Don (1978 film)

Don (1978 film)

Film Poster
Directed by Chandra Barot
Produced by Nariman A. Irani
Nariman Films
Written by Salim-Javed
Starring Amitabh Bachchan
Zeenat Aman
Music by Kalyanji Anandji
Cinematography Nariman A. Irani
Editing by Wamanrao
Studio Nariman Films
Release date(s) 27 October 1978 (1978-10-27)
Running time 175 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget INR 85,00,000[1]
Box office INR 7,00,00,000[2]

Don (Hindi: डॉन) is a 1978 Indian action film, produced by Nariman Irani and directed by Chandra Barot, with music by Kalyanji Anandji and lyrics by Anjaan. 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.[2] It has gained cult film status in India.[citation needed]



Don (Amitabh Bachchan) is the leader of an underworld gang until Police Officer D'Silva (Iftekhar) tracks him down and in an attempt to catch him ends up killing him. But Don's death is only known to D'Silva. So Officer D'Silva tracks down a lookalike of Don named Vijay. Vijay impersonates Don to take down the rest of Don's gang while the DSP promises him that he will give a proper education to his wards who are actually the children of Jasjit (Pran).

Meanwhile, Jasjit comes out of prison after serving his jail term, only to find Officer D'Silva having a red diary that would show Vijay's true identity. Officer D'Silva is killed by Malik who is introduced as the Interpol officer, but is in fact the real king of the underworld. It's now a race to retrieve the diary in which the DSP has documented the substitution of the real Don with the innocent Vijay. One famous dialogue of movie is Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahin, namumkin hai (It is not just difficult to catch Don, it is impossible)


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 Ramesh 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 loses her life.

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 and place him back into the crime nexus, but this time as a police informer.

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.


  • Amitabh Bachchan as Don/Vijay
  • Zeenat Aman as Roma
  • Pran as Jasjit (JJ)
  • Iftekharas 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
  • Sharad Kumar as Ramesh
  • Gulshan as Doctor
  • Rajan Haksar as Kishan, Jasjit's Employer
  • Yusuf Khan as Vikram



The Soundtrack is by the duo Kalyanji Anandji and the lyrics were written by Anjaan and Indivar. 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, Amitabh Bachchan Anjan 3:57
"Jiska Mujhe Tha Intezar" Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar Anjan 4:20
"Yeh Mera Dil" Asha Bhosle Indeevar 4:18


  • Amitabh Bachchan won Filmfare Award for Best Actor, for this movie.
  • Asha Bhosle won Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer for the song "Yeh Mera Dil".
  • Kishore Kumar won Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the song "Khaike Paan Banaraswala".

Behind the scenes

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 Rs12 lakhs 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.[3] The film took three-and-a-half years to complete.[4] 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.[5] Aman did not take any money for her work in the film.[6] 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 big hit. The profits from the film were given to Irani's widow to settle her husband's debts.[7]


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.[8]

Remakes in languages

  • Don was first remade in 1979 in Telugu as Yugandhar, starring N.T. Rama Rao.
  • It was also remade in 1980 in Tamil as Billa, starring Rajnikanth.
  • In 1986, the movie was remade in Malayalam as Sobharaj, starring Mohanlal.

Other versions

  • One Hindi remake was titled Dav Pech (1989), starring Jeetendra. It was unsuccessful.
  • Don was then remade in 2006 in Hindi starring Shahrukh Khan, titled Don - The Chase Begins Again. It was inspired by the Tamil directors who made the Ajith Kumar starrer Billa — a remake of the same-titled Rajinikanth film.
  • In 2009, a second Telugu remake titled Billa was released. This remake was moreover inspired by the Tamil remake.
  • Duplicate (1998), directed by Mahesh Bhatt and starring Shahrukh Khan and Juhi Chawla, is partly a parody of Don.
  • The 2007 Hollywood movie The Death and Life of Bobby Z had a similar premise to this movie, i.e., a lookalike of a gang leader is asked to masquerade as him by law enforcement officer(s), though the remainder of the plot was largely different. The movie received negative critical and commercial reactions.
  • 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.

A sample from the song "Yeh Mera Dil" was used by The Black Eyed Peas for their hit 2005 song "Don't Phunk with My Heart." 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."[9]

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

Don series

The film was remade in 2006 as Don: The Chase Begins Again starring Shahrukh 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.

Following the success of Don - The Chase Begins Again, Farhan Akhtar has decided to launch a Don franchise. The second & third films in the series are, Don 2 - The Chase Continues & Don 3 - The Chase Ends respectively, which will be shot in January 2010 and released in early 2011 or late 2010. The starcast of its prequel will return.[citation needed]


External links

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