A Tribute to Sholay

Ask anyone about the biggest bollywood hit of all times and pat comes the reply- Sholay. The answer would be same irrespective of whether the respondent is a 60 year old or just 16.It has been 34 years since the movie was released, yet there is no other movie that can match its stature. Directed by Ramesh Sippy, the movie was released on 15th August 1975.

There could be nothing more extravagant than a cast consisting of Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Hema Malini and Jaya Bachchan in the lead roles and writer duo of Salim- Javed, whose names were enough to sell a movie then.

One cannot fit Sholay to a definite genre. It was a complete mixture of adventure, action, romance, comedy, musical, thriller and list can go on and on. But the biggest surprise of the movie was Amjad Khan as Gabbar Singh, the villain of the movie. The plot revolves around a police officer played by Sanjeev Kumar who hires two crooks Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan to take revenge from Gabbar Singh who has killed his family.

The only other surviving member of the family is Jaya Bachchan who is the daughter- in- law of the police officer. Hema Malini plays the role of Basanti ,the memorable tangawali and adds comic element to the movie along with Dharmendra.

Think of Sholay and you are flooded with dialogues like “tumhara naam kya hai, basanti?”, “chal dhanno aaj teri basanti ki ijjat ka sawal hai”, “kitne aadmi the”, “ab tera kya hoga, kaalia?” and the list is endless.

Think of Sholay and you are flooded with scenes like Veeru standing on the top of tank to get his ladylove or Jai going to mausi to convince her to get Basanti married to Veeru.

Think of Sholay and you are taken in by the song of friendship “ye dosti hum nahi torenge”, the evergreen holi song “holi ke din dil mil jate hai” or the romantic “koi haseena jab ruth jati hai to” or the sexy dance number,”mehooba”.

Think of Sholay and you are instantly reminded of the jai-veeru friendship, the love saga of Jai and Radha, the loathable gabbar and his psychic escapades. The movie clicked with the audience instantly and became a landmark in the Hindi film industry.

Not many would know that Danny Denzongpa was first approached for the role of Gabbar Singh, which was later immortalized by Amjad Khan. He could not take up the role because he was already commited to Feroz Khan’s Dharmatma. In fact, Amitabh Bachchan was keen to do Gabbar Singh’s role but Ramesh Sippy could only see his Jai in him. It was Dharmendra who suggested Amitabh Bachchan’s name for the movie. Dharmendra himself was keen to play thakur, the police officer but when he came to know that Veeru gets Basanti ( Hema Malini ) in the end, he happily accepted Veeru’s role. These stories behind the movie are as interesting as the movie itself.

Off late many people tried to remake it, but have severely failed. Aamir Khan tried with Mela which was a box office dud. But the most interesting remake was that of Ram Gopal Verma where Aamitabh Bachchan fulfilled his dream of playing Gabbar. The movie was the worst movie of that year. A word for those trying to remake it again- classics can never be recreated.

Sholay is a must watch for every movie lover. Sholay instantly brings up the image of fire and the fire in the movie still remains alive, as it always will.

Rohit Jain

[Image source:http://www.flickr.com/photos/calhobbes74/318291746/]