Dostana (1980)


When I found this DVD I was puzzled as to how it had not registered before on my radar: Raj Khosla directed, Salim-Javed wrote the dialogues, and it stars Amitabh Bachchan, Shatrughan Sinha, Zeenat Aman, Prem Chopra, Amrish Puri, Helen AND PRAN along with a serious array of character actors (KN Singh, Iftekhar, Sudhir, MacMohan, Birbal, Paintal, Trilok Kapoor, Jagdish Raj and more!). How could that possibly go wrong?

And it didn’t, really, at least not terribly…but it is dull and predictable; and there is no chemistry whatsoever between Zeenat and AB or SS, or—more importantly, actually—between AB and SS. It is also a little sloppy at times: Pran has a young son who doesn’t age at all, for instance, although Pran himself does (going from dark hair in a flashback to completely gray hair in the present), and Prem Chopra fires a number of bullets from a gun inside his pocket—but somehow said pocket remains intact, without holes. These are just minor issues though, and if the story had been better, with actors not just going through the motions, they would hardly warrant a mention (at least from me).

However, the story isn’t very good and the actors DO just go through the motions so I don’t think I need to say much more and can just let screen shots speak (mostly) for me (and it). Even the songs are too boring to talk about.

Our heroes, Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) and Ravi (Shatrughan Sinha):


Our villains, smuggler Daaga (Prem Chopra), his chief henchman Balwant (Amrish Puri) and his moll Sylvia (Helen):


Vijay is a CID Inspector who receives tip-offs from a guy named Tony (Pran) about Daaga’s nefarious activities. This enables him to arrest Balwant and confiscate a gold consignment.


Daaga is not worried, though!


That lawyer? Ravi, of course.


Vijay and Ravi maintain their bromance despite this obvious conflict by respecting each other’s work (although if you ask me, Vijay is a very forgiving guy!). Alas, gloomy clouds are gathering on the horizon in the form of the shapely Sheetal (Zeenat Aman).


Each man meets her in separate incidents, and is instantly smitten, but it is Vijay who eventually (after the usual fighting and pretending not to care) wins her over. I do like Sheetal’s telephone.


Vijay says nothing to Ravi about his new romance, since he is unaware of Ravi’s own feelings for her and apparently men just don’t confide in each other about the women they love, even if they are best buddies.

Meanwhile, he continues to get tip-offs from Tony which allow him to thwart Daaga’s gold shipments.


Luckily Sylvia is smarter than Daaga is, and she suggests that they have Vijay followed to find out who he meets.


Mostly, Vijay is meeting Sheetal, until Ravi finally tells him that he wants to marry Sheetal. He asks Vijay to take his proposal to her, with predictable results. Vijay breaks up with Sheetal and vows to leave town.


Up to this point, it has ALL been predictable (and also repetitive):


The only thing of any interest has been the mysterious Tony: how does he know Daaga’s every move, and what is his motivation for bringing Daaga down? Sadly, this small puzzle is answered—predictably—right about now, and so I lose pretty much all interest in the second half. Daaga shows Ravi the photos of Sheetal and Vijay romancing, and Ravi dramatically “breaks” their friendship (to the sound of thunder crashing)—without even giving Vijay an opportunity to explain.


He joins hands with not-very-bright Daaga with disastrous results for poor Vijay, and I’ll leave it to you to figure out the rest. It’s very predictable!

I did enjoy some of the iffy subtitles, and also some of Prem Chopra’s iffy outfits.


And now and again I was all-too-briefly reminded that Raj Khosla was directing.


Veeru Devgan’s stunts and action scenes were well-done as usual, but there were too many of them and they went on too long—predictably. Even Daaga’s lair was kind of predictable (red, and decorated with a stuffed tiger, liquor bottles and a ginormous crystal chandelier) and it didn’t DO anything (like grind people up, or squish them, or anything! *miffed*):


Sigh. Such a disappointing waste of lair opportunity.

