After the success of the first film, a sequel was immediately planned. However, several delays including the selection of the right script, caused the film to be pushed ahead. The film was officially announced in early 2010, with filming scheduled to begin in later that year. Two fans of the previous film, Ameet Mehta and Amrish Shah approached Akhtar with a storyline and later they co-wrote the film with him. Principal photography took place in Berlin, where it was shot extensively. Shankar–Ehsaan–Loy returned to compose the soundtrack of the film, with Javed Akhtar penning the lyrics.
The film was released on 23 December 2011 by Reliance Entertainment in 2D and 3D formats, which also included dubbed versions in Telugu and Tamil languages. The film had a generally positive critical reception from critics, receiving praise for the cast's performance, cinematography, production design and action sequences. However, its pace and music received criticism. With a box office gross of over ₹2.28 billion, Don 2 was a major box office success. At the time of its release, the film was one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time and is the fourth highest-grossing Indian film of 2011.
The film received a number of accolades across various ceremonies in India. The film received five nominations at the 57th Filmfare Awards, including Best Film, Best Director for Akhtar and Best Actor for Khan, winning Best Sound Design and Best Action.
The film opens five years after the ending of the first film, with Don (Shah Rukh Khan) narrating the story. The European drug cartel bosses meet in the French Riviera to discuss a new threat emerging from Asia: Don is jeopardising their business by undercutting their prices, and the bosses decree that Don must die. Living in Thailand for the last five years, he goes to a remote settlement to pick up a shipment of cocaine. Instead of the expected uneventful transaction, Don fights his way out. He returns to Malaysia, surrendering to Roma (Priyanka Chopra), who has joined Interpol, and Inspector Malik (Om Puri). Don is sentenced to death and sent to prison, where he meets old rival Vardhan (Boman Irani). He offers Vardhan a partnership, and they escape from prison after poisoning the other inmates.
In Zurich Don meets trusted companion Ayesha (Lara Dutta), and they retrieve the contents of a locker accessible only by Vardhaan. In it is a tape of J.K. Diwan (Alyy Khan), vice-president of the Euro-printing DZB (Deutsche Zentral Bank), who was sent by Fabian Kohl to bribe Singhania (Rajesh Khattar) to kill a competitor; Singhania was killed by Vardhaan five years earlier. Don blackmails Diwan into giving him the bank's blueprints so he can steal the printing plates. Diwan misleads him and hires Abdul Jabbar (Nawab Shah), a deadly assassin. Don escapes, however, and baits Jabbar to working for him. With no other choice, Diwan gives Don the blueprints.
Don and his team plan and execute a bank robbery, taking hostages. After stealing the printing plates he is betrayed by Vardhaan and Jabbar, but escapes. However, Sameer (a team member, played by Kunal Kapoor) calls the police and Don is arrested; he threatens Sameer for informing on him. Unable to enter the bank and free the hostages, the police are forced to work with Don in exchange for giving him German immunity.
Don and Roma reach Vardhaan and Jabbar. When ordered by Vardhaan and Jabbar - and even Don himself - Roma is shot by Jabbar when she refuses to kill Don. She still has feelings for Don, although he killed her brother five years earlier, and she also refused to kill him because she refused to do it the illegal way. Don defeats Vardhaan and his thugs, and kills Jabbar. Don ultimately saves the entire team. Don obtains his immunity papers, surrendering the plates and a disc with information about his team. He brings Roma to a waiting ambulance, and they exchange glances before the doors close. Don later detonates a bomb planted earlier in Diwan's car.
In a final scene Don still has one of the currency plates, which the police think was destroyed by the explosion. Sameer was actually loyal to Don; informing the police was part of the plan. The disc Don gave them actually contains the names of the European drug cartel; when they are arrested, Don becomes king of the European underworld and tells Ayesha and Sameer they have no idea how rich they will become. When Ayesha tells him she was afraid he would be caught, he says: "Don ko pakadna mushkil hi nahin, namumkin hai" ("It is not just hard to catch Don, it is impossible.") and the film ends with the song "Dushman Mera".Shah Rukh Khan as Don
Priyanka Chopra as Roma
Boman Irani as Vardhaan:
Lara Dutta as Ayesha
Kunal Kapoor as Sameer:
Om Puri as Vishal Malik, head of the Malaysian INTERPOL
Alyy Khan as Jamal Khawar (J.K.)
