Abhishek Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra in a sword and sorcery movie from Bollywood? That's certainly something different for me, and having two leading stars in this movie definitely provided that additional boost to pick up the DVD for closer scrutiny. Alas for a fantasy film, there's nothing groundbreaking in its special effects, action sequences or story, and if some kind of benchmark was to be set, then this would likely be at the level of Krull, and even then, Krull had a more coherent and intriguing premises than Drona.
In Goldie Behl's creation, Drona refers to the long lineage of kings entrusted to protect the Nectar of Immortality, which demigods of the universe had decided to hide on Earth, under the constant eye of their chosen protector. Adit (Abhishek Bachchan) is the latest descendant of Dronas, but is unaware of his innate ability as protector of the world. In what seemed to be some vast similarities to Harry Potter, he lives with mean relatives and becomes a punching bag for their bullying, until he's awakened by his protector of sorts, the woman-warrior Sonia (Priyanka Chopra).
So it becomes a discovery of his lineage, abilities and destiny, but this development plods along so slowly, coupled with Bachchan's constant brooding as Drona, that it makes it really infuriating to follow, and not to mention countless of over-dramatic moments each time he discovers a little something about himself or his abilities, or even his wardrobe, sword and trusty super steed. And in order to push this Drona into action, it had taken the villainous wizard Riz Raizada (Kay Kay Menon) a diabolical scheme to freeze Drona's mom (Jaya Bachchan) into suspended animation, and thereafter some really convenient plot development that allows the audience to follow Drona around in a rescue mission of sorts.
Drona's abilities actually don't come off as well-defined, and you would've wondered at the amazing ability of his to fight off his opponents through various wire-fu moves. Battle sequences on the whole were rather lacklustre, and the big train action sequence came off as rather clunky and clumsy, and strictly meant for the kids. Costumes were rather average, and I thought Priyanka had to endure some really ridiculous outfits that tried too hard to make her look sexy yet fearsome as a warrior.
The rare saving graces in the film were the numerous graphical and animated stills that get juxtaposed with the live action scenes. Those were really gorgeous to gawk at, together with some of the really ambitious special effects used to jazz up scenes, but a pity that the same can't be said of the film proper. And of course, Kay Kay Menon seemed to have a field day with a villain with a penchant for monologues through puppetry, and the creation of countless of clones to do his evil bidding and fight battles on his behalf. For a villain he had some of the best moments in being always one step ahead of the hero, until of course the decisive moment in the finale which was a real disappointment.
No doubt Drona tried hard to be a one of a kind film in a genre seldom seen from Bollywood, but it contains more misses than hits, and lacked that fundamental quality that it's always about the story first, then special effects and action second. But as they say, the only way to go from here for this genre in Bollywood, is up. Watch only if you have some children to entertain.
The Region Free DVD from Eros Entertainment is presented in anamorphic widescreen, with audio available either in 5.1 Dolby Digital, or 2.0 Stereo. Subtitles are available in English only, and comes with a 24 chapter scene selection. The trailer for Heroes autoplays when the DVD gets popped into the player.
There's a menu for Songs with a play all function, though in my opinion none of them stood out, perhaps only the theme song Drona, otherwise the rest - Khushi, Oop Oop Cha, Nanhe Nanhe, and Bandagi are forgettable.
The other Special Features are quite standard fare, but presented in matted letterbox format. Under Bonus Material which comes with a play all function, the Making of Drona (19:51) contains the usual interviews with cast and crew, though Kay Kay was noticeably absent, and has a look at how the action sequences, and music were done for the film. Music Release provides a 3:30 glimpse at the launch of the music CD, and Movie Premiere (10:30) captured the celebratory atmosphere of the movie's red carpet event, where you can play spot-the-celebrity, and everyone offering extremely kind words before and after the screening of the film. For those who are not so good actors, you can see them struggle to come up with pleasantries in order to be polite.
The other special features will be a Forthcoming Attraction which is actually a tv spot trailer for Heroes lasting a minute, and Now Available containing 30s trailers of films such as Hijack, U Melaur Hum, Money Hai Toh Honey Hai, Haal-e-dil, One Two Three, and Dhoom Dapakka.