The movie opens with Ondine, a young woman who is still searching for her calling in life. She enrolls at an engineering university after scoring well on the entrance exams.
In the film Don, Sivakarthikeyan plays Chakaravarthi, a protagonist who prefers to make a name for himself rather than study. The film is about whether this young man can figure out what he wants to do in life while being subjected to an environmen t that drains his soul – an engineering school. Boominathan (SJ Suryah), a college instructor who is even stricter than his father, adds to his troubles.
With this Santhosh Subramaniam-meets-Nanban set-up, Cibi Chakaravarthi is able to appeal to both the young and older audiences. He cleverly divides the film into two halves – one for the youth and one for the family audience. Yes, we see how premeditated this method is, which makes Don less of a coming-of age narrative and more of a commercial cornflakes entertainment, but the filmmaker manages to triumph.
The film is built around the rivalry between Chakaravarthi, the college’s Don, and Boomi, as well as SJ Suryah and Sivakarthikeyan. The two’s agility to bring down the other results in several entertaining moments, such as when Boomi sets up a parent-teacher meeting with Don’s father or when Don manages to put the teachers in the students’ shoes.
This battle of wits is punctuated by several tender moments between Don and Angayarkanni (Priyankaa Mohan), which is sometimes cute and at other times cringe-worthy.
At the conclusion, things grow too sentimental and inadvertently approach treacly melodrama, which is out of character for the lighthearted tone we’ve had until then, but it doesn’t ruin the film. That said, while it attempts to portray toxic parenting as a kind of ‘untold love,’ the emotions it makes us feel in these sequences don’t seem authentic because they try to pass off bad parenting as a form of ‘untold love.’
While the statement about parents learning to raise their children by trial and error rings true, given how the character treated his son until then, it’s hard to accept the film’s attempts to make Don’s father seem like a lovable figure.
After all that, Cibi Chakaravarthi’s conviction assures that despite its somewhat predictable treatment of the subject matter, the film is nonetheless engaging.
Sivakarthikeyan, Priyanka Arul Mohan, S. J. Suryah, Samuthirakani, Soori
Movie Rating: 3.0/5