Nawab Shah as Abdul Jabbar
Sahil Shroff as Arjun
Florian Lukas as Jens Berkel
Rajesh Khattar as Singhania
Hrithik Roshan as Don in disguise (cameo)
Rike Schmid as Yana, Sameer's girlfriend
A sequel to Don was in the works, as announced by Farhan Akhtar shortly after its release. However, he had other commitments; Khan, recovering from shoulder surgery, signed for My Name Is Khan since that film required little physical exertion. In February 2010, Akhtar said that the script and locations had been finalised. The original cast would reprise their roles, except for Arjun Rampal and Ishaa Koppikar; Lara Dutta and Kunal Kapoor were cast in new roles. In an interview with DNA India Akhtar said that he decided to make a sequel to the 2006 remake of a 1970s classic because it "had a lot to offer" and freed him to explore the character of Don, who fascinated him. Don 2 marked Akhtar's return to directing after nearly five years; his previous film was Don. Anand Subaya was the main editor, and Ritesh Soni the musical director. The digital intermediate and VFX of Don 2 were by Pixion Studios, and the 3D conversion by Reliance Mediaworks.
The sequel had a different team of writers from Don, and included Akhtar, Ameet Mehta and Amrish Shah. Akhtar said, "The first film was my father's vision, but Don 2 is being written by fans only. These are yours truly and two new enthusiastic boys, Ameet and Amreesh, who came to me with their ideas on how the story can be carried forward. I've thrown my ideas at them. Don 2 is basically being written by three Don fans who are having a ball carrying the story forward." Khan became the first celebrity to copyright a tattoo when he registered the "D" tattoo seen on his arm in the film.
In August 2011, the producers said they would release Don 2 in 3D. The idea of 3D conversion occurred to Akhtar while shooting; after tests in Los Angeles, it was decided to convert the entire film. The director of photography had used special lenses, which made conversion easier. Sidhwani said that the idea of converting the film into 3D came to him after seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. Chuck Comisky, a veteran S-3D innovator who supervised 3D stereo and visual effects for Avatar and Sanctum, was given the job.
Shah Rukh Khan as Don, a drug lord and the narrator of the film. He has established his dominion over Asia, and sets his sights on organised crime in Europe. Khan reprised his role in the 2006 film, Don. In this film, unlike the first, he plays only one part. Khan exercised extensively for the role and performed almost all the stunts by himself. Don 2 marked Khan's return to playing villains after earlier films such as Darr and Baazigar. It is the first sequel in Khan's two-decade-long career. Roma, Now an INTERPOL operative, Roma continues chasing Don to avenge the deaths of her brother Ramesh and his fiancée Kamini at his hands. Chopra learned martial arts, trained for over two months and wanted to perform her own stunts. The chief antagonist, Vardhaan was an underground criminal who disguised himself as a police officer named D'Silva. He is framed by Don, and arrested in the first film. In Don 2, he works with Don on the robbery but secretly seeks revenge. Irani lost 12 kg for the role and grew a beard to make his character look "cold, cunning and deceitful"; he felt that playing a villain was "a big stretch" for him as an actor. Don's trusted companion, she helps him in his plans to rob the German Central Bank. Dutta was cast after Koppikar, who played the role in Don, dropped out of the film. She was recommended to Akhtar by Khan, who had worked with her on Billu in 2009. In an interview with The Hindustan Times Dutta said it was exciting to play a new character, since there would be no predecessor to live up to. A computer hacker hired by Don for his bank robbery. It was reported that Kapoor was cast as a replacement for Arjun Rampal, who played Jasjeet in Don; however, the producers and Kapoor denied the reports.
