Mumbai: Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan has after all these years revealed a story of the making of the 1973 blockbuster Don. He said many in the entertainment industry did not quite approve of the choice of the film’s name.
Celebrating the 41st anniversary of the release of Don yesterday (Sunday), the legendary actor talked about one of the most popular characters played by him on the silver screen. The film was later remade, featuring Shah Rukh Khan and Priyanka Chopra with a different climax and then a sequel Don 2.
No one in the market, said Bachchan, approved of the name Don. Most, he said, did not know what it meant or signified. They were convinced this name would not suit a Hindi film. “In fact, truth be told… for many, it was quite an amusing title,” Bachchan wrote on his blog.
Bachchan, whose role in the thriller Badla had become the talk of the town recently, tickled the ribs with an anecdote on Don, which he said many thought could be a “very popular brand of vests” that carried “the name D-a-w-n. Don phonetically sounded much like that brand of undergarment in the market. There was consternation in titling a film that conveyed an undergarment,” the actor said.
It was only after the release of Hollywood classic Godfather that the title Don became “respectable”, Bachchan said.
“Much later, of course, with the Godfather series, the word garnered enough publicity and reckoning, to be respectable enough. But till then, initially, it was in the realm of humour.”
It may be noted here that “Don” or “don” does not mean a gangster in the English language. However, inspired by its erroneous usage in Bollywood, first regional language media and then even the English language media in India took the word for a synonym of “gangster”.
The notion came from the character Don Vito Corleone in Godfather, who was the head of an Italian mafia family. While the Hollywood film was released in 1972, the year when the Indian Don was being made, the name became synonymous with the head of an organised gang only because the English language movie’s sequels became hits too.
Salim-Javed wrote the script for the Hindi movie featuring Bachchan while Chandra Barot directed the film. Zeenat Aman, Iftekhar, Helen and Pran essayed the other lead roles in the Bollywood production.