I think I’ve covered everything here so that you don’t have to sit through it unless you really want to for some reason. You’ve been warned!

website statistics

54 Comments to “Dostana (1980)”

  1. Isn’t this the movie, where a guy *teases* Zeenat Aman becuase she goes about in a bikini (or something equivalen to that) and AB bashes him and then locks him up and tells her that she is partly to be blamed for it?
    How could such a film be good?
    BTW, the film posters always had this pic of Zeenat in bikini in the middle with AB and SS’s faces on her either side. So you can imagine, what the producers were really banking on to bring in the moolah.

    Helen looks great! At least in your intro screen cap.
    so does Zeenat. A pity though, that she couldn’t act.
    I just can’t bring myself to like SS. I think Vinod Khanna would have been a better choice. But on the other hand I wouldn’t have liked him to be at the losing end.

    Thanks for the warning!

    • Harvey,

      If you start nit-picking based on your modern values, I doubt that you’ll find very many Indian/Hindi films good. :)

    • Dostana is considered a masterpiece and both the actors were nominated for filmfare. It was one of the highest grosser for that year and critics have appreciated SS more than author backed AB. This is one of the reason why AB never worked again with SS. SS could play roles much better if it has negative shades and that is why as villain, he got more claps than many contemporary heroes. Even when Vinod Khanna (VK) and SS worked together in Mere Apne, people recall SS more than VK. You may like VK more because he was better looking and got better roles but still he was not SS. Both were equally good in what they did but SS was never inferior to VK or any other for that matter.

  2. *castle of mirth* sounds great!
    Does one order it from IKEA?

  3. The subtitles were the best part, some of them were quite funny. Yes, this is the one where Vijay chastises Sheetal for wearing a bikini, which I did find annoying, but not nearly as annoying as the fact that I was forcing myself to sit through such a dull film :-)

  4. Aww, they all look a bit bloated and tired. Even the ever-cute Parveen!

    And Prem Chopra shooting bullets THROUGH material? Ha! O ye of little faith, Prem Chopra can do ANYTHING!

  5. First of all, WELCOME BACK!

    Secondly, I’m very disappointed that Shotgun + Big B = dull but not shocked. I think it’s like sticking two positive ends of a magnet together or something. Who decided to pair up two tall forbidding men in a bromance?

    Thirdly, Helen does indeed look FAB in that screencap and Prem Chopra can do anything! I’m watching that movie with Shashi and Sharmila from 1967 (Aamne Samne) that also features a young Prem Chopra and wowie zowie – PREM CHOPRA CAN DO THE TWIST!

    • Thank you :-)

      I like the magnet theory! Helen actually looked pretty haggard in this, as much as she can, anyway. Zeenat looked pretty good but was uninspiring opposite both of the magnet ends. And the Indian Twist is FAB no matter who does it :)!!!

  6. For once my instincts were right! I almost picked this one up because of its date and the cast (no I am not a fan of any of them, but they do have fun movies, especially Big B) but since it wasnt a “famous” (at least I hadnt heard of it) movie and didnt clink any bells in the song department, I decided to give it a miss. Yay! saved myself 3 hrs! :-)

    I guess SS-Big B’s bromance was so unconvincing because they were reportedly at daggers drawn in real life. Their confrontations and hostility on screen would be way more convincing. I read somewhere that while shooting for Kaala Pathhar the two werent even talking to each other, and their fights in that movie just bristle with hostility! :-D

  7. I picked it up mostly because Raj Khosla directed it (and Helen! AND PRAN), but it didn’t really have any of his usual touches. And the SS-AB dostana was very unconvincing indeed. However, their hostile scenes were pretty dull too—although SS did chew up some scenery.

  8. I saw this movie ages ago – soon after it was released.
    Ironically, though it is titled “Dostana” (friendship), there was anything but friendship between Shatru and Amitabh during that period.
    Though AB was #1, Shatru always had this feeling of being #1 himself.
    So there was a lot of ego in the air and difficult shooting moments.
    It probably also reflects in the film-making itself and in the acting.

    I remember not liking the movie very much.

  9. Interestingly (and logically given their real-life issues) enough, they don’t share a lot of screen time—mostly they try to convince us that they are best friends by telling us (individually) that they are, but it just doesn’t work :)

    I didn’t like it much either, but couldn’t even really hate it—it was just so DULL. And predictable (did I mention that already?).