Filming for Don 2 was expected to begin in April 2010, but was postponed until fall. Principal photography began on 10 October in Berlin; it was the first Bollywood film shot in that city. The decision to shoot in Berlin was made after Khan attended the Berlin International Film Festival for its screening of My Name is Khan and saw that the city provided the required realistic backdrop. Before shooting began the German government announced the film on its website, promising support and co-operation during filming. A 70-member Indian crew travelled to the city for two weeks of preparation for shooting. Scenes were filmed at the Brandenburg Gate, the Alexanderplatz, the French Cathedral and the East Side Gallery.
Khan experimented with a variety of looks and trained for the film, deciding to perform his own stunts. In Berlin, he performed a dangerous 300-foot jump for a scene. A car-chase scene using 67 cars closed main thoroughfares (including the Brandenburg Gate) for three weeks. Each day, alternate routes were provided around roads cordoned off for filming. The shooting schedule also included a special appearance by Hrithik Roshan, whose presence was kept under wraps by filmmakers. In December 2010, the Berlin shooting ended.
In February 2011 the actors flew to Malaysia, where several scenes were shot in Malacca Prison with prisoners as extras. A section of the prison block was made available for filming, with special T-shirts distinguishing crew members from prisoners in the high-security zone. Filming in Malaysia lasted for a month, ending on 20 March.
Khan became the only Indian actor to have filmed in Germany, a country known for refusing permits for foreign film shoots. A production executive said, "Unlike the US, UK and Thailand, it isn't easy to obtain permission to shoot in Germany. The rules are very strict ... Shahrukh Khan is so famous in Germany and that made a great difference to shoot Don 2 there." Sidhwani said, "We are the first Indian film which has managed to do that. There were certain pre-conditions that we were required to meet and we had to be very careful. Eventually they did open the doors for us. Once we were together on making the film, they proved to be extremely helpful."
Khan trained with international stunt and fight director Wolfgang Stegemann, who has worked on a number of big-budget Hollywood films. Stegemann (who also played Karl, an antagonist) created a unique fighting style for the actor: "These are powerful and effective to knock off Don's enemies. I had to analyse Mr. Khan's motions and find the perfect fight style for him. It is a mix between martial arts, Krav Maga, Wing Chun and Trapping, which has not been practised in Bollywood. It helped him endure long settings of fights together."
In September 2011, filming resumed on a song featuring the two leads. Another song was shot with Khan in Goa in late November, only a month before the film's release. This was a first-of-its-kind music video; instead of a choreographed song and dance, the filmmakers shot the song as an action sequence. The song, a promotional video, did not appear in the film.
The soundtrack was composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, with lyrics penned by Javed Akhtar. The album contains nine compositions: four original songs, two instrumentals, a dialogue snippet, and two remix out of four original songs. The vocals were performed by Vishal Dadlani, Anusha Mani, Usha Uthup, Shankar Mahadevan, Sunitha Sarathy, KK and Caralisa Monteiro. It was released on 17 November 2011 by T-Series.
The soundtrack received mixed reviews from music critics, with many calling it "safe" and a disappointment. Joginder Tuteja gave a rating of three out of five, terming it a mixed bag and wrote "There isn't anything which comes across as memorable enough to be played a few months down the line, leave aside a few years. Eventually what you get is a soundtrack that would go along with the narrative and acts as a good situational ingredient but that's about it." Koimoi also gave three out of five writing that album fall short of expectations. Planet Bollywood gave 5.5 out of 10, feeling "Hai Ye Maaya" was the only song worth listening, and wrote " Don 2 doesn't quite live up to expectations which were sky high after the huge success of the first film- it's a soundtrack that will only work alongside the movie and will take the story forward, but as an audio alone it just doesn't deliver. S-E-L play it safe by continuing on from where they left in the previous venture and there is hardly any innovation." Sukanya Verma of Rediff.com gave the album a rating of two out of five calling it "safe and self-conscious" and wrote "Don 2's music could fare much better if the composers Shankar-Ehsaan-and Loy had tried to step out of the prequel's shadow."
