Watching Drona a slow-moving battle

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      Starring Abhishek Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Kay Kay Menon, and Jaya Bachchan. Rated PG.

      One would think that a fantasy-superhero film from India—a country replete with mythology, religion, and folklore—would be a sure thing. Apparently not. Goldie Behl’s much-hyped, star-studded Drona is more than a disappointment. It’s a waste.

      The film begins in an unnamed western city, where Aditya (Abhishek Bachchan) lives with his nasty foster mom and brother. He is unaware of both his true royal lineage and the fact that the evil magician Raizada (Kay Kay Menon) is looking for him. After a confrontation with Raizada, his protector, Sonia (Priyanka Chopra), reveals to Aditya his true identity. She takes him to a castle in an Indian desert to meet his queen mother (Jaya Bachchan) and to claim his place as the next “Drona”.

      The rest of the film consists of a slow-moving battle between Drona and Raizada over the “nectar of immortality”, which could potentially destroy the universe. Unfortunately, the details and the internal logic of the film are sketchy. The powers of both the superhero and the villain, for example, are never defined. Drona appears dimwitted but strong. Raizada is neither funny nor frightening, merely creepy. Although Sonia’s character has interesting action scenes, she soon devolves from protector to damsel in distress. The brief appearance of an Indian version of Gandalf only serves to highlight the film’s weaknesses.

      Drona had potential. There’s clearly an abundance of material to draw on for a truly desi take on the genre. Sadly, this film veers widely, lifting elements from various better films while not laying claim to a tone or an audience. Fans of Bollywood and of this genre will likely find the movie aggravating because of the lost opportunity it represents.

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