Don (2006 Hindi film)

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Don
Don (2006 Hindi film) poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Farhan Akhtar
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on
Starring
Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
Cinematography K. U. Mohanan
Edited by
  • Anand Subaya
  • Neil Sadwelkar
Production
company
Distributed by Eros International
Release date
20 October 2006
Running time
169 minutes[1]
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget 380 million[2]
Box office 1.06 billion[2]

Don (also known as Don - The Chase Begins Again) is a 2006 Indian action-thriller film directed by Farhan Akhtar. The film was produced by Ritesh Sidhwani and Akhtar's production company Excel Entertainment. The film stars Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra, with Arjun Rampal, Boman Irani, Isha Koppikar and Om Puri appearing in supporting roles. Don is a remake of the 1978 film of the same name, and follows the titular criminal's look-alike who has been clandestinely sent on a mission to impersonate Don, after he is wounded in a chase with police, and infiltrate the plans of the drug mafia. The soundtrack was composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy and Javed Akhtar wrote the lyrics.

By remaking the film, Akhtar wanted to make it from his own perspective by giving a contemporary style and treatment to the original film, which he believed was perfectly suitable even for the modern times. The director later bought the rights and conceived his adaptation as a homage to the original film, its cast and crew, and the 1970s era in general. He co-wrote the screenplay with his father Javed Akhtar, who had also written the original script with Salim Khan. While the basic plot was retained, minor changes were, including the international setting and a completely different ending. Principal photography commenced in Mumbai, before moving to Malaysia, where eighty percent of the filming was done.

The film was released on 20 October 2006, coinciding with the Diwali festive season. A major commercial success, Don grossed over 1.06 billion at the box office and was the fifth highest-grossing Indian film of 2006. The film was generally well-received by film critics. It won Best Asian Film at the Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival. The film was also nominated for nine awards at the 52nd Filmfare Awards, including nominations for Best Film and Best Actor for Khan. A sequel entitled Don 2 was released on 23 December 2011.

Plot[edit]

The illegal drug traders based in Kuala Lumpur is booming.An Indian team is sent to Kuala Lumpur which is headed by Deputy Commissioner of Police De Silva (Boman Irani), who targets the illegal drug operations of Singhania (Rajesh Khattar). In order to put an end to the illegal drug trade, they must capture "Don" (Shah Rukh Khan) who manages Singhania's business in Kuala Lumpur. Singhania was one of the two closest and most trusted men of Boris, a kingpin who was presumed to be dead by the police. Boris's other lieutenant was a man called Vardhan, but his whereabouts are unknown. De Silva explains that Singhania had killed Vardhan upon learning that Boris was about to hand over his drug business to Vardhan.

Don kills Ramesh (Diwakar Pundir), one of his close associates, who had attempted to leave the cartel. Ramesh's future wife Kamini (Kareena Kapoor) decides to help the police arrest Don but in the process she is also killed. Now, Ramesh's sister Roma (Priyanka Chopra) plans to avenge her brother and his fiancé. She manages to infiltrate Don's gang. Don travel to India for a cocaine transaction. An Indian police team led by De Silva follow them there and capture Don, who is fatally injured while trying to flee from the police. De Silva keeps this a secret from the department and media as he decides to track down an exact look-alike of Don named Vijay (Shah Rukh Khan) from Mumbai, asking Vijay to pose as Don so the police can get to Singhania. Vijay agrees when De Silva promises to admit Deepu (Tanay Chheda), a kid Vijay looks after, to a school in Kuala Lumpur. Meanwhile, Jasjit (Arjun Rampal), Deepu's father, has just been released from prison. Jasjit is hellbent on killing DCP De Silva. Jasjit's vendetta against De Silva began many years ago, when Jasjit, committing a crime in order to save his family from a gang of criminals, was arrested on the orders of De Silva, thereby preventing Jasjit from saving his wife from death. Jasjit does not know what happened to his son after Jasjit went to prison. It is implied that the criminals responsible for the death of Jasjit's wife were none other than De Silva's own men.

