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
Edited by Wamanrao
Nariman Films
Release dates
  • 12 May 1978 (1978-05-12) (India)
Running time
175 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget 8.5 million (equivalent to 160 million or US$2.4 million in 2016)[1]
Box office 70 million (equivalent to 1.3 billion or US$20 million in 2016)[2]

Don is a 1978 Indian action 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.


In 1978, 'Don' begins, true to its title, as the story of one of the most powerful men in the business of crime. In spite of being on Interpol's Most Wanted list, Don (Amitabh Bachchan) remains elusive to the police. Besides the police, Don makes a few other enemies through his merciless approach to running his organization. Notably, Don 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. 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 suspecting any ulterior motive.

After years of unsuccessful attempts at nabbing Don, the police finally succeed. Unfortunately, Don dies in the heat of the chase, 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 he may still be alive; the only ones who know of Don's death are D'Silva, the graveyard priest, and his followers. 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 real 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. Roma apologizes to Vijay, and joins him. Vijay hands over the diary to D'Silva. D'Silva reads the diary and discovers that the underworld crime boss, the man Don reported to, is a man named Vardhan, but he is unable to determine Vardhan's identity.

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 has returned. 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, and Vijay is arrested because the police think he is Don. Vijay manages to get the police into taking him to the DSP, who was injured in the raid. A desperate Vijay tries to get a dying D'Silva to tell the police he is Vijay. Unfortunately the DSP succumbs to his injuries and passes away. Vijay is imprisoned. However, he escapes the police truck while on the way to a high-security jail. He begins to fight for himself and tries prove his innocence. Roma, now an ally of Vijay, agrees to do whatever she can to help him.

Tangled in a web of confusion where the police refuse to believe that he is Vijay while simultaneously his underworld gang realize that he is indeed not Don, Vijay incites the ire of both the police and Don's right-hand man, Narang. To add to Vijay's woes, the diary that Vijay 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. In the process, he also discovers that the Interpol officer R. K. Malik is actually the underworld crime boss Vardhan, who had killed DSP D'Silva, and had also abducted the real R. K. Malik to take his place. After Vijay fights against Vardhan's men Roma ends up getting the diary. One of the gangsters snatches it from her and burns it. The ending reveals that the burnt diary was, in fact, the fake diary, and that Vijay had the real one in order to trick Vardhan. Vijay gives the proof to the police and all charges are put against him. Vardhan is arrested, the real R. K. Malik is rescued, and Vijay returns to his old life, along with Roma, Jasjit, and Jasjit's children.

Cast and crew




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 the money 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 would participate in its production. 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 died from an accident on the set of another film he was working on. Barot faced budget restraints but received aid.[6] Aman did not take any money for her work in the film.[7] Barot showed the film 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 added in the film. Don was released without any promotion on 12 May 1978 and was declared a flop the first week. The song "Khaike Paan Banaraswala" was actually to be used by Kalyanji–Anandji for the film Banarasi Babu and picturised on Dev Anand, however since the song was not needed, Dev Anand had removed the song from the album. Within a week after adding the song "Khaike Paan Banaraswala", the song by itself became a big hit, and by word of mouth spread, so by the second week, the film's fortunes were reversed and the film was 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 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


Filmfare Awards

Legacy and influence

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. However this film is heavily inspired from Manmohan Desai's Sachaa Jhutha starring Rajesh Khanna. Don was itself remade several times.[10]

Don series

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

Remakes in other languages



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.


  1. "Don". Retrieved 18 June 2011.
  2. 1 2 "Box Office 1978". Retrieved 18 June 2011.
  3. 1 2 IANS (22 February 2010). "Farhan's next Don to go on floors in October". Sify. Retrieved 10 September 2011.
  4. "filmibeat Page Not Found". Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  5. "Don, down the decades". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 20 October 2006.
  6. " An exclusive interview with Chandra Barot, who made the first Don". Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  7. "Zeenat: I think Vijay is missing". Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  8. " An exclusive interview with Chandra Barot, who made the first Don". Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  9. "PONYTAIL 'n' pop, but desi". The Hindu. 29 September 2003. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  10. " - Nostalgia - Bhale Thammudu". Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  11. "Kalayanji, Anandji win BMI award". Indo-Asian News Service. 17 May 2006. Retrieved 8 May 2009.

External links

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