Don (1978 film)

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Don
Don 1978 poster.jpg
Film Poster
Directed by Chandra Barot
Produced by Nariman A. Irani
Nariman Films
Written by Salim-Javed
Starring Amitabh Bachchan
Zeenat Aman
Pran
Helen
Iftekhar
Music by Kalyanji Anandji
Cinematography Nariman A. Irani
Edited by Wamanrao
Production
company
Nariman Films
Release dates
  • 20 April 1978 (1978-04-20)
[1]
Running time 175 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget INR8.5 million (US$140,000)[1]
Box office INR70 million (US$1.1 million)[2]

Don is a 1978 Indian action-thriller film, produced by Nariman Irani and directed by Chandra Barot, with music by Kalyanji Anandji and lyrics by Anjaan and Indeewar. The film stars Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman, Pran, Iftekhar, Helen and Om Shivpuri, Satyen Kappu and Pinchoo Kapoor. It was the third-highest grossing Bollywood movie of 1978, and was classified a golden jubilee by Box Office India.[2][3] A remake and sequel were released on 20 October 2006 and 23 December 2011, respectively.

Plot[edit]

Don begins, true to its title, as the story of one of the most powerful men in the business of crime, who in spite of being one of the most wanted on the list of Interpol, remains elusive to the police. Along with the police, Don makes a few other enemies through his merciless approach to running his organization, especially when he kills one of his own men, Ramesh, when the latter decides to leave the business. This introduces Don to two new enemies, Kamini (Helen), Ramesh's fiancee, and Roma, (Zeenat Aman) Ramesh's sister. When Kamini seduces Don and attempts to have the police arrest him, her plan backfires as Don outsmarts her and the police in his escape, and in the process, Kamini is killed. A shattered, revenge-seeking Roma gets her hair cut short, trains in judo and karate, then enters Don's gang after deceiving them into thinking that she too is on the wrong side of the law. Don is impressed with her fighting skills and allows her to work for him, without realizing her true intentions. Meanwhile, after a couple of unsuccessful attempts at nabbing Don, the police finally succeed, but Don dies during the pursuit, botching Officer D'Silva's plan to reach the source of all crime—the man Don reported to—through capturing Don alive. D'Silva buries Don's body, ensuring that people believe that he may still be alive. As luck would have it, D'Silva remembers his chance encounter with Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan), a simpleton trying to survive in the hustle and bustle of Bombay in order to support two small foster children, who is an exact lookalike of Don. D'Silva hatches a plan to transform Vijay into Don so he can arrest the rest of the gang.

Around the time Vijay "returns" to Don's gang as Don under the guise of amnesia, Jasjit (Pran), just released from jail, begins his mission of revenge against D'Silva and his search for his children Deepu and Muni, who had been saved and taken care of by Vijay. Vijay manages to replace the red diary with a blank one, and tells his gang that he is going to take revenge on the DSP, but is actually going there to give him the red diary. Roma goes after him, but Vijay survives the attack and he tries to explain to her that he is not Don, but Vijay. She refuses to believe him at first but D'Silva intervenes and tells her that the man she is trying to kill is indeed Vijay.

Meanwhile, as Vijay learns more and more about Don through his discovery of his diary and Roma's help, he announces to his colleagues that his memory is back. Celebrations ensue, as Don announces his return to the world, but things take a drastic turn when the police raid the celebrations, acting upon Vijay's information, but Vijay's only witness to his true identity, D'Silva, dies in the crossfire.

Tangled in a web of confusion where the police refuse to believe that he is Vijay, whereas his underworld gang realizes that he is indeed not Don, Vijay becomes not only hated by the police, but also by Don's right-hand man, Narang, and the rest of his gang. To add to Vijay's woes, Don's diary which he had handed over to D'Silva – his last hope of proving his innocence – is stolen by Jasjit in an attempt to track down his lost children, without realizing that Vijay is the one man who can reunite them. Vijay escapes the clutches of the police and the underworld with Roma's help and returns to his old self though he struggles to prove his identity and innocence. After a long fight of Vijay against Vardan's men Roma ends up getting the diary and one of the gangster's snatch it and burn it. The ending reveals that the diary which was burnt was, in fact, the fake diary and Vijay had the real one in order to trick Vardan, he gives the proof to the police and all charges are put against him, Vardan is arrested and Vijay returns to his old life.

Cast and Crew[edit]

Cast[edit]

  • Amitabh Bachchan as Don and Vijay: Don is the most wanted criminal. The police are always unsuccessful at nabbing him. However, Don is soon fatally shot during a police encounter. Vijay is the spitting image of Don and is soon forced to pose as Don in order to help the police arrest Don's gang members.
  • Zeenat Aman as Roma: A simple girl whose brother Ramesh works for Don. Roma literally hates Don because the latter murdered her brother. She joins Don's business but with secret motives to kill Don.
  • Pran as Jasjit (JJ)
  • Iftekhar as DSP D'Silva
  • Om Shivpuri as Vardan/Interpol Officer R.K. Malik (Impostor)
  • Pinchoo Kapoor as Interpol Officer R.K. Malik (Real)
  • Satyendra Kapoor as Inspector S. Verma
  • Jagdish Raj as Police Officer
  • Keshav Rana as Police Officer
  • Abhimanyu Sharma as Inspector Sharma
  • Prem Sagar as Police Inspector (inspected the ambulance)
  • Paidi Jairaj as Dayal, Judo Karate Instructor
  • Kamal Kapoor as Narang
  • Arpana Choudhary as Anita
  • Helen as Kamini
  • M. B. Shetty as Shakaal
  • Mac Mohan as Mac
  • Baby Bilkish as Munni
  • Alankar Joshi as Deepu
  • Moolchand as Govinda
  • H. L. Pardesi as Banarasi, Pan Seller
  • Gyanesh DJ as Police Officer
  • Sharad Kumar as Ramesh
  • Kedar Saigal as Doctor
  • Rajan Haksar as Kishan, Jasjit's Employer
  • Yusuf Khan as Vikram

Crew[edit]

Production[edit]

Producer and cinematographer Nariman Irani was in a financial mess when his film Zindagi Zindagi (1972) starring Sunil Dutt flopped. He was in debt for Rs 1.2 million and couldn't pay it off on a cinematographer's salary. When he was doing the cinematography for Manoj Kumar's major hit Roti Kapada Aur Makaan (1974), the film's cast (Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman, Pran) and crew (assistant director Chandra Barot) decided to help him out. They all recommended that he produce another film and that they will participate in the film. They all approached scriptwriting duo Salim-Javed, who gave them an untitled script that had already been rejected by the entire industry. The script had a character named Don. Bachchan would play Don, and Barot would direct the film. Aman and Pran would play key roles in the film.[4] The film took three-and-a-half years to complete.[5] Before filming was completed, producer Irani had an accident on the set of another film he was working on, and died as a result. Barot faced budget restraints but he got help.[6] Aman did not take any money for her work in the film.[7] Barot showed it to his mentor Manoj Kumar, who felt that the film was too tight and needed a song in the midst of the action-filled film, and so "Khaike Paan Banaraswala" was recorded. The film was released without any promotion on 12 May 1978 and was declared a flop the first week. Within a week, the song "Khaike Paan Banaraswala" became a big hit, and word of mouth spread, so by the second week, the film was also declared a blockbuster. The profits from the film were given to Irani's widow to settle her husband's debts.[8]

The hit-song "Khaike Pan Banaraswala" was choreographed by P.L. Raj.[9]

Soundtrack[edit]

Don
Soundtrack album by Kalyanji Anandji
Released 1978
Label EMI Records
Producer Kalyanji Anandji

The soundtrack of the film has been composed by the duo Kalyanji Anandji, while the lyrics were written by Anjaan and Indivar.

According to film music expert Rajesh Subramanian the song "Khaike Pan Banaraswala" was composed by Babla (younger brother of famous music director Kalyanji Anandji.

Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle received accolades at filmfare for the tracks "Khaike Pan Banaraswala" and "Yeh Mera Dil" respectively.

Song Title Singer Lyricist Time
"Main Hoon Don" Kishore Kumar Anjan 4:45
"Yeh Hai Bombay Nagaria" Kishore Kumar Anjan 5:53
"Khaike Pan Banaraswala" Kishore Kumar Anjan 3:57
"Jiska Mujhe Tha Intezar" Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar Anjan 4:20
"Yeh Mera Dil" Asha Bhosle Indeevar 4:18

Awards[edit]

Legacy and influence[edit]

Don has elements of Shakti Samanta's film China Town (1962) and is apparently inspired by it. The movie had Shammi Kapoor playing the double roles of both a gangster and his lookalike - a common man turned informer. Don was itself later remade several times.[10]

Don series[edit]

The film was remade in 2006 as Don starring Shah Rukh Khan in the lead role of Don, Priyanka Chopra as Roma, Arjun Rampal as Jasjit, Boman Irani as D'Silva, and Om Puri as Malik. It was directed by Farhan Akhtar. With some changes in script, the film proved to be one of the highest grossing films of the year. A sequel to that film, Don 2 was released on 23 December 2011.[3]

Other Hindi remakes[edit]

  • One Hindi remake was titled Dav Pech (1989), starring Jeetendra. It was unsuccessful.
  • Duplicate (1998), directed by Mahesh Bhatt and starring Shahrukh Khan and Juhi Chawla, is partly a parody of Don.
  • A film with the similar plot line was made starring Bollywood actress Rekha. The film was named Madam X. The plot was similar that the look-alike of a don replaces him after the Don was caught/died. The look-alike was used to catch the whole gang which has international network in drugs and smuggling. Madam X has the same plot: The lead character is a gangster who is caught and replaced in the gang by her look-alike who was a road singer. This film was not a big hit but showed the acting prowess of Rekha who was on the top in the industry when it was released.

Remakes in other languages[edit]

Telugu
Tamil
  • It was also remade in 1980 in Tamil as Billa, starring Rajnikanth. Helen, who played Kamini in the original Hindi film Don (1978), repeated her role in this remake.
  • The 2006 Hindi remake starring Shahrukh Khan, titled Don, inspired the Tamil directors who made the Ajith Kumar starrer Billa — a remake of the same-titled Rajinikanth film.
  • Billa II (2012) is a Tamil film starring Ajith and a prequel to Billa (2007).
Malayalam
English
  • The 2007 Hollywood movie The Death and Life of Bobby Z had a similar premise to this movie. It revolved around a lookalike of a gang leader who is asked to masquerade as him by law enforcement officer(s), though the remainder of the plot was largely different. It is based on a 1997 novel of the same name. The novel was well received, but the movie received negative critical and commercial reactions.

Music[edit]

A sample from the song "Yeh Mera Dil" was used by The Black Eyed Peas for their hit song "Don't Phunk with My Heart" in 2005. The song won the Black Eyed Peas their first Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, while the composers for "Yeh Mera Dil", Kalyanji Anandji, were awarded the BMI Award for being the originators of the melodies used in "Don't Phunk with My Heart."[11]

The third season American Dad! episode "Tearjerker" uses the 1978 Don theme music in its intro sequence.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Don". Ibosnetwork.com. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "Box Office 1978". Boxofficeindia.com. Retrieved 18 June 2011. 
  3. ^ a b IANS (22 February 2010). "Farhan's next Don to go on floors in October". Sify. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
  4. ^ Bollywood | Chandra Barot | Don - The Chase Begins Again | SRK
  5. ^ "Don, down the decades". The Hindu (Chennai, India). 20 October 2006. 
  6. ^ rediff.com: An exclusive interview with Chandra Barot, who made the first Don
  7. ^ Zeenat: I think Vijay is missing
  8. ^ rediff.com: An exclusive interview with Chandra Barot, who made the first Don
  9. ^ "PONYTAIL 'n' pop, but desi". The Hindu. 29 September 2003. Retrieved 29 June 2013. 
  10. ^ CineGoer.com - Nostalgia - Bhale Thammudu
  11. ^ "Kalayanji, Anandji win BMI award". Indo-Asian News Service. 17 May 2006. Retrieved 8 May 2009. 

External links[edit]