Amitabh Bachchan’s action-thriller Don completed 41 years on May 12. The megastar got nostalgic on the occasion and shared a few anecdotes from his memory related to the film. According to him, the 1978 hit might not have got the name if popular opinion had been considered.
In a blog post, Big B wrote that no one approved the title because the makers felt the name was not fit for a Hindi film.
“Don was a name title that no one in the market approved of. They (makers) never understood what it meant and never felt that a name such as Don was material for the title of a Hindi film. In fact if truth be told — for many it was quite an amusing title,” the 76-year-old thespian said.
The Piku star added that the film’s title sounded like an undergarment brand, which was popular at that point of time.
“There was at the time a very popular brand of vests, the ‘banyain’, that were carrying the name “Dawn“. Don pronounced phonetically sounded much like that brand of under garment in the popular market and there was consternation in titling a film that conveyed an under garment,” he wrote.
Bachchan said it was much later, with the publicity and success of Godfather, that the word became respectable enough. Earlier, it was always associated with humour, he added.
Don starred Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman, Pran, Iftekhar, Helen, Om Shivpuri, Satyen Kappu and Pinchoo Kapoor. Written by the hit-pair, Salim-Javed (Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar), and directed by Chandra Barot, the film revolved around Amitabh Bachchan who had a double role as Bombay underworld boss Don and his lookalike Vijay.
After succumbing to his injuries in a police chase, the real Don was replaced by Vijay who then tries to trace the details of his illegal activities on being asked by the police to do so.
Recollecting memories from the filming of Don, Bachchan also brought to light the death of Nariman Irani, who was DOP and producer of the film.
In a studio where Irani was then working as a cameraman for another project he noticed that an outdoor set was about to collapse and a child who happened to be around was in danger of getting crushed under it. Irani ran to save the child, rescued him but fell, injuring his hip. Later, the veteran was hospitalized and as complications crept in he succumbed to his injuries.
Don went on to become a Golden Jubilee at the Box Office that year and its success and popularity gave rise to a franchise later adapted by Javed Akhtar’s son Farhar Akhtar.
Don: The Chase Begins Again (2006) and its sequel Don 2 (2011), both starred Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra in the lead and were super hits at the Box Office.