Dayavan (1988) The Khanna-o-Rama that is Vinod

In honor of Beth Loves Bollywood’s international Khanna Family initiative to celebrate all film industry Khannas, Khanna-o-Rama, I would like to contribute a little write-up on Dayavan (1988).


It starts out with poor little orphan, Shakti Vellu, aka Dayavan (kid version of Vinod Khanna) ending up witnessing his dad being unjustly murdered by some corrupt police.  He has to flee his southern home and hide in Bombay for safety only to run into some punks on the seaside who try to beat and rob him.  During this fight, Dayavan runs into a little ruffian, Shanker (kid version of Feroz Khan), who is impressed by Dayavan’s fighting skills,  flair, generosity, piety, all that good stuff , which to me are the personality traits I want to believe the Khanna’s  (Rahul, Akshaye, and Vinod) posses in real life, don’t you?  OK, real life, whatever, back to the movie.  Dayavan sets Shankar straight about his true inner badass nature, for within the composed orphan, lies a heart capable of murderous rage with he witnesses injustice!

I am too lazy to get into retelling you the plot of the film, so here’s a synopsis to suffice and then I’ll skip to the parts I liked best.

After having witnessed his dad being killed by the local South Indian police, and being orphaned and homeless, Shakti Velhu develops a hate, and distrust of the police in India. He is befriended by another homeless boy named Shanker, who asks him to accompany him a slum in Bombay, where they live with a kind-hearted Muslim named Karim Baba, and his daughter, Shama. This is where Shakti and Shankar spend their childhood. When they mature, they take to petty crime. Here too, Shakti witnesses police brutality and atrocities, especially at the hands of sadistic, alcoholic, and womanizing Police Inspector Ratan Singh. When Karim Baba is arrested, jailed, and found hanging by his neck in police custody, Shakti hunts down Ratan Singh, and kills him in broad daylight in front of the several hundred people. An investigation is launched, but no one comes forward as a witness. Thus Shakti gets his reputation as a Don with a good heart viz. Dayavan. Shakti marries local prostitute, Neelu, and has two children, Suraj and Sarita. He becomes even more powerful and influential all over Bombay, and his working partners are powerful criminal dons who have ruled over Bombay for eons. Shakti eventually replaces these dons, and becomes Bombay’s only Don. This creates enemies for him and his family, but he believes since he has not really done any harm to anyone, he and his family will be safe. It is this belief that will take a heavy toll on his life and that of his family, when the truth dawns that he, himself, is responsible for being kind to a man, who will ultimately bring forward ruin to the Velhu family. (source)

Fast forward from their childhood to adulthood still in the slums, think Slumdog Millionaire, except in this case the two guys stick together and have a life long bromance.  Check out one of their bromantic escapades here:

There’s the supreme policeman villain there to push Dayavan’s buttons, talk about a corrupt dude!  Inspector Ratan Singh (Amrish Puri!)  harasses the slum dwellers, especially a spicy widow played by Aruna Irani.

As a spinster, I’ve managed quite well for very long without a husband, Amrish-ji, I mean Inspector Ratan Singh.  When the evil cop is not harassing widow Aruna, he  lies about with the courtesans of the slums drinking hooch.

Enter Khanna hero, Vinod, who witnesses the harassment of the widow and breaks into a justice fueled fury, and executes a beat down on the inspector.

Haughtiness intact!  Yet another trait I image the Khanna’s have in real life: intact haughtiness under adverse circumstances.  Then after the severe police brutality takes its toll on Dayavan’s body, enter Shankar, to comfort him. Take in the splendor of the bromance:

How do you cheer up your buddy after an assault from a crooked cop?  A night out at the local brothel of course!

The tune I liked most from the film was Kahe Saiyan Teri Meri Baat with playback singers Ahsa Bhosle and Kavita Krishnamurthy (music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, lyrics Aziz Qaisi). I couldn’t find the video separate from the film, so to see it go to 2:30 in the clip below to see the greatness.

Shankar teases Dayavan about his lack of experience with women and arranges for him to have an overnight stay in a room at the brothel, if you know what I mean.  Dayavan uses the room to sleep off his night of drinking and is awakened, as is so commonly the case, by the innocent prostitute, who is quietly, yet intensely studying for her exams.  He gives her money to continue her studies, and leaves her untouched.  Now doesn’t this remind you of the class and flair of what you’d imagine the Khanna’s to be like in real life?   Anyway, I suppose I mentioned just then that Madhuri Dixit was in the film  and I found it a waste of her talent  since she really didn’t dance too much and her role was too brief.  Kya waste hai! Here’s a taste of her dancing in a Holi number.

