What makes the journey of Amitabh Bachchan starrer DON interesting?


Don has been a very important film in Amitabh Bachchan’s filmography. But probably many might not be knowing the story & the interesting anecdotes about the making of Don. The making of Don has various life lessons about friendship, intentions, right suggestions and surprises… that change the destiny!

Friend in need…

It seems Producer-cinematographer Nariman Irani was in financial difficulties when his film Zindagi Zindagi (1972) starring Sunil Dutt flopped. When he was doing the cinematography for Manoj Kumar’s major hit Roti Kapada Aur Makaan (1974), the film’s main cast Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman, Pran and crew assistant director Chandra Barot decided to bail out Nariman Irani. They recommended him to produce another film and that they would participate in its production.

From rejections to…


The above-mentioned team approached scriptwriter duo Salim-Javed (Salim Khan & Javed Akhtar), who gave them an untitled script that had already been rejected by the entire industry!

Also read: Song lyrics : Main Hoon Don

Two plots…


Nariman Irani, while working on yet another movie – Chhailla Babu decided to borrow most of the plot of Chhailla Babu and presented a modified plot to Chandra Barot. Well, the new modified story is the film Don (1978). The script had a character named Don, which Amitabh Bachchan would play and Barot would helm the project.

Also read: Song lyrics : Yeh Mera Dil Pyar Ka Diwana

The stumbling blocks…


The film took more than three years to complete. And sadly, before the filming was completed, producer Nariman Irani died of an accident on the set of another film. Also, Chandra Barot faced budget restraints but received aid.

Flop show…

Don released without any promotion on 12 May 1978 and was declared a flop the first week.

A suggestion…

Chandra Barot showed the film to his mentor Manoj Kumar, who felt that the film was too tight and required a song in the midst of the action-packed narrative, and so “Khaike Paan Banaraswala” was added. Apparently, the song “Khaike Paan Banaraswala” was to be used for another film and picturized on Dev Anand, however, Dev Anand had removed the song from his album.

The turnaround…

Within a week of adding the song “Khaike Paan Banaraswala”, the song by itself became a big hit. The song was choreographed by P L Raj and by word-of-mouth by the second week, the film’s fortunes were reversed, and the film was declared a blockbuster.

The math…

Don was produced on a budget of an estimated ₹70 lakh and the box office is said to have clocked a good estimated ₹7 crore.

The bailout…

Though the team and Don lost its producer Nariman Irani, the profits from the film were given to Irani’s widow to settle her husband’s debts.


The film was remade by Shah Rukh Khan, now sort of a franchise with 2 parts already released. Not just in Hindi, but Don was remade in 1979 in Telugu as Yugandhar. It was also remade in 1980 in Tamil as Billa. In 2009, a second Telugu remake titled Billa was released. In 1986, the movie was remade in Malayalam as Shobaraj.