The German government provided €3 million in incentives to the film's producers, since it was shot in Berlin. The German shoot cost €6.8 million. It was the first time such large incentives were offered to a film shot in the country. The distributors, Reliance Entertainment, bought the rights to Don 2 from Excel Entertainment for ₹850 million (US$13 million) and spent another ₹220 million (US$3.4 million) on prints and marketing. Zee Network acquired the satellite rights for ₹370 million (US$5.8 million), the highest satellite price for a Reliance Entertainment film that year. Distribution rights in Tamil Nadu and Kerala were bought by the newly formed Sudha Screen's Sreeraj for an undisclosed price. Don 2 music rights were sold to T-series for ₹100 million (US$1.6 million).
The theatrical trailer and poster for Don 2 were released with Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. A promotional event was planned for 13 July in Mumbai, although it was cancelled because of the Mumbai bombings. A second trailer was released online on 24 October. The film previewed at the Dubai International Film Festival, and its trailer was the most-watched YouTube video in India during 2011.
The producers of Don 2 made extensive use of technology for its marketing, utilising Google and YouTube. Viewers could watch songs from the film in 3D (with 3D glasses) on their computers. The producers collaborated with McDonald's and Café Coffee Day in 20 cities to provide free Internet access with Wi-Fi in their stores. The filmmakers also agreed with Microsoft India to launch a "Meet the Don: Mission Berlin" contest offering a chance to meet Khan and a trip to Berlin. To popularise the contest, Microsoft planned a marketing campaign which included a television commercial, radio advertisements and digital banners.
Since Don's catchphrases in the first film became popular, Sidhwani and Akhtar decided to publicise dialogue from Don 2 by releasing 10 lines delivered by Don as "Don Says...": one line each Friday from 15 October until the film's release on 23 December. The lines were released simultaneously across all media platforms: television, print, radio, Internet and mobile. The "Don says..." one-liners, also known as "Don-isms", became popular worldwide.
The filmmakers also released a limited-edition toy version. The toy, Shahrukh Khan dressed as Don, is the first bobblehead of a Bollywood star. The cast, director and producers embarked on a multi-city tour across India (including Patna) to promote the film. Interrupted by security problems, the tour resumed from Nagpur to Ahmedabad, Hyderabad and other cities.
In October 2011 a comic book based on Don 2, Don: The Origin, was published in Mumbai. A prequel, it details Don's past. About the comic, Ritesh Sidhwani said: "Don 2 takes off from where Don: The Chase Begins Again left off. In these five years, many have forgotten the film and must be curious to know how Don came into being. This original story will help them understand him and also offer a background on other characters like Roma and Vardhaan."
Excel Entertainment collaborated with India's largest video-game company, Gameshastra, on a console game. The firm developed a third-person action-adventure console game in which the player performs actions similar to Don's in the film. A social game, Don – The Social Mobsters Game (developed by Mango Games), was launched on Facebook. It is available on Android and PSN for PlayStation 3 platforms. Sidhwani said, "This is the first time a game is based on an Indian film that will be launched on four platforms. For an iconic character like Don, I think this was the best way to keep the hysteria going amongst his fans." A PlayStation 2 game, Don 2: The King is Back, was released in India in February 2013 as the final PAL game for PS2.
Don 2 was released worldwide 23 December 2011 on 3,105 screens in the domestic market, including 500 prints in 3D, and on 650 screens in 40 countries. The dubbed versions in Telugu and Tamil were released with the Hindi version. The second phase of the film's international release began in January 2012 in 84 countries. In February 2012, Don 2 was shown at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival and became the most popular film at the festival.
Reliance Entertainment obtained a "John Doe" order from the Delhi High Court allowing it to serve cease-and-desist notices on film pirates. Anti-piracy chairman Rajkumar, speaking about the order, said: "We have already served notices to 43 ISPs, who we consider potential pirates. We have also alerted the cops and our team indigenously, but our primary intention is to halt menacing online piracy generating across shores."
