For someone who ‘heard’ Sholay for about 5 years before actually ‘watching’ it as a child, ‘Sholay’ isn’t just a movie; it’s an integral part of my growing up years. I vividly remember the cover of this ‘double-cassette’ pack of ‘Dialogues from Sholay’, which my father bought.
The two cassettes played on loop, literally as and when I got to operate the music system – A Pioneer car stereo fixed inside a wooden box with ‘shutters’ to close it when not in use, and mind you, we didn’t own any car – it was one of the popular types of music system those days (late 80s). Each and every dialogue, background score (including the rust-ridden swing’s sound that terrified me every time I played the cassette), were entrenched in memory as if they were part of me.
As a matter of fact, there was a ban imposed upon me of not watching Amitabh Bachchan films (Had watched Kaalia and started mouthing its dialogues in the middle of school lecture and the teacher wrote in the school diary with ‘red’ ink to my parents: Please come and meet me and STOP SHOWING AMITABH BACHCHAN FILMS TO YOUR SON).
Once the ban was lifted, I got to watch Sholay on rented VCR. I devoured it as if it were a buffet of forbidden fruits, and ended up watching Sholay thrice over till the wee hours. The anonymous voice-overs of characters like Ramlaal, Kaalia, Saambha, Soorma Bhopali, Angrezo ke zamaane ke Jailor, Mausi entrenched