time a game is based on an Indian film that will be launched on four platforms. When I saw the creative of the game, I was very excited because the visuals were as real as the characters in the film. For an iconic character like Don, I think this was the best way to keep the hysteria going amongst his fans."
Don 2 will be released worldwide on the Christmas weekend of 23 December 2011. The film will release in around 3,000 prints in the domestic market including 550 prints in 3D in some selected cinema theaters. It will also be released in over 100 overseas markets. The dubbed versions in Telugu and Tamil will release along with the Hindi version.
A month before its release, Nariman Films, the producers of the original, sent a legal notice to Reliance Entertainment and Excel Entertainment over the remaking of the original for the second time. According to the notice, Nariman Films had given the rights to Excel Entertainment in perpetuity for making only Don: The Chase Begins Again. However, the producers claimed that "Whatever they had done is legal, so the claim is false and so are the charges. This is an absolutely new film and there is no question of a delay in releasing Don 2." Moreover, Khan added in an interview with Mumbai Mirror, "While my producers are best qualified to give a fitting reply to the whole matter, I as a lead actor can say that as for the sequel, the Amitabh Bachchan Don never had a sequel. So where is the question of us copying anything. Farhan and his team have worked on the script, I know for a fact that we haven't copied from anywhere and this is an original script.
The producers were sent a notification by the Health ministry, stating that they should put a disclaimer along with the lead character speaking about the ill-effects of smoking. The ministry also demanded the smoking scenes depicted in the film be scrolled down or blurred. Sidhwani and Javed Akhtar met Information and Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni to resolve the matter, and commented "We all agree that smoking is a major health issue and there is no intention of glorifying it in the film. It is shown as a weakness or a trait of the character. We reasoned with them and they saw our point of view. So the film will only have a disclaimer in the beginning. No blurring of scenes or scrolls during the movie."
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