A month before Don 2's release Nariman Films, producers of Don, sent a legal notice to Reliance and Excel Entertainment about the sequel. According to the notice, Nariman had given the rights to Excel Entertainment in perpetuity for Don alone. The producers replied, "Whatever we have done is legal, so the claim is false and so are the charges. This is an absolutely new film and there is no question of a delay in releasing Don 2." Khan added in an interview with Mumbai Mirror, "While my producers are best qualified to give a fitting reply to the whole matter, I as a lead actor can say that as for the sequel, the Amitabh Bachchan Don never had a sequel. So where is the question of us copying anything. Farhan and his team have worked on the script, I know for a fact that we haven't copied from anywhere and this is an original script." On 19 December, a week before Don 2's release, the Bombay High Court refused to stay the film's release. The court's ruling considered the film's scheduled release on 21 December overseas and 23 December in India, for which many theatres had been booked.
The Health Ministry advised the producers to have the lead character talk about the negative health consequences of smoking, demanding that smoking scenes in the film be scrolled down or blurred. Sidhwani and Javed Akhtar met Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni to resolve the matter, saying: "We all agree that smoking is a major health issue and there is no intention of glorifying it in the film. It is shown as a weakness or a trait of the character. We reasoned with them and they saw our point of view. So the film will only have a disclaimer in the beginning. No blurring of scenes or scrolls during the movie."
A two-disc DVD was released by Reliance Entertainment in April 2012, with special features on the second disc; in June, Reliance released the film on Blu-ray Disc.
Don 2 received positive reviews from critics, receiving praise for the cast's performance, cinematography, production design and action sequences but was criticised for its pace and music. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 73 percent based on 11 reviews, with an average rating of 6.8 out of 10. Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India gave the film four out of five, noting as "a classic action/crime thriller that doesn't let go, even for a moment. More importantly, the plot has been finely crafted, with every twist and turn falling into place like a complicated albeit neat little jigsaw." Filmfare also gave the film four out of five, praising the performances by Khan, Chopra and Irani and wrote "They carry the film through its flat moments. It's not very taut, but Don 2 serves up enough thrills in the finale and that alone makes it worth a watch." Priya Joshi of Digital Spy gave the film four out of five, praising its dramatic conclusion which she thought was brilliantly executed, and wrote the it "is a thoroughly exhilarating action-fest, fashioned in a Bollywood-style – and a shot of adrenaline amidst the usual elf-inspired festive film fare."
In a highly positive review, The Express Tribune called the film "a visual masterpiece", adding that "it sets a very high benchmark for future Indian action films. It proves that Bollywood has what it takes to go beyond half hearted action flicks." It praised Khan's performance writing that "he actually managed to infuse a raw viciousness into to the character" that was sorely missing in the prequel. The review also praised Chopra's portrayal of Roma noting that she pulled off her role with aplomb, adding that "she may be the first proper female action hero in Bollywood." Komal Nahta rated the film 3.5 out of 5 calling it "a winner" but felt that the first half was slow paced. Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama gave the film 3.5 out of 5, feeling that the second half took the film to another level, and wrote "Farhan chooses an entirely new concept, garnishes it with classic action, stunning visuals, giving it an international look and feel". Aniruddha Guha of Daily News and Analysis gave three out of five complimenting Khan's performance and action sequences, which he thought made the film work. Mid Day gave it 2.5 out of 5, praising Khan's performance and wrote "The film is slick, the cinematography is captivating but the racy, edge of the seat pace that you expect from an action thriller of this kind is sorely missing."
Also giving the film 2.5 out of 5, Raja Sen of Rediff.com termed the film as "a glossy, unashamed action offering polished within an inch of itself, visually coming together seamlessly and effectively." Sen also added that although the film has been impressively produced, it has been let down by the over-the-top acting by Khan, while other actors were underused and were given nothing much to do." Rajeev Masand gave the film two out of five stars, calling it "spectacularly boring", and wrote "Don 2 is nicely shot, and there are moments where Shah Rukh Khan is riveting. But that’s not enough to hold your interest for well over two hours…even the actor’s most loyal fans will find themselves yawning." Sonia Chopra of Sify also gave 2.5 out of 5, feeling that the original film was better as compared to the sequel but praised the action sequences, writing "The car chases are superb and will have you at the edge of your seat. For the rest of the film though, you'll be slouching on that very seat, waiting for the thrills that the Don series promises." Writing for Hindustan Times, Mayank Shekhar was disappointed with the film, calling it "never ending" and criticised the stretched storyline.
