In the history of Indian cinema, Amitabh Bachchan is best known for his portrayal of the mysterious and cunning character Don in the 1978 movie of the same name. Bollywood will never forget the swagger, style, and charisma he brought to this role. It's interesting to note that Amitabh Bachchan did not entirely design his Don look. A character portrayed by the talented actor Sanjeev Kumar in the 1974 movie "Naya Din Nayi Raat" served as its inspiration. Sanjeev Kumar's portrayal of several characters in the movie, including one in which he played an oily-haired masterji who chewed paan, was a significant inspiration for Amitabh Bachchan's Don look.
Before going into detail about how Sanjeev Kumar's role in "Naya Din Nayi Raat" influenced Amitabh Bachchan's Don look, let's briefly discuss the history of Bollywood and the origins of the movie "Don." Don, an elusive and cunning underworld kingpin, served as the central character in Chandra Barot's crime thriller. Don was Amitabh Bachchan's character, and thanks to him, the movie became a cultural phenomenon.
Sanjeev Kumar played a distinctive role in the 1974 A. Bhimsingh film "Naya Din Nayi Raat" that displayed his exceptional acting talent. Sanjeev Kumar played nine different characters in the movie, each of which had a unique personality and set of characteristics. The movie was a remake of the Tamil film "Navarathri." One of these characters was a masterji, a mild-mannered schoolteacher with oily hair who chewed paan. This character had a significant impact on how Amitabh Bachchan appeared as Don.
Audiences were forever changed by Sanjeev Kumar's portrayal of the paan-chewing masterji in "Naya Din Nayi Raat." This particular role was memorable because of his uncanny ability to become the character and his superb acting abilities. Sanjeev Kumar meticulously replicated the character's mannerisms, such as his habit of chewing paan and his oily hair, giving his portrayal more depth and authenticity.
Sanjeev Kumar's portrayal in "Naya Din Nayi Raat" was significant, and Amitabh Bachchan, known for his devotion to his craft, understood this. He saw an opportunity to give Don a similar level of authenticity and endearing qualities. Here's a closer look at how Amitabh Bachchan's enduring Don appearance was influenced by Sanjeev Kumar's masterji character:
The Paan-Chewing Habit: One of Sanjeev Kumar's masterji characters' defining characteristics was his propensity for chewing paan. In an effort to give the Don character more depth, Amitabh Bachchan developed this behavior. Paan-chewing by Don became a defining characteristic of his persona and became synonymous with his sense of fashion and swagger.
Oily Hair: Sanjeev Kumar's masterji also stood out for having oily hair. Amitabh Bachchan, who is constantly meticulous about the smaller details of his characters, included this component in Don's appearance as well. Don exuded a sophisticated and ruthless aura, with his hair pulled back and oily.
Costume and Clothes: Amitabh Bachchan's Don look was modeled after the masterji's attire worn by Sanjeev Kumar. Both of the characters preferred a traditional Indian appearance, with Don frequently seen wearing kurta-pajamas and a dark jacket as a nod to the masterji's garb. Don's outfit made him stand out and added to the mystery surrounding his persona.
Beyond the physical characteristics, Amitabh Bachchan also took some subtle character cues from Sanjeev Kumar's masterji. In contrast to Don's brutal demeanor, the masterji exuded a sense of composure and restraint. Don became more fascinating as a result of this duality, which gave him layers beyond his criminal persona.
It was a brilliant move by Amitabh Bachchan to model his portrayal of Don after Sanjeev Kumar's character in "Naya Din Nayi Raat." His performance as "Don" marked a significant turning point in his career and propelled him to stardom. The movie's success was not just a result of the compelling plot, but also of Bachchan's legendary performance and the iconic look he gave Don.
The influence of Sanjeev Kumar's masterji character is evidence of Bollywood's symbiotic nature, where actors and directors collaborate to produce iconic cinematic moments. In this instance, one of Amitabh Bachchan's most famous characters was shaped by the understated brilliance of Sanjeev Kumar.
Don, played by Amitabh Bachchan in the 1978 movie of the same name, is still regarded as a timeless example of both his acting prowess and the influence his characters had on Indian cinema. Don's role became one of the most well-known in Bollywood history thanks to the inspiration he took from Sanjeev Kumar's paan-chewing masterji in "Naya Din Nayi Raat" and the depth and authenticity it added. In Indian cinema, inspiration can be found in unexpected places, resulting in cinematic magic that lasts for generations to come. This creative synergy between two renowned actors is a prime example of the richness and diversity of the genre.