Don (character)

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Don
Don 2 first look.jpg
Shahrukh Khan as Don in the film Don 2
First appearance Don
Last appearance Don 2
Created by Salim-Javed
Portrayed by Amitabh Bachchan
Shahrukh Khan
Information
Gender Male
Occupation Crime Boss
Title The King
Nationality Indian

Don is a fictional character in the Don film series. The character was created by the writer duo Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar, and was portrayed by Amitabh Bachchan.[1] Later in the new film series of Don he was replaced by Shahrukh Khan.[2] He was first introduced in the 1978 film Don. He later appears in the sequels Don (2006 Hindi film) and Don 2.

In the film series, he is shown as a crime lord who initially works under Singhania, but later emerges as an Emperor of the Asian and European mafia. He is characterised as evil, cunning and ruthless, though he is shown to exhibit a little romantic interest in his friend turned foe Roma. In the first film Don, he is shown to be dead and a look alike of him named Vijay takes his place to work as an informer to the police. However in the 2006 film it is revealed that Don is actually alive and had killed Vijay to take his place for a little while. Later he manages to control the entire Indian Mafia and eventually takes control of the European mafia.

The character had appeared in several films, comics and video games and has managed to gain a cult status in the Indian Cinema.[3][4]

Films[edit]

Don (1978 film)[edit]

Main article: Don (1978 film)

Don(Amitabh Bachchan) 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.

Don (2006 film)[edit]

Main article: Don (2006 Hindi film)

In 2006, the drug trade is booming. The Malaysian Intelligence and Anti-Narcotic Department are called upon for assistance by their Indian counterparts. The Indian team is headed by DCP D'Silva (Boman Irani), who wants to break the drug operations of a drug lord named Singhania. Helping him along the way is Malik (Om Puri). Both of them know that in order to capture Singhania, they must capture his most loyal ally Don (Shah Rukh Khan). Don is extremely dangerous - he has even been known to kill one of his own men Ramesh, who attempted to leave Don and his gang without informing Don first. Ramesh's fiance Kamini (Kareena Kapoor) decides to help D'Silva arrest Don but in the process, she is also killed by Don. Now, Ramesh's sister Roma (Priyanka Chopra) manages to get her way into Don's gang by persuading them that she is wanted by the police - her real plan is to murder Don in order to avenge her brother and his fiance.

Don and his gang, consisting of Anita (Isha Koppikar) his girlfriend and Narang (Pawan Malhotra) travel to India to trade some drugs. D'Silva and his team follow them there - Don is injured fatally during a police chase. D'Silva keeps this a secret - he decides to track down a look alike of Don named Vijay (Shah Rukh Khan) and asks him to pose as Don so that he (D'Silva) can get the gang arrested. Vijay agrees when D'Silva promises to admit Deepu (Tanay Chheda), a child Vijay looks after, to a good school. Meanwhile, Jasjit (Arjun Rampal), Deepu's real father has just been released from prison and becomes bent on killing D'Silva. This is because Jasjit was committing a crime in order to save Deepu and his wife from a gang of criminals and D'Silva had Jasjit arrested, thereby preventing Jasjit from saving his wife from death.

Vijay is admitted to the same hospital as Don, who is in a coma. Vijay, through an operation, soon gets all the scars which Don has, put on his body. Suddenly, Don dies of heart failure. When Vijay (as Don) re-enters the gang, he will have lost his memory - the more he learns about Don, the more he shall remember. The gang have a disc which contains some of their most vital information. Vijay agrees to take this disc to D'Silva - Roma decides to go with him. When they arrive, Roma attempts to kill Vijay (thinking he is Don). However, D'Silva arrives and tells Roma about his and Vijay's plan. Roma and Vijay now find themselves falling in love. D'Silva soon finds Singhania and kills him. In a police raid, Vijay and the gang members are all arrested by Malik and his team. D'Silva is killed in a blast - this is unfortunate for Vijay because D'Silva is the only person who could prove that Vijay is not the real Don. Now don's gang is against vijay of knowing his true identity. Vijay escapes and tries to pursue the disc he gave to D'Silva in order to prove his innocence.