Don 2 was made with a production cost of ₹750 million (US$12 million) excluding SRK's acting fee with shares in profits which is ₹650 million (US$10 million). On its first day, Don 2 had 80-percent occupancy levels throughout India. In multiplexes its occupancy level was 75%-80% percent and 70–75 percent in single-screen theatres. The film grossed ₹147 million (US$2.3 million) from its Hindi version, in the process becoming the third-highest opening-day grossing Indian film (fourth-highest for the Hindi version) and the highest opening-day grossing film on a non-holiday Friday. The film increased its earnings by about 20–25 percent in high-end cinemas during its second and third days, aided by a sizeable increase in multiplex revenue. Over the weekend, Don 2 grossed ₹470 million (US$7.3 million) from its Hindi version and another ₹15 million (US$230,000) from its Tamil and Telugu versions. It held well the following week, collecting a total of ₹700 million (US$11 million) by the end of its first week. During the film's second weekend, Don 2 grossed ₹145 million (US$2.3 million) from its Hindi version. The film held well during its second week, declining 62 percent and collecting ₹270 million (US$4.2 million) from its Hindi version and thus taking its two-week total to ₹970 million (US$15 million). The second-week total of Don 2 was the second-highest of 2011, after Ready. By the end of its theatrical run the Hindi version of Don 2 grossed ₹1.06 billion (US$17 million) in India and regional versions added a further ₹60 million for a grand total of ₹1.12 billion (US$17 million) including Tamil and Telugu, making it the fourth highest-grossing Bollywood film of 2011. Although it was commercially successful but critics panned the movie but praised for Khan's performance.
Don 2 was released overseas in two phases, with most major markets covered in the first phase. The film set several records on its opening day. It grossed $550,000 from 164 theatres in the United States. In the United Kingdom Don 2's revenue debuted in the top ten, earning $527,000 in three days from 76 theatres; in the Middle East, the film grossed $930,000 in two days. It broke the record for highest single-day revenue in Australia ($62,000), grossing $136,000 in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji during the first two days of its run.
The film grossed ₹16.9 million (US$260,000) during its first week in Pakistan, breaking all previous records. Don 2 grossed ₹371 million (US$5.8 million) over the weekend, and ₹504 million (US$7.9 million) during its first week. It set a record for the all-time biggest opening week for a Hindi film in North America, earning $2.64 million. The film was the highest-grossing Bollywood film overseas in 2011. During the second phase of its release, which began in February 2012, Don 2 earned $112,027 in Germany and $5,041 in Austria. It grossed $11.24 million on the overseas market and was the third highest-grossing Bollywood film overseas at that time, after My Name Is Khan and 3 Idiots. It face stiff competition with Mission Impossible Ghost protocol in its initial weeks which in some started topped the box office. Satellite rights for Don 2 were sold to Zee TV for ₹370 million (US$5.8 million), and it was also released on the Zee Cinema HD channel.
About a sequel, Shahrukh Khan said: "It would be great to revisit Don after sometime. I’ve told Farhan that we could take 60 days out of our schedule and make a Don 3. But we need a script first, one that could take the last 10 minutes of Don 2 forward to another differently exciting thriller." Farhan Akhtar also expressed a desire to take the story forward, and said he was fascinated by the character of Don. However, the filmmaker wanted to explore other genres without restriction and added that he was currently focusing on his acting career. In August 2014, It is reported that Farhan Akhtar is planned to play a role in the film. In October 2015, director Farhan Akhtar said that Don 3 will go on floors by late 2016. However, the film is at scripting stage. It has also been reported that Katrina Kaif will replace Priyanka Chopra in the next installment But the makers denied it stating that the only constant in the third installment will be Don and the rest of the characters will be dependent on the script.