Flashback : Celebrating 40 years of Sholay

15th August 1975, became a Golden date for Indian Film Industry, the date when “Sholay” was released. The history of the Indian Film Industry cannot be complete without mentioning “Sholay”

“Sholay” a movie which not only became the biggest hit for the Indian Film Industry but also became a landmark movie since it had a lot of 40yearsSholayfirsts. It was the first 70 MM movie for Bollywood & it had a stereophonic sound which redefined the way movies were seen.

The biggest plus of the movie was the brilliant story & screenplay written by Salim-Javed which was inspired by Akiro Kurusawa’s 1954 movie “Seven Samurai”. Every character was written well and till today every character is remembered, right from Jai & Veeru to Gabbar to Sambha, who had only one sentence in the entire movie. The screenplay had a huge hangover of Hollywood westerns like “The Magnificent Seven” and “Once Upon A Time in the West”..

The impact of the screenplay was enhanced by crackling dialogues. The dialogues became so popular that later an audio cassette of the entire dialogues were launched, which were sold like hot cakes….creating a trend for dialogue cassettes for future…

Second highlight was the stellar ensemble cast comprising of Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri, Sanjeev Kumar, Amjad Khan, Asrani, Jagdeep, Sachin, A K Hangal, Keshto Mukherjee, Viju Khote, Satyen Kapoo, Leela Mishra & Mac Mohan.

A lot of musical chair happened for the casting. Danny Denzongappa was the first choice for playing Gabbar but due to date hassles as he had to leave for Afghanistan for his prior commitment of “Dharmatma” and had to excuse himself, after which a newcomer Amjad Khan was signed up for the role….who never looked back after “Sholay” ,as Amjad’s performance of Gabbar made the character an iconic villain. It is said that the original choice to play Thakur Baldev Singh was Pran, but it did not work out and later Sanjeev Kumar was signed up to play Thakur, a much older role for Sanjeev Kumar’s age at that time. Dharmendra was keen to play Thakur but settled for Veeru since he was paired opposite Hema Malini, whom he was wooing that time. Shatrughan Sinha was the original choice to play Jai, but Amitabh Bachchan who was not really a big star that time convinced the Sippy’s through the writers Salim-Javed and bagged the role.

G. P. Sippy the producer went all out to fulfill his son Ramesh Sippy’s dream into a blockbuster and was made with a budget of Rs. 30 million. All the action sequences were elaborately shot. The train robbery sequence took 7 weeks to be shot.

Ramesh Sippy had to re-shoot the climax, as per the original climax Thakur kills Gabbar, but the censors thought that the climax was too violent and hence Ramesh had to change the climax.

“Sholay” was panned by the critics and it was written off. Due to the negative feedback and lack of enough visual marketing “Sholay” was a flop in the first 2 weeks and after positive word of mouth, it picked up from the third week. After the third week it was no looking back for “Sholay”, it celebrated Golden Jubilees in 60 theatres across India, a record which still stands undefeated. It also celebrated Silver Jubilee in 100 theatres across India. Minerva Theater in Mumbai ran “Sholay” for 5 years, making it the longest running movie till “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge” broke that record.

“Sholay” will always be remembered as the landmark movie which re-defined Bollywood. Even after 40 years the movie still creates an impact which was evident when it was re-released in 3D format on 3rd Jan’14, it was appreciated as it was in 1975….

“Sholay” will be remembered and appreciated by all generations…

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