Vijay is admitted to the same hospital as Don by De Silva. Vijay soon gets all the scars and marks which Don has on his body. Suddenly, Don dies of heart failure and the masquerade becomes inevitable. When Vijay as Don re-enters the gang in Kuala Lumpur, he claims to have lost his memory, and the more he learns about Don, the more he claims to remember. Don has a disc containing some of the cartel's vital information about deals and contacts. As part of the plan, Vijay agrees to find and bring this disc to D'Silva. When Vijay finds the disc, Roma (who is now a close associate of Don) decides to accompany him. When they arrive, Roma attempts to kill Vijay (assuming he is Don). However, DCP De Silva intervenes and tells Roma about his secret plan to reach to Singhania. Roma decides to help the police to capture Singhania and joins the two in their plan. Vijay hands over the disc to DCP De Silva. Singhania comes to Malaysia for a meeting with his clients. There DCP De Silva murders him by adding poison to his drinks, and then stabbing him. Suddenly, the Malaysian police and Interpol arrive at the hotel. Vijay and the core gang members are all arrested by Interpol. De Silva is apparently killed in shoot-out. This is unfortunate for Vijay because De Silva was the only person who could prove that Vijay is not the real Don. Vijay also tries to use the help of Dr. Ashok Gilwani, the doctor who operated on him to get all of Don's scars and marks that Don had on his body, but is shocked to hear that even he is dead after a car accident one month earlier. Now Don's inner circle turns against Vijay, having discovered his true identity. Vijay escapes from police custody and tries to recover the disc he gave to De Silva in order to prove his innocence.

Jasjit secretly enters DCP De Silva's apartment in Kuala Lumpur and waits for De Silva with a gun, not knowing of his death. There Jasjit finds the disc Vijay gave to the DCP and is shocked by its contents. He soon receives a phone-call saying that if he wants to see his son again, he will have to bring the disc to the men who have Deepu, his son, hostage. At this meeting, it is revealed that DeSilva was alive all along and is actually Vardhan, Boris' other lieutenant. In other words, Vardhan, posing as De Silva, used Vijay to get closer to Singhania and eliminate his competitor. Jasjit somehow manages to escape with his son from the smugglers. Jasjit meets Vijay [now at large] and Roma and reveals that De Silva is really Vardhan. With this knowledge the three hatch a plot to help Interpol arrest Vardhan. The next day, Jasjit arranges a meeting with Vardhan in Langkawi, saying he will hand over the disc. The trio inform the Malaysian police and Interpol of the meeting and get Vardhan arrested. Vijay is fighting a final hand-to-hand combat with Vardhan. He prepares to kill him, but stops at Mr. Malik's pleads and is rushed to hospital. Vardhan is arrested. Vijay is acquitted. Before Vijay leaves, Roma confesses her love for him. In a final twist, it is revealed that Don was alive all this time, and was pretending to be Vijay the whole time. While in the hospital, Don recovered quickly from his injuries, overhearing Vardhan's conversation with Vijay. After Vijay's operation, Don got up from the room where Vardhan and Ashok were absent and went to the room where Vijay lay. He switched places with Vijay, taking Vijay off life support and causing him to die of heart failure. It is also revealed that the disc Don gave to the police was fake. Now with both Vardhan and Singhania removed from his path, Don becomes the master of the entire Asian drug dealing ring.

Cast[edit]

The cast is listed below:[3][4]

Production[edit]

Farhan Akhtar conceived the idea to remake the iconic 1978 film of the same name after listening to a remixed version of a song from the original film while he was travelling by a train from Delhi to Dehradun.[5] In early 2005, media reported that Akhtar was planning the remake; however, he did not confirm the news and instead revealed that he was writing the screenplay based on the film but would decide only after completing the script and analysing how it would fare on the paper.[6] The director co-wrote the film with his father Javed Akhtar, who had also written the original film with Salim Khan.[6][7] Akhtar revealed that the reason behind the remake was to make the film from his own perspective while retaining the basic plot and give a new treatment and style to "a fantastic film which he enjoyed watching as a child" as he thought the adaptation perfectly suited the modern times.[7] Akhtar said "Don is the one film from that time that in my mind lends itself to being remade today. For me, it is a film that back then was a little ahead of its time. I don't say so technically - not the way it was shot, or the sets, or whatever. But the way the story was told, the language the characters spoke, the writing style there was, it was very modern even for its time. So today, when you adapt it, it fits very easily into a contemporary space. I think it fits into the modern sensibility of movie viewing."[7][8] Additionally, he wanted to pay tribute to the stars and makers of the original film, the 1970s era in general, and the films made by Salim-Javed and Amitabh Bachchan.[7][9] In order to suit the modern time sensibility, several changes were made in the process. Akhtar changed a number of aspects from the climax as he felt was extremely outdated for the new audiences.[10] On being asked about several changes in the films, the director revealed that it was important to adapt in a way which suited the sensibilities of a modern viewer.[10] On the other hand, a number of elements from the original were retained in the new film, notably the background score, two songs, some dialogues and some situations, which Akhtar believed were vital in the original and not including them would be a crime.[7]

Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra at Don premiere
Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra were cast in principal roles

Akhtar initially wanted Hrithik Roshan for the titular character, after he worked with him on their previous film Lakshya (2004).[11] However, Akhtar felt that the character required a more mature actor, quoting "a face that had seen the world and roughed it out." The director said that Roshan's innocence overstepped two points for the role and instead he cast Shah Rukh Khan for the part, which was portrayed by Amitabh Bachchan in the 1978 film.[6][11] Akhtar believed that Khan was the most suitable for the role, quoting "He has the personality, the style, the flair, the larger than life persona, the sense of humour and the sheer magnetism that this character requires."[10] In July 2005, Priyanka Chopra was cast to play Roma, a role originally played by Zeenat Aman.[12] Akhtar found Chopra to be perfect for the role, saying "There is a docile sensuality about her which suits the character." When he offered the role to her, she was excited to play the character and immediately agreed to do the film.[11] Later that month Arjun Rampal and Isha Koppikar joined the cast.[13] While Rampal was cast as Jasjit, played by Pran in the original, after Akshay Kumar turned down the role for being secondary, Kopikar was cast in a completely new role which was not in the original film.[13][14] In August 2005, Kareena Kapoor was confirmed to appear in the song "Yeh Mera Dil" which was earlier performed by Helen in the original film.[15] The costumes were designed by Aki Narula.[3]

Khan revealed that he always wanted to look the way Amitabh Bachchan did in his films but he said he gave his own interpretation to the the role.[11] After signing the film, Chopra was very excited but few days later, she became nervous wondering if would be able to do justice to the character.[16] Having seen the original film as a teenager, Chopra avoided watching the film again as she did not wanted to imitate Zeenat Aman's portrayal of Roma. She made conscious efforts to play her differently by giving her own look and style to the character.[16][17] This was Chopra's first action role, and she was excited for the part, so she wanted to do all the stunts by herself.[16] After Chopra decided to perform her own stunts, Akhtar revealed that he was happy as it gave him the scope to film the fight sequences from different angles.[7] Rampal said that he approached his character similar to how Pran played in the original but with an emotional graph. Boman Irani who plays DCP D’Silva, a role performed by Iftekhar in the original film, revealed that enacted the role according to the wha suited the script, but kept the dignity from that film.[18] Khan, Chopra and Rampal underwent extensive martial arts training from an expert from Shaolin Temple.[5] All the actors received training in different kinds of martial arts.[19]

Principal photography commenced in February 2006 in Central Mumbai.[20][21] The art direction was handled by Aradhana Seth, while the costumes were designed by Aki Narula.[3] Akhtar chose Mohanan to handle the cinematoraphy after being impressed by his work in documentries and commercials. This was his first Hindi film as a film cinematographer.[22] To give an authentic feel to the film, scenes were shot on a closed set in actual Chawls on actual locations.[21] Brief filming was done in Paris in March over a three day schedule.[23] The filming moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in April 2006 where majority of the film was shot. Eighty percent of filming was done in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi.[24] The Malaysia schedule included filming at 42 locations locations such as KLCC, Kampung Baru, and Penchala Link, over a course of seventy days and it included more than thousand extras, all of whom were selected following their auditions. Additional filming was done in Singapore.[24][25] Apparently, the former Prime Minister of Malaysia Mahathir Mohamad, who had previously declined even Hollywood films to be film in the Petronas Towers, gave his permission to the crew to film inside his personal office situated inside the Petronas Towers.[26] For a scene depicting media ambush in the film, several real life journalists from India and Malaysia were hired.[27] The film was also shot at Film City and Yash Raj Studios.[3] The song "Yeh Mera Dil" was shot by Farah Khan.[24] Veteran choreographer Saroj Khan accepted to choreograph the new version of the popular song "Khaike Paan Banaras Waala", which was choreographed by her mentor P L Raj in the original film.[24][28] The song was filmed in Malaysia on 13 May 2006 with Khan and Chopra.[24] Other songs were choreograped by Prabhu Deva, Ganesh Hegde and Rajeev Surti.[3] Hollywood technician Angelo Sahin, the special Effects supervisor behind Mission Impossible (2000) and aerial stunt co-ordinator Joe Jennings, known for his work in films such as Charlie's Angels (2000), were hired for the action sequences.[29]