Jasjit still continues to try and find his son, Deepu. It is revealed he is in possession of the disc - he receives a telephone call saying that if he wants to see his son again, he will have to bring the disc to the men who have Deepu hostage. At this meeting, it is revealed that D'Silva has been alive all along and is actually Vardhan, the longtime rival of Singhania. Jasjit manages to escape with his son. He meets Vijay and Roma and reveals that D'Silva is really Vardhan - the three hatch a plot to help Malik arrest Vardhan. The next day, Jasjit arranges a meeting with Vardhan, saying he will hand over the disc. Vardhan and Vijay engage in a fight until Vardhan is defeated and arrested. Vijay gets badly injured during the fight, and is rushed to hospital - before he leaves, Roma confesses her love for him. In a final twist, it is revealed that the real Don is alive and was pretending to be Vijay the whole time. In the hospital, Don quickly recovered from the coma and overheard D'Silva's conversation with Vijay. He switched places with Vijay, meaning Vijay died of heart failure. It is also revealed that the disc Don gave to the police was fake. In the end, Don and Anita both escape, knowing the police nor Roma will ever capture him.

Don 2[edit]

Main article: Don 2

The film opens five years after where the original film ended with Don(Shahrukh Khan) narrating the story. The bosses of the European drug cartel meet in the French Riviera to discuss a new threat emerging from Asia. Don is jeopardising their business because he is able to sell drugs at a much lower price to their customers. The bosses send word out that Don must die. Don has been living in Thailand for the past five years and goes to a remote settlement to pick up a shipment of cocaine. Instead of normal transaction, Don has to fight his way out because the European drug dealers want him dead. He then inexplicably goes back to Malaysia where he surrenders to Roma (Priyanka Chopra) and Inspector Malik (Om Puri). Don is sentenced to death and sent to a Malaysian prison where he meets his old rival Vardhaan (Boman Irani). Don offers Vardhan his partnership, Vardhan agrees - they escape the prison by poisoning all the inmates and go to Zurich, Switzerland, where Don meets his trusted companion, Ayesha (Lara Dutta).

In Zurich, they retrieve the contents of a locker only Vardhaan could access. The locker holds a tape that shows J.K Diwan (Alyy Khan), the vice president of a Euro printing bank called DZB (Deutsche Zentral Bank = German Central Bank), sent by Fabian Kohl to bribe Singhania (Rajesh Khattar) to kill a competitor. Don blackmails Diwan into giving him the blueprints to the currency center so that he can steal the printing plates. Diwan gives him fake information and hires an assassin Jabbar (Nawab Shah) instead. Don manages to escape and forces Jabbar to work for him. Diwan, left with no choice, hands over the real information.

Don and his new team plan a bank robbery and carry out their plan by using hostages. After stealing the printing plates, Don is betrayed by Vardhaan and Jabbar but manages to escape. However, one of the members, Sameer (Kunal Kapoor) calls the police and Don is captured. Don threatens Sameer for informing the police. Unable to enter the bank and free the hostages, the police are forced to work with Don to get back into the bank in exchange for immunity in Germany.

Don and Roma manage to reach Vardhaan and Jabbar but Roma is shot because she refuses to kill Don when told to do so. This gives an idea that Roma still has feelings for Don, even though he killed her brother five years ago. Vardhaan and his thugs fight and Don manages to defeat them; Jabbar is killed in the process. He then gets his immunity papers and surrenders the disc (containing the information about his associates) and the plates. He takes Roma to an ambulance. Don and Roma exchange one glance at each other before the ambulance doors close. He later detonates a bomb he planted earlier in Diwan’s car.