  10. Well, if there is some good Shotgun scenery-chewing, I might have to watch this after all!

    I do love when Shotgun commands the screen! I even sat through “Heera”!! LOL!

  11. I sat through Heera too! It had a few other things going for it (though not a whole lot)…He just exudes arrogance in this—he’s overweight and blustery and not in the least attractive. I would most definitely NOT say he commands the screen :-) There is no screen-commanding here, by anyone, even Pran.

  12. I saw the title on my feed and said, “Hey! I just reviewed Dostana! Yay… Oh, wait, 1980?” LOL Sorry you had to sit through it, but at least you got the castle of mirth out of the deal!

    • I thought of that! and considered titling this Dostana (No Not That One) :-)

      Yes, the castle of mirth built on the grave of dreams was a highlight. Sad, isn’t it?

  13. People keep saying Helen looks great in that screencap, but I have to disagree. She looks several years older than she actually was at the time.

    I’m glad you reviewed this, I’ve been debating whether or not to see it…I think I’ve decided not to…even if it does have Zeenat, Pran, Big B, Amrish Puri, and Helen…who all happen to be on my top 10 list…

    • I have to agree with you that Helen looked pretty haggard throughout. She looks much older than the 42 or so she would have been at the time. The screen cap of her was about as good as she looked (I try to be nice usually) :-)

      Don’t see it. It’s a waste of time, and the cast appears to have agreed on that too.

  14. Thanks for warning us off this one. I heard about it only a couple of days back, and had made a mental note to get hold of it – with a cast like that (and Raj Khosla, to boot), I figured it couldn’t help but be good. Whew!

    I’ve always wondered why I never came across a phone like that in real life. Maybe my folks just didn’t know the right people…

    • I never had one like that either! Our phones were so BORING. If only a Bollywood set designer had decorated my house…and no, don’t see it. Unless you REALLY don’t have anything better to do (like watch grass grow)…

  15. I think the issue with seeing this movie now is that it is so similar to the rest of the multi-starrers amitabh was doing at the time, with nothing unique to its name that would set it apart. I am pretty sure I have seen this, and yet not, because it just strikes me as v indistinct. ah well.

  16. Those days movies tended to have similar names. “Dostana” was followed by “Yaarana”- both mean the same viz “friendship”. In Yaarana , Amitabh Bachchan was shown to be friends with- wait a minute- Amjad Khan, no less.

  17. This was Dharma Productions first movie… I heard Yash Johar talk about this in an interview..

  18. Isn’t this the movie, where a guy *teases* Zeenat Aman becuase she goes about in a bikini (or something equivalen to that) and AB bashes him and then locks him up and tells her that she is partly to be blamed for it?

    That is producer making sure he got his money’s worth for signing Zeenat. Sleazy, I agree. But it gives rise to the ONLY noteworthy dialogue in the movie – and Amitabh’s movies live and die on their dialogbaazi. To wit, if you wear that and don’t expect wolf whistles, were you expecting temple bells to ring? :)

    • That was a pretty funny line, although on the whole I am just really annoyed by that attitude of “If you wear that, you deserve whatever you get”…especially since as you say, she was exploited by the producer on top of it. Urgh.

  19. After all i love this movie,because Big B was in that movie.

  20. Memsaab, thank you for the fun review.

    “Who decided to pair up two tall forbidding men in a bromance?”
    Their bromance in Kalaa Pattar was excellent. I can’t believe they were not even talking to each other at the time!

    I like Zeenat Aman ever since I saw Don. She has lots of on screen charisma and looks great.

  21. So in ’80, Big B starred in “Dostana” where 2 friends fight over one girl and one ends up with her. In ’08, Small B starred in “Dostana” where two friends fight over one girl, and she ends up with another.

    When is Abhishek’s son going to start acting?

  22. Probably as soon as he is born! :-D

  23. *if you wear that and don’t expect wolf whistles, were you expecting temple bells to ring?*

    Don’t tell me that was the real dialogue?

    O Gawd! how sleazy can it get. Thinking how the words bells are meant in colloquial language.
    I hate this whole macho ado in such movies.
    Sorry to see that your first indian movie after indian trip turned out to be so “dull”. Better luck next time.