Soundtrack[edit]

Main article: Don (soundtrack)

The soundtrack was composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, with lyrics written by Javed Akhtar. The album contains eight songs: three original, two remakes of from the original film, a theme, a reprisal and a remix of one of the three new songs.[30] The vocals were performed by Shaan, Sunidhi Chauhan, Shankar Mahadevan, Alisha Chinai, Mahalakshmi Iyer, Sonu Nigam, and MIDIval Punditz. It was released on 26 August 2006 by T-Series.[30][31]

The soundtrack received favourable reviews from music critics, who praised "Aaj Ki Raat" calling it "innovative" and the best song on the album. While the recreation of songs from the original film, "Ye Mera Dil" and "Khaike Paan Banaraswala", received mixed comments. Joginder Tuteja from Bollywood Hungama gave the album 4 out of 5, noting its strength of success at surprising its listener and wrote "Shankar Ehsaan Loy do exceedingly well with the soundtrack and establish their supremacy as the composer trio who can give their own even while rearranging the songs from the past."[32] Planet Bollywood gave a rating of 6.5 out of 10, praising its lyrics and vocals and termed "Aaj Ki Raat" as "the best song in the entire soundtrack".[30] Sukanya Verma of Rediff.com was less impressed with the album, calling it "Snazzy, good mix" and wrote "This lavish enterprise has a little bit of everything. An eclectic mix of old, new and everything in between; Don is an unusual presentation of old wine in new bottle."[33]

The Don soundtrack album was first Indian soundtrack to be released on iTunes on the same day of its launch or before the public release of physical copies.[34] The music topped charts on a number of platforms in India.[35] It was one of the best-selling Bollywood soundtracks of the year, with 1.5 million units sold according to Box Office India.[36] The song "Aaj Ki Raat" was used by A. R. Rahman in his Academy Award–winning soundtrack Slumdog Millionaire (2008).[37]

Release[edit]

Being a remake of an iconic film, and the starcast involved, Don was one of the most anticipated films of the year. The first look poster was released in late April 2006, which according to the media, hinted at the kind of adaptation the film was going to be.[38] This was followed by another poster in late July 2006, which also revealed the release date of the film.[39] Following the poster reveals, the theatrical trailer was released in mid September. Bollywood Hungama deemed it promising, writing that the "trendy accessories, sleek gadgets, lavish settings, expensive wardrobe and deadly action scenes build the framework of the new Don."[40] For promoting the film, the makers teamed up with Hungama Digital Media Entertainment to launch a Mobile game based on the film. It was the first Multiplayer online game launched for any Bollywood film.[41] The makers also launched popcorn holders of Don before the release film. An 80-page comic book was also published and were given for free in Multiplexes along with the tickets of the film.[42]

In December 2005, UTV acquired the overseas rights of the film.[43] Made on abudget of 380 million, Don was released worldwide on 20 October 2006 in 800 screens during the Diwali festive season, clashing with another high-profile Bollywood film Jaan-E-Mann.[2][44] The film opened to excellent to very good response at the domestic box office, with an occupancy of 90 percent.[45] After a first day opening of 46 million, the grossed 141 million in its opening weekend.[2] It also received good opening in overseas market with an opening weekend of over $2.2 million.[2] In its opening weekend, the film grossed over 302 million worldwide.[2] After its first week, the film collected more than 244 million in India.[2] The film grossed $1.1 million in its first week in UK, while the total overseas first week collections were more than $4.1 million.[2][46] The film grossed 529 million worldwide at the end of first week.[2] The film had a very good hold in its second week, and performed extremely well, even better than that week's new release and collections increased in several centres, with setting new second week highs.[47] In After its theatrical run, the film grossed over 7100 million in India, becoming the fifth highest-grossing Indian film of 2006, and was deemed "Hit".[48] It also grossed over $7.8 million in the overseas territories and was declared a blockbuster.[49] Worldwide, the film grossed over 1.06 billion (US$16 million) and was a major commercial success.[2]

Distributed by T-series Home Entertainment domestically and Internationally by UTV, the film was released on DVDs on 5 December 2006 across all regions in a two-disc Collector's Edition pack in NTSC format, with several bonus content such as making of the film, bloopers, trailers, deleted scenes and clap track.[50][51] It also included a "Don Comic Book".[50] A steel case limited edition DVD was released in January 2007 with the same bonus features.[51] The VCD version was released at the same time.[52] A single-disc DVD pack was also released later.[53] The Blu-ray version was released on 27 April 2011.[54]

Critical reception[edit]

Priyanka Chopra's portrayal of Roma was praised by critics.

