Book Review: Making of DON

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‘Don’ was a film which was said to be ahead of its time, and this wasn’t a wrong speculation at all. Even today, not a single dialogue or gesture looks out of place. When Chandra Barot set out to make Don, it was not with the idea of giving birth to one of India’s most iconic thrillers but to make a good film. No one involved with the making of the film foresaw the kind of overarching impact it would have, not only in terms of its success at the box office but in spawning a cult phenomenon that would stay strong more than three decades later—with its slick theme, fantastic music and unforgettable dialogues, that is what Don became.

Writer: Krishna Gopalan
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Price: Rs 195
Genre: Film
Released: December 2013

The book begins with a foreword by Chandra Barot himself stating that “Don was not just another script or a routine project. It was the result of a thought to do something for a friend” and that friend was Nariman Irani. And how could something done with such a noble approach go wrong?

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The book tells you about everything that went into making Don what it is. The book holds its grip on the reader from its first few pages itself and has a very fine, well paced narrative revealing many unknown facts about the film for the first time, along with few rare pictures of its cast & crew.. Right from a collective decision of several people to come forward and make this movie happen despite of their busy schedules to Barot’s intelligent vision to make things work in his favour against all odds. How the idea of the character of Don was conceived while Amitabh Bachchan and Barot were watching Sanjeev Kapoor starrer Naya Din Nayi Raat to hunting locations to shoot within limited budgets. S.D. Burman turning down to do the music of the film to how Khaike Paan Banaraswaala came into existence after Barot’s mentor’s advice and became an instant hit with Kishore Kumar lending his voice for the song.
The author takes you back in those four long years of its making and then discloses many amusing facts like how the film was conceived, how the songs were recorded and how few major sequences in it were shot even without its female lead.

The most interesting truth behind the making of DON remains that the film was not at all made to make any major breakthrough in the Hindi Cinema, but was just mutually planned to help Nariman Irani, its producer who was facing a big financial crunch after his last flop. So its basic foundation was laid out of pure love, trust and true friendship which probably became the hidden positive factor responsible for its major success at the box office.

The book is filled with anecdotes that will take the reader by surprise and end up saying that Chandra Barot is a genius filmmaker This book is the first hand account of everything that one can associate with this classic in Gopalan’s words. In short, it is quite hard to even imagine how the film went through all those tough stages of making from the day of its conception to the final release and that is exactly what makes the book a must read for all Hindi Movie lovers without any doubt.

Gripping from the word go and keeping the pace intact till the end, this book should just not be read by each and every person who has seen the film and loved it, but also interest the present-day generation who have been fed on its remake and the sequel. Krishna Gopalan’s narrative, born out of interviews with the cast and crew, is as fast paced as the film itself. It may be said that the immense staying power of this cult classic rests as much on the script as on it catchy one liners. ‘Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahin, namumkin hai’ has lived up to the promise of making Don, both the character and the film, memorable and invincible.

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