  24. Don’t tell me that was the real dialogue?

    In the dialogue writer’s defence – yes, bells in colloquial hindi are a well know euphemism. BUT he was going for the contrast between the purity of the temple bells and the libido of the wolf whistle. In hindi, both bells and whistles are “struck”.

    en Bottomline? It was funny. It made me laugh. The movie was meant for a male audience (it would take till Maine Pyar Kiya before the family audience was rediscovered by Hindi cinema)

    But even if we were meant to laugh at the double meaning, why is that so wrong? Archie comics have some of the most explicit and embarassing oogling going on. :)

    There is far, far worse in Hindi movies. Eg the attitude that a “pure” woman commits suicide when raped and if and only if she is not so pure, the solution to her rape is her marriage to the rapist. My mind always boggled at such an attitude. You should be happy it is only a joke about “temple” bells ringing as opposed to that. :)

  25. Well, what I find awful is the attitude behind such lines. It is just like saying “If you wear a mini skirt and get raped, you are to be blamed, since you provoked the men”. And there are men and even politicians, who say such things and not only in India/Asia even in the western countries.

    The afore mentioned line maybe hilarious but it is the attitude that counts.

    And it is not the quesiton of family audience or not. It is the quesiton of role model. If the “hero” of the movie mouths such words, it is like putting a stamp of approval to such an attitude, which already exists in the society.

    And just because there are worse things than that in hindi movies, that doesn’t mean you have to condone such ‘attitudes’.

    I am sorry if I gave you the impression, that it was bad of you to laugh at that one-liner. But I think it is also necessary to see what lies behind such words.
    BTW, your explanation of the comparison between purity of temple bells and lust behind the wolf whistles softened me up a bit. :)

    don’t forget there is also another solution for the woman, whose “honour is tainted”, she can always become a tawaif!

    • Very well put, harvey, and I agree completely (although I did giggle a bit at the temple bells line, because I only got the meaning that Sunil did out of it, contrasting the purity of temple bells to a wolf whistle)…


  26. Harvey, just to clarify, you male or female? Indian origin or firangi?

    I ask because your nickname is male and firangi but unless I am totally misreading your posts(in which case I apologize) you are both female andIndian. :)

    While I agree with yours and memsaab’s take on the “asking for it” attitude, I honestly do not think that the dialogue writer (if you remove the fact that he himself was probably responsible for writing the “justification” scene for putting Zeenat in a bikini) actually showed a very healthy attitude to male libido with that oner liner.

    It exists. Of course, it does. And to joke about it is first to acknowledge it and secondly to diffuse it of some of its power to be perverted into other channels. Constrast that witht the strait-laced “honour killers” who all would probably deny looking at even their wives in lust. Yet they have this inflexible and absolute need to control the women in their families precisely because they are uncomfortable with their own sexuality!!

  27. RRead as “I honestly do think” and c.
    A solution to any problem cannot come from ignoring reality. :)

  28. Who knew that such a boring film as Dostana would give rise to such an interesting debate??? :)

    It is important to have a sense of humor about things, but it is also important to realize that attitudes embedded in society are also perpetrated and given a stamp of “approval” through jokes and repetition. So while I did get the humor of the temple bells/wolf whistles joke, I really didn’t like the attitude in general that AB’s character was putting forth, which is that the victim has to take some of the blame for being victimized. Women should have a right to walk down the street (or on a beach) without being propositioned, insulted, or obviously leered at (if you want to leer, keep it to yourself!). She was not wearing anything so outrageous that it couldn’t be put up on a big screen for family audiences, after all!

    I have found that even if I am wearing a salwar kameez outfit, in India some men feel free to approach me in ways I find insulting (and occasionally frightening) just because I have white skin (western women are easy, seems to be the general idea). That is reality, and I unfortunately cannot ignore it, but it doesn’t mean I have to find it funny if that attitude is mined for laughter.

    Enough said?

  29. Well said, memsaab! I agree with you totally!

    sunil, one of the advantages of such blogs is that one is anonymous and I would like to keep it that way. My sex or origin can naturally influence my opinion about a certain thing, but it doesn’t have to be the theme of the discussion.

