Bollywood Saturday: Do You Know Amitabh Bachchan Starrer Crime-Thriller Don Was Declared a Flop During Its Release?

Bollywood Saturday: Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman and Pran starrer Don is one of the unique classics that created a long-lasting legacy. At a time when Francis Coppola’s Godfather had just started to make its mark in Hollywood, gangsters sagas were a new concept. However, screenwriters Salim-Javed, producer Nariman Irani and director Chandra Barot decided to experiment with the fresh concept. The movie was a game-changer for everyone including its stellar star-cast. Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman and Pran also need special mention for their foresightedness to work in a new genre for free. Produer Nariman Irani had earlier made a movie Zindagi Zindagi (1972)starring Ashok Kumar, Sunil Dutt, Waheeda Rehmaan and Shyama which bomber at the box office. The debacle of the movie made Nariman Irani bankrupt. In order to help him out of his problems his friends from the film industry decided to support him.


Nariman Irani went to Manoj Kumar who was working on his project Roti Kapda Aur Makaan at that time. Manoj Kumar understood his problem as the cast of Roti Kapda Aur Makaan were also present there. Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman and Pran decided to work in Nariman Irani’s next movie for free. The assistant director of Manoj Kumar’s film , Chandra Barot also agreed to direct his next film. Screenwriter duo Saliim-Javed were asked to come up with a script and they brought the story of Don. During the making of the movie Nariman Irani met with a terrible accident white trying to save a kid on the film set. Nariman Irani got injured and later died. Now the cast and crew decided to complete Don at any cost as a tribute to Nariman Irani.


When the movie got released it was declared a flop in its first week as there was no hype about it. The movie was completed in three and a half years but there wasn’t any money to promote the film. But it was Kishore Kumar’s iconic song Khaike Paan Banaras Waala that turned the tables once again. The song featuring Big B became so popular that audiences started barging into theatres just for the song.

Don became the highest grossing film of 1978 and the earnings went to Nariman Irani’s wife so that she could be relieved from her debt.

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