A WhatsApp post tells me that it was this day 44 years ago on 12th May 1978 to be precise, Amitabh starrer blockbuster Don was released. Directed by a relatively unknown and probably a first timer Chandra Barot, Don went on to becoming a milestone movie in the annals of Hindi filmdom.
Though Amitabh, who was at the zenith of his popularity and superstardom, was the mainstay of this out and out masala potboiler playing a memorable double role, he was ably supported by other team members – the supporting star cast comprising Zeenat, Pran, Iftekhar, Helen, lyricist Anjan whose command over bhojpuri/ poorvi led to some beautiful lyrics such as khaike pan Banaras wala, ih hai Mumbai Nagariya amongst others composed to popular foot tapping tunes by Kalyanji Anandji duo and of course Chandra Barot, who converted a regular masala fare into an iconic movie.
It’s also in the records that making of Don ran into series of problems and it was Chandra’s perseverance that the movie could finally reach the cinemas. But once released, it went on to earning undiluted adoration of the viewers, setting the cash register ringing. And it’s success was all round from acting to lyrics to music that was evident from the awards it won.
It’s also a fact that before singing all time great number khaike pan Banaras wala, Kishore Kumar actually asked for a Pan, put it in his mouth and then sang the song to produce a natural effect. There is lots of other trivia associated with the making of this cult movie.
Such was its longevity that Farhan Akhtar decided to recreate the magic of the original Don by remaking it with the raging superstar Shahrukh Khan and almost ended up creating the similar impact as original. Udit Narayan and Sunidhi Chauhan went on to singing the iconic original songs khaike pan and yeh Mera Dil.
While box office registers have started ringing again after a prolonged spell of pandemic, what Bollywood needs is a real blockbuster like Don to bring its business firmly back on the track.