I don’t like seeing other people kissing, since it’s so private, so Hindi movies are perfect for me.  Dayavan has a famous kissing scene between Madhuri and Vinood,  in fact if you google videos for the film, the kissing scene is most prominent and you can see it here if you’re inclined.  If you watch it please make note of how unconvincing Madhuri’s hands are in the scene, which reveals to me she was not comfortable filming it. I mean wouldn’t most women have more gusto in their grasp if sharing a moment with Vinod Khanna?

Let’s end with a few more memorable screen captures & subtitles from Dayavan:

Double point for me here, since the screen cap includes a subtitle with dacoity (which is even better than dacoitery in my book) and a lone bottle of Johnnie Walker black label, which is obviously better than red label, isn’t it?  Look at Vinod Khanna’s intensity here when someone comes to him to get justice: Did I mention that Feroz Khan is in the movie?  Seems like I’ve ignored him, but here he is, handling business!

And handing out a little vigilante justice, which I know chandelier connoisseur Shweta will enjoy:

During the course of the film, Dayavan’s daughter  (Amala)avoids him due to his illegal work, and ironically she marries a police officer  played by Aditya Pancholi,  who is cheated, since she declared herself an orphan.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with declaring ourselves orphans now and again. Dayavan is a remake of the Tamil film called Nayagan (1987).  Have you seen the movie in its original Tamilian form? I want to see it now in its pure form!  Since I’ve  focused on Vinood Khanna here,  I must throw a bit of attention on his sons, Rahul and Akshaye, to balance out my Khanna-o-Rama contribution.  I will ask you the ask the  timeless question that Briyanshu posed: Rahul or Akshaye? HERE’S THE ANSWER.  Now I command you to click on this feast of Khanna-o-Rama blog posts to fulfill all of your Khanna Family desires.

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23 thoughts on “Dayavan (1988) The Khanna-o-Rama that is Vinod

  1. Lol Sitaji those subtitles are hilarious, especially the haughtiness who knew it could still be intact when you’ve been beaten to a pulp and covered with red paint! I watched this film unfortunately when i was too young and that sex scene was just scarring on the eyes and Madhuri looked soo freaked out! But I think this was the last of the Feroz Bromance films that were actually good, the rest just was too awkward and terrible!

    • Rum-ji,
      First I must say, LOVED your Qurbani & Hera Pheri posts for Khanna-o-Rama. I imagine it is easier to keep haughtiness intact when cover with red paint vs. true khoon, isn’t it? That Vinood-Madhuri scene scarred by eyes too, as old as I am! I kept thinking of the age varibable, and that it wasn’t passionate enough to seem “real”…great actors, wrong mix, no chemistry all making me want to look away. In time we will both heal from this behen.

  2. Oooh I am SO glad I have this film from netflix waiting for me when I get home! How fantastic to have such a realistic Khanna depiction AND the return of a top brodi Feroz/Vinod AND both heroes are seen as younger men and later with dashing graying hair! WOWEEEE! And did you notice it’s a chandeLIAR in the subtitles? Like it’s in on all the evil plots?

    • Beth-ji,
      They both look great as mature men. LOL on the ChandeLIAR, I have to go in and amend the post since I didn’t even notive the obvious. I will, as they say in Indian-English, go do the needful and fast. I hope you do a post on the film too so I can get your final verdict. Thanks again for organizing the Khanna-o-Rama. I just got off the phont with @R_Khanna and he loved it. ;)

  3. I love the older Qurbani duo, but I just dont get the Vinod-Madhuri pairing. But I never was a huge Madhuri fan, so that isnt surprising. Smashing chandeliers- what next!

    • shweta-ji,
      Thanks for updating your central database of chandeliers, or chandeliars in this case.

      When chandeliers/chandeliars are smashed, it’s time to listen, time to take note, it’s perhaps a warning of the second coming, or maybe the Kalyug, or even the Rapture?!?!

  4. I have seen the original Nayagan (with English subtitles), and it is much better than Dayavan. KamalHaasan’s performance is probably one of the best ever delivered by an Indian hero.