    I agree with you as far as your opinion of not ignoring male sexuality. But is making fun of any person, make them feel embarassed and insulted a part of sexuality? Naturally, everybody has their sexual needs, but it is not to be satiated at the expense of somebody else but with mutual consent and joy. It is not the question of men having a sexuality but that of that women have it too and that they don’t really feel flattered by the self potrayal of male sexuality in this way.

    Dear memsaab, you just enough said before. Still I’ve written this post. I would understand and approve if you throw my post and close this thread.

    Thank you!
    Thank you also to sunil for a different opinion.

  30. Hmm, Harvey, I guess you ARE a male. :) And you presume to know how it feels, eh? :)

    But overall, agreed. Amitabh’s characterization was sexist. But I just realized to my delight that the dialogues in question were written by the great Salim-Javed. And the last thing any one can legitmately accuse them of, is being guilty of inadequately emphatic. :)

    Anyway, it was fun having the discussion memsaab, thanks for the great forum!

  31. *grin*
    even the greatest of the greatest have their failings.

  32. I haven’t seen it though I’ve seen it mentioned every now and then, but I just want to say that I love Amitabh and his shirt in this still:

  33. the film was typical but a decent film
    amitabh was excellent as usual while SS was good

    shatru and amitabh are real life eniemies btw

    they hate each other

    after SHAAN and NASEEB they didn’t work again together

    Why this song is picturised on Amitabh when he himself sacrifices his love
    to freindship?

  35. I do agree that this film was a little boring, but a little ways before the end, it got quite exciting, but I still felt that it needed more action scenes, I still like the movie

  36. This was my confusion with the film (only saw it that once, in 1980) – Ravi is Vijay’s benefactor, he proclaims, in that Mere Dost qissa song and yet it is conveyed they’re about the same age – that darn title song, so fake. So Ravi had a trust fund he could use to help orphans? If it was explained in the film, someone please jog my memory. I find it amazing how parents are summarily summoned or dispensed with in our films. Our heroes and heroines are aasmaan-se-tapke.
    The leading trio looked past their prime and really, Amitabh’s swagger and Shotgun’s bluster didn’t hold my interest.
    Never thought about the double entendre in that temple bells dialogue until I read the comments, now they will forever ring a bell.
    Kitna aasaan hai kehna bhool jaao was so besuraa, I still shudder to recall.

  37. I ws watching the film today n i too had a laugh on the scene of prem chopra shooting from his pocket n prans son who never grows some more jokes amitabh keeps chewing his chewing gum even in the climax wen he is whipped by prem chopra btw even i read of amitabh n shatru eniemity btw i disagree on the songs The songs by laxmi pyare are good the title song and dillagi ne di hawa and also mere dost amitabh ws the best n he is always my fav n he is the epitome of cool zeenat ws average btw amrish puri ws wasted n shatru ws as usual btw can u review Pukar(83)

  38. DOSTANA was OCT 1980 release,I Can recall/remember that alongside this one three more movies were running ,and they were RAM BALRAM(OCT 1980),BANDISH (OCT 1980),and NEEYAT(OCT 1980).DOSTANA was probably Last hit,in terms of BOX OFFICE,for GENIOUS RAJ KHOSLA da,though entire eightees he went on to interseting movies and the last one being NAQAB(1989)with RISHI da,disheartned with continious faliures of his movies he passed away in 1991,if I am not wrong.This movie can simply be termed as movie with four pillars,infact six pillars,four infront of camera,and two behind the camera,AMIT/SHATRU/PREM uncle and ZEENAT aunty in front of camera,SALIM/JAVED uncle and holding threads of everything RAJDA,such strong/flawless performance was from leadplayers that if you remove anyone pillar the movie will fall,and youcannot even edit/delete any song also,at least,I couldnot point any one sitution which could be seemed/classified as artifical.Yes. right in climax of this there was one flaw,and that was,if one has seen SUHAAG(SEP 1979) in both movies the last part begins at BOMBAY and reaches LONDON which means somehow the lead players were there ,which resuted that climax of both movies being shot there,thitythree after its release,it byholds the same charm,canbe watched anytime.RAVINDER MINHAS,JALANDHAR CITY,

  39. MR.Anand Bakshi used word Dost or its derivative in every song of the just shows his complete mastery over his craft.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: