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May 24, 2017 Wednesday     

The mega blockbuster "DON" (1978) starring Amitabh Bachhan, Zeenat Aman and Pran, revolved around a plot where a famous Don is replaced by a look alike, who has been specially trained for this job by the police officials. Brilliantly directed by Chandra Barot, the movie is surely one of the fastest thriller movies ever made in Hindi Cinema.

Before this super hit Bollywood movie, a similar flick was made in the West in 1967, which was also based on the same plot of planting a double in the place of a high profile Gangster. The movie was rightly called "Double Man" as suggested by its novel storyline.

Chek out at : http://imdb.com/title/tt0061594/  

But quite interestingly a few years before these projects came into existence, there was a so called low budget Hindi movie released in 1961 with a title “Mr. India”, starring the famous comedian, I. S. Johar in the lead. Now this movie also had a similar story written around the outline of replacing a well know Gangster with his look alike according to a plan made by the local police. I. S. Johar himself played the double role in this thriller cum comic movie directed by G. P. Sippy
Incidentally in the year 1962, another famous movie "China Town" having the energetic Shammi Kapoor in the lead also revolved around the same plot of using the double and then Subhash Ghai came with his own version of the theme with Shatrughan Sinha as "Kalicharan" in 1976.
Hence, Amitabh Bachhan's “Don” seems to be influenced by our own “Mr. India”, "China Town" or may be "Kalicharan" too as it seems. And since there is no info of any other movie released before “Mr. India” based on the similar plot, so that clearly indicates that Bollywood came up with this original story idea first, which later may have influenced the project of the Western film-makers in all possibilites.
Tags : Don, Double Man, Amitabh Bachchan, Inspired Movies, Inspired Cinema, Bollywood Plagiarism, Plagiarism in Hindi Cinema, Copied Movies, Movies Inspired From, Borrowed Concepts, Inspired Plots, Bollywood & Hollywood, Reviews by Bobby Sing, Bollywood Gets Inspired, Cinema Gets Inspired, Bollywood & World Cinema, Inspiration from World Cinema.
02 June 2009 / bobbysing /
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13 Responses to “Amitabh's "Don" (1978), Double Man (1967) & Mr. India (1961)”
faisal   opinionatedfaisal.blogspot.com
submitted on 27 June 2010

The storyline of Don was same as Shammi Kapoor starrer China Town (1962)

submitted on 27 June 2010

Yes Faisal, that was really there in my notes to be added in the write-up and it will be soon be there as you reminded me of it again......

But still I. S. Johar's  "Mr. India" was the first one as it came in 1961.

Thanks for writing in and Keep Visiting......Cheers!

submitted on 09 July 2012

Actually Don was inspired from Kaalicharan(1976)
Kaalicharan was copied from Double Man...I do not think they had copyrites those days...

submitted on 09 July 2012

Hi Shiraz,
It seems that you havent read the write-up completely as there I have mentioned that we have made films in India on the same concept even before "Double Man" came in 1967.

Here we made "Mr. India" with I. S. Johar in 1961 and "China Town" with Shammi Kapoor in 1962. 
And eveidently both were made years before "Double Man".

Yes "Kalicharan" was also made on the same concept but so were many other movies after "Don". 
So here the original idea seems to have adapted by Indian Film-makers first as you can see comparing the years.

However I would love to know that whether there was any movie made in the West on the same subject before 1961.


submitted on 10 July 2012

Hi Bobby Sir,
Since article tells about planting a double
There is no mention of Kalicharan in ur article ,that is why I mentioned it....

Kalchiran was a superhit movie and it launched Subash Ghai as a director who gave so many hits in years to come and given the title of showman by the media after Raj Kapoor.
Secondly It also launched Shatrugan Sinha's career as a hero...before that Shatru was happy playing negative roles...
However you correctly mentioned that lots of movies have been made on the same subject...
If I am not wrong,one of them was Inspector Dhanush in 1991 with a south Indian actor(name forgotton) and Sangeeta Bijlani..this film got unnoticed due to obvious reasons..
But no one can beat Kalicharan and Don...outstanding movies...The new Don is nowhere near these two..

prakash bhatia   
submitted on 07 February 2014

Hi Bobbyji,
Quite interesting information about DON and other similar films. I remember one film with more or less same theme which released in late sixties Nasihat produced and directed by Dara Singh and main role was acted by Daraji himself.



submitted on 17 February 2014

Thanks Prakash Ji for adding a valuable info here and I will soon update the article with the mention of NASIHAT (1967) surely.

Neel Trivedi   
submitted on 09 August 2014

Hey Bobby,
All of the movies you mention came after novel titled "Legacy of a Spy" by Henry S. Maxfield, first published in 1959. I personally haven't read the book, but people who have have noted the similarities with The Double Man.

submitted on 12 August 2014

Hi Neel,
Thanks for your valuable addition but since we both havent read that novel so cant say anything precisely.
However even if the novel has the same plot still the first movie on the said theme remains to be the Hindi one only as mentioned in the write-up.

Keep Visiting and Writing in.

Raj Vardhan   rediffmail
submitted on 27 May 2016
Hello Sir!

DON (1978) was the remake of SALAAM MEMSAAB (1961) starring Kumkum.
submitted on 27 May 2016

Hi Raj,
Thanks for the additional name.
But as mentioned in the article even MR. INDIA released in 1961 only and there were many more films with the similar themes released before DON. So we cannot say from which film exactly the inspiration came from.


Raj Vardhan   rediffmail
submitted on 28 May 2016
But Sir...apart from the mistaken identities angle,both Salaam Memsaab and Don has a striking resemblance in the story department too

Salaam Memsaab is available on you tube.

Like Salim-Javed's previous effort Sholay,this movie too was a khichdi of many films.
submitted on 09 June 2016

Hi Raj,
Saw SALAAM MEMSAAB as discussed,
Yes it begins the same way with the exact plot but then goes on a different kind of journey altogether.
So I would still consider Johar's MR. INDIA much close to DON then SM.

But the information was still valuable as its another name added to the list of similar movies.

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