Some unforgettable dialogues from Hindustani films III

I had started recounting five of my favourite dialogues from Hindustani films from your edification. However, I had been able to just give two of them – one each in the first two posts. This was because it was necessary to give the context in which the particular dialogue was spoken. I will come to the third and fourth dialogues, which are again from the same film, but in different times in the intricate plot. Made in 1978, the film was called “Don” and was a classical depiction of the flamboyant 1970s. A version was made a couple of years ago, but was a most pale copy…. since the times in which the original was made and were central to the plot but long since gone…. even the crimes have changed. The most…. ummm… fashionable?crime at that time the original was made happened to be smuggling, especially of gold. Today, smuggling is a low-grade crime, unless the contraband you deal in happens to be weapons or radioactive material…. However, let me not digress. Let me outline the plot of this film. Intrepid police officer, DSP (Deputy Superintendent of Police) D’Silva (Iftekhar)  is on track of notorious smuggler Don (Amitabh Bachchan) and somehow convinces Don’s jilted paramour to inveigle him long enough for police to surround her apartment and arrest him. Don smuggles a rat and eludes the trap (Too early in the film?) but cops a few bullets in the shoot-out. But as the police team search for him, they find he has disappeared…. As the disappointed DSP D’Silva gets into his car and prepares to drive home, a pistol is thrust at his head….. It is the mortally wounded Don.

However, he dies soon. Now the canny DSP hits on a clever stratagem. He had come across a rustic street entertainer, called Vijay, who bore a close resemblance to the Don (whom only the DSP knows is dead) and tries to convince him to infiltrate Don‘s gang. This leads to a classic riposte… when the DSP broaches the idea, Vijay responds:

“Shikarpur ka samjha hai?” (Now all those unfamiliar with the ethos of Uttar Pradesh will find it hard to understand the idiom…. so I’ll explain. Shikarpur happens to be one of the several villages around Uttar Pradesh, whose inhabitants are held as a byword for stupidity….. so it is a classic euphemism to be used for someone you suspect of playing a fast one over you. The character of Vijay is the classical east UP good-hearted simpleton and the idiom he uses and hiss habits fully reflect the fact….. the song “Khaike Pan Banaras waala – which comes as the climax approaches – and the fondness of paan and bhang during these scenes being two of the most obvious).

However, the DSP finally wins over Vijay by assuring that he will ensure the schooling of two kids – a boy and girl – Vijay had found abandoned and taken under his wing. Vijay is then carefully taught the mannerisms of the late Don (and the metamorphosis from a country bumpkin in a metropolis to a debonair and dangerous criminal is brought up best in this bonus dialogue I will give you).

True to his habit, Vijay, while being schooled, reaches for a paan, and the DSP sahab gently admonishes him: “Uhh han, Don paan nahi khaata tha”.

There are many more strands of the plot – a female criminal who harbours revenge on the Don, and so on but I do not want to give away too much…. What I can tell you and it will be necessary for the second dialogue I have in mind is an introduction to the character of JJ. But in the next installment only.

To be continued….


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