SHOLAY: the greatest story of Indian cinema

SHOLAY: the greatest story of Indian cinema

Sholay has released in 3D  format across India on the 3rd of January 2014. The Bollywood Tempest takes its readers down memory lane… Filmmaker Ketan Mehta’s company Maya Digital was responsible for converting the film into 3D format.Mehta was approached by G. P. Sippy’s grandson, Sasha Sippy in 2010 for the project. In March 2012, Shaan Uttam Singh, the grandson of producer G.P. Sippy, said that he would sponsor a conversion of the film to 3D, and release it in late 2012 this was later postponed to late 2013,[124] and eventually finalised for 3 January 2014.It took 25 crore (US$3.8 million) to convert Sholay into 3D format. Under the leadership of computer animator Frank Foster, 350 people worked to convert the film into digital 3D format for which each and every scene had to be individually restored, colour-corrected and re-composited in 3D to match the depth. New set-pieces which lend themselves to the visual experience, particularly in the said format were also included  like digital logs which scatter in the direction of the camera during the first half of the film with the trains collision with them, the gunshot scene which frees Jai and Veeru from their handcuff along with the panoramic views of Gabbar’s hideout in the caves. The theatrical trailer was unveiled by Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar, the script-writers of the film as also the release date of the film. The two leads of the original film, Bachchan and Dharmendra were also involved in promoting the re-release.

Understanding Sholay

Sholay  is a 1975 action-adventure Hindi film directed by Ramesh Sippy and produced by his father G. P. Sippy. The film follows two criminals, Veeru and Jai (played by Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan) hired by a retired police officer (Sanjeev Kumar) to capture the ruthless dacoit Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan). Hema Malini and Jaya Bhaduri also star, as Veeru and Jai’s love interests. Sholay is considered a classic and one of the best Indian films. It was ranked first in the British Film Institute’s 2002 poll of “Top 10 Indian Films” of all time. In 2005, the judges of the 50th annual Filmfare Awards named it the Best Film of 50 Years.

The film was shot in the rocky terrain of Ramanagara, in the southern state of Karnataka, over a span of two and a half years. After the Central Board of Film Certification mandated the removal of several violent scenes, Sholay was released with a length of 198 minutes. In 1990, the original director’s cut of 204 minutes became available on home media. When first released, Sholay received negative critical reviews and a tepid commercial response, but favourable word-of-mouth publicity helped it to become a box office success. It broke records for continuous showings in many theatres across India, and ran for more than five years at Mumbai’s Minerva theatre. By some accounts, Sholay is the highest grossing Indian film of all time, adjusted for inflation.
The film drew heavily from the conventions of Westerns, and is a defining example of the masala genre. Scholars have noted several themes in the film, such as glorification of violence, conformation to feudal ethos, debate between social order and mobilised usurpers, homosocial bonding, and the film’s role as a national allegory. The combined sales of the original soundtrack, scored by R. D. Burman, and the dialogues (released separately) set new sales records. The film’s dialogues and certain characters became extremely popular, contributing to numerous cultural memes and becoming part of India’s daily vernacular.


The Plot of Sholay

In the small village of Ramgarh, the retired policeman Thakur Baldev Singh (Sanjeev Kumar) summons to a pair of small-time thieves that he had once arrested. Thakur feels that the duo—Veeru (Dharmendra) and Jai (Amitabh Bachchan) would be ideal to help him capture Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan), a dacoit wanted by the authorities for a INR50,000 reward. Thakur tells them to surrender Gabbar to him, alive, for an additional INR20,000 reward.

The two thieves thwart the dacoits sent by Gabbar to extort the villagers. Soon afterwards, Gabbar and his goons attack Ramgarh during the festival of Holi, and in a tough battle, Veeru and Jai are cornered. Thakur, although he has a gun within his reach, does not help them. Veeru and Jai fight back and the bandits flee. The two are, however, upset at Thakur’s inaction, and consider leaving the village. Thakur explains that Gabbar had killed nearly all of his family members, and cut off both his arms a few years earlier; which is why he could not use the gun. He had concealed the dismemberment by always wearing a shawl.
Living in Ramgarh, the lively Veeru and cynical Jai find themselves growing fond of the villagers. Veeru is attracted to Basanti (Hema Malini), a feisty, talkative young woman who makes her living by driving a horse-cart. Jai is drawn to Radha (Jaya Bhaduri) Thakur’s reclusive, widowed daughter-in-law, who subtly returns his affections.

Skirmishes between Gabbar’s gang and Jai-Veeru finally result in the capture of Veeru and Basanti by the dacoits. Jai attacks the gang, and the three are able to flee Gabbar’s hideout with dacoits in pursuit. Fighting from behind a rock, Jai and Veeru nearly run out of ammunition. Veeru, unaware that Jai was wounded in the gunfight, is forced to leave for more ammunition. Meanwhile, Jai, who is continuing the gunfight singlehandedly, decides to sacrifice himself by using his last bullet to ignite dynamite sticks on a bridge from close range. Veeru returns, and Jai dies in his arms. Enraged, Veeru attacks Gabbar’s den and catches the dacoit. Veeru nearly beats Gabbar to death when Thakur appears and reminds Veeru of the promise to hand over Gabbar alive. Thakur uses his spike-soled shoes to severely injure Gabbar and destroy his hands. The police then arrive and arrest Gabbar. After Jai’s funeral, Veeru leaves Ramgarh and finds Basanti waiting for him on the train. Radha is left alone again.

The Cast of Sholay

  • Dharmendra as Veeru
  • Amitabh Bachchan as Jai (Jai Dev)
  • Sanjeev Kumar as Thakur Baldev Singh, usually addressed as “Thakur”
  • Hema Malini as Basanti
  • Jaya Bhaduri as Radha
  • Amjad Khan as Gabbar Singh
  • Satyen Kappu as Ramlaal, the servant of Thakur
  • A.K. Hangal as Rahim Chacha, the imam in the village
  • Sachin as Ahmed, son of the imam
  • Jagdeep as Soorma Bhopali, a comical wood trader
  • Leela Mishra as Mausi, Basanti’s maternal aunt
  • Asrani as the Jailor, a comical character modelled after Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator[3]
  • Keshto Mukherjee as Hariram, prison barber and Jailor’s side-kick
  • Mac Mohan as Sambha, Gabbar Singh’s sidekick
  • Viju Khote as Kaalia, another of Gabbar’s men whom he kills in a game of Russian roulette
  • Iftekhar as Inspector Khurana, Radha’s Father
  • Helen in a special appearance in song “Mehbooba Mehbooba”
  • Jalal Agha in a special appearance in song “Mehbooba Mehbooba”

Facts of Sholay

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