    Another great qn would be, should one see Dayavan before Nayagan or vice versa ? Watching Dayavan first makes a lot more sense, all you are expecting is the usual Bollywood Masala; and you are not disappointed. If you have seen Nayagan first, you may not be able to appreciate Feroz Khan’s “treatment”. But then Feroz has always had his own unique take on remaking classics — Dharmatma anyone ?

    Chandeliers, Orphans, JW; trust Feroze to unerringly deliver.

    • Samir-ji
      Namaste bhaisahib! Well with your glowing recommendation of Nayagan and Kamak Haasan’s performance in it, I am even more excited to see it. It is a great question to ponder which to see first: original or copies? In the case of Ghajini, I have yet to see the Tamil version, same for Virasat. I need to get around to seeing Thevar Magan.
      I have faith that the south Indian films will deliver more amputations too, when chandeliers and orphans aren’t enough. Thanks for your making me laugh, as usual. :)

      • Again Thevar Magan is the one to see first. Some how re-makes lose the original essence. While Anil Kapoor and Tabu look good in some of the scenes in Virasat (I have only seen some scenes – not the entire movie), I still prefer the original tamil version Thevar Magan mainly due to the story being set in a particular community of T Nadu and has been done well. The hindi adaption may be good but I don’t think it will match the experience of watching the original. Kamal again did a fab job in Thevar Magan.

        Speaking of originals and remakes, Sitaji, have u seen the original tamil version of Saathiya ie Alaipayuthey? That is a primary example of how the original is too good and the remake a poor copy version.

        Happy viewing!

  5. I would recommend the original tamil film Nayakan anyday. It is a very good mani ratnam movie and as Samir has rightly said a superb performance from Kamala Hasan. If i remember it right, others did a good job too.

  6. I agree with Samir and Filmbuff. ‘Nayagan’ is one of Maniratnam’s best (and Kamalhasan’s too!!). Kamal won a national award for his performance and every scene in the movie is still quoted by Tamil movie buffs – 23 years after the movie released :)

    • Rathi-ji,
      I appreciate your comment and your endorsement of the original Nayagan which makes me even more interested in seeing it. I did now know about the awards nor the famous quotes. Thanks for that information.

  7. “You abuse the very womb that gave you birth!” Yeah, labor and delivery are pretty abusive in and of themselves, dude. That kissing scene looked quite odd; I’m pretty sure I saw Vinod’s thumb in between his and Madz’s mouths in the screencaps I saw.

    • ajnabi-ji,
      Good point! A more accurate subtitle would be “Even beyond the ineviatbley traumatic delivery process still, YOU abuse the very womb that gave you birth only!” I figure a few extra “only” s and a “still” make the Hinglish more effective. LOL about the thumb in the shot, I’ll have to look for that IF I can bring myself to re-watch that scene. :)

  8. Namaste Sita-ji!

    Aapke blog bahut amazing hai. Distracting hai… blog ke liye spare time suffering hai… lekin amazing hai. :)

    I live in the Minneapolis area. I have but recently started watching Bollywood, but have to say that I’m a little obsessed… Can you tell me where to go locally to get more? I’m going to check out the libraries. And Brookdale is of course amazing. :) Is there a “bollywood-obsessed gori” group in town?


    • Elena-ji
      So wonderful for you to stop in to comment. I will send you an email and we’ll get together for a theater trip here in Minneapolis soon. I think that together we have become the “bollywood-obsessed gori” group of our land. I do in fact know other gorii equally obsessed who are local, and I’ll introduce you to them. Have you also checked out meetup? There’s a local group you should join:

      TwinCities Bollywood Fans

      Minneapolis, MN
      555 Bollywood fans

      This is the group for Friends / Movies.. for every one…who likes to have fun on weekends..Main activities that we do are Movies / Music / Dance / Outdoor (Hikes or Biking e…

      Next Meetup

      Bollywood Dance Scene!!

      Thursday, Aug 21, 2014, 7:00 PM
      2 Attending

      Check out this Meetup Group →

      Locally just head up Central Av. in Mpls to find some desi shops with filums. There’s a big Target off of Central and 694, across from which is a desi store with lots of moview. I normally use the, netflix, nehaflix, and induna. I say deplete the system first, there are so many there. Also try, they have good free bollywood films, and there’s alway some uploaded to youtube too.

      Phir milenge!

    • Varali-ji,
      I did happen to see Nayagan (the 1987 Tamil original) recently and it was a fine film. It’s nearly as if Dayavan sensationalized the original and sort of masalized it, thus perhaps inadvertatnly lampooning the original. Thanks for stopping in to comment. :)

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