In a final scene it is revealed that Don actually still has one of the money plates, which the police believe is destroyed in the explosion. It is also revealed that Sameer was loyal to Don and giving his information to police was just a part of Don's plan. The police cannot do anything as Don has immunity and do not know that Don has a plate. Don also gives the police a disc of all his associates but it is really a disc with the names of the European drug cartel. All the members of the cartel are arrested and Don becomes the king of the European underworld. Finally Don tells Ayesha and Sameer that they do not know how rich they are going to become. When Ayesha reveals to him that she was afraid he would be caught he narrates his famous dialogue- "Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahin namumkin hai" (It's not just difficult to catch Don, it's impossible), and an evil laugh of Don is heard as the end credits start to roll.

Don 3[edit]

There had been preparations to bring back Don with the film Don 3.[5] The script work is still going on.[6] But Shahrukh Khan denied the rumours that the makers had approached him for the sequel[7]

Creation[edit]

The writer duo Salim-Javed had written a script which they didn't name. They were unsuccessful in selling the script to the producers. It was eventually rejected by Dev Anand, Prakash Mehra and Jeetendra. By that time producer Nariman Irani was in huge debts after he produced the film Zindagi Zindagi with Sunil Dutt which turned out to be a huge flop. Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman, Chandra Barot and Manoj Kumar suggested him to make another film. Then he along with Chandra Barot brought the script from the writers Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar and the script was eventually named Don.[8] According to Javed's son Farhan, his version of Don's real name is Mark Donald as per his fictional creations.[9]

Characterization[edit]

"Yeh tum janti ho ki yeh revolver khali hai ... main janta hoon ki yeh revolver khali hai ... lekin police nahin janti ki yeh revolver khali hai" (You know that this revolver is empty ... I know that this revolver is empty ... but police does not know that this revolver is empty)
—Don fools the police by threatening Kamini with an empty revolver[10]

Don is characterized as evil and cunning. In one of the films he threatens to kill a girl Kamini with an empty revolver if the police dosen't let him go (Owing to the fact that they do not know that the revolver is empty). He is also shown to be ruthless when running his business. He even kills Ramesh, a man who works for him, when he tries to leave Don and his business. In one of the films he says 'Don ke samne aadmi ke pass sirf do raaste hote hain..mann jaye ya mar jaye...jaisi uski marzi' (When in front of Don, a man has only two choices, agree or die...his choice). As a result he makes enemies all the way. But he is shown to escape from all of them with perfect ease. Although the Interpol is badly in search of him he manages to hide and run his business smoothly.

"Don ko Pakadna mushkil hi nanhi... namumkin hain" (It's not just hard to catch Don, it's impossible)[11]
—The most famous dialogue of Don

Don is also shown to be a great escape artist. He manages to escape from every tricky situation he is confronted with. In one of the situations, when he was imprisoned in a jail, he manages to smuggle a pair of driver's clothes, poisons all his inmates that night and manages to escape in driver's clothes driving an ambulance on the pretext of taking them to the hospital. It is shown that nearly eleven countries are searching for him. He starts working under Singhania along with Vardhaan, but betrays both of them and establishes himself as the King of the Drug cartel.

At Hand-to-hand combat he shown to be a perfectionist. In fact he is shown to be a ruthless killer. In one of the situations he kills his opponent by breaking his neck in two, spits on him and says "see ya!" When in the jail he easily overpowers Vardhaan who threatens him with a knife.

Other versions[edit]

Don has appeared in several non-Hindi films, most of which are remakes of the 1978 original. These include the Telugu film Yugandhar (1979) where he was played by N. T. Rama Rao, the Tamil film Billa where he was played by Rajinikanth, and the Malayalam film Shobaraj (1986), where he was played by Mohanlal. Ajith Kumar played the character in Billa's 2007 remake of the same name, while Prabhas reprised the role in its 2009 Telugu version.[12][13]

References[edit]