Upon release, Don was generally well-received by critics. Mayank Shekhar from Mumbai Mirror gave the film a rating of 4 out of 5 and wrote "The former was a character-driven, intimate film, albeit a fairly slick thriller, mostly for its screenplay. The latter is a most updated Indian film of the action genre that always calculably concentrates on the new twists, and the turning points, both of which mostly seem cleverer than contrived; ably fitting pieces, the known characters, into a new domino."[55] Raja Sen of Rediff.com gave a mixed review, believing that the film was "conventional and predictable" and complained that the director did not develop his characters. However, Sen was impressed by Chopra's performance, calling it "film's biggest surprise" and wrote "Stepping into Zeenat Aman's shoes is a tough task, but she doesn't really waste time pretending to be the stunner's successor. Chopra handles her role with efficiency, looking every bit the competent woman of action -- and a ravishing babe who fills out a skintight white jumpsuit deliciously. Roma is a hard part to play, but Priyanka has a no-nonsense air about her throughout the film. This is an actress willing to push herself, and has definite potential for screen magic. Not to mention a great smile."[56]

Pratim D. Gupta of The Telegraph gave a positive review to film, noting that the director turned a formula film "of good defeats bad" into a modern day neo-noir film where "bad fights bad.", and wrote "The new Don is more of a remix than remake with the scratchy edges smoothened out with grunge grooves and blistering beats. Farhan changes the backdrop and the background and yet manages to keep the original sequences and lines."[5] Gupta also praised the acting, "eye-catching locations", cinematography, and production design, and thought that the "breathtaking chase and action sequences" broke new grounds on Indian screens.[5] Bollywood Hungama's Taran Adarsh rated the film 3 out of 5, praising the performances of the lead actors and wrote "Shah Rukh Khan does very well as Don. He enacts the evil character with flourish. But he fails to carry off the other role [Vijay] with conviction. It looks made up, it doesn't come natural to him at all. Priyanka Chopra carries off her part with 'lan. The stunt [when she rescues Khan] is bound to win her laurels."[57]

Planet Bollywood gave a rating of 7 out of 10, particularly praising the twist ending and wrote "The Don of the 21st century is stylish with flaws, yet, you do enjoy the experience of watching it in the cinema."[58] While labelling the film a "disappointment", film critic Sukanya Verma questioned Akhtar's decision behind remaking such an important film.[59] She further criticised Akhtar for taking a fairly simple but engaging storyline, strangling it mercilessly and turning it into a shockingly unimaginative adaptation.[59] Verma also found Khan to be inconsistent in the dual roles; however she praised Chopra's portrayal of Roma, and wrote "The seriousness with which Priyanka Chopra plays Roma is rather notable. She is a picture of restrained toughness and bubbling seduction."[59] Giving 1 out of 5, film critic Rajeev Masand panned the film, terming it an exercise in indulgence, and wrote "Spiffily shot and stylishly packaged, the new Don may wear a new look, but what it’s clearly lacking is the raw energy, the unpredictability of Chandra Barot’s original thriller.[60]

Accolades[edit]

Award Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
Asian Film Awards Best Actor Shah Rukh Khan Nominated [61]
Filmfare Awards Best Film Don Nominated [62]
Best Actor Shah Rukh Khan Nominated
Best Music Director Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy Nominated
Best Art Direction Aradhana Seth Nominated
Best Cinematography Mohanan Nominated
Best Costume Design Aki Narula Nominated
Best Choreography Ganesh Acharya (for song "Main Hoon Don") Nominated
Best Action Angelo Samn Nominated
Best Special Effects Red Chillies VFX Nominated
IIFA Awards Best Actor Shah Rukh Khan Nominated [63]
Neuchâtel International Fantastic Film Festival Best Asian Film Don Won [64]

Sequel[edit]

Main article: Don 2

A sequel, Don 2, directed by Akhtar was released on 23 December 2011. Khan, Chopra, Irani, and Puri reprise their roles as Don, Roma, D'Silva Alias Vardhaan, and Malik, respectively.[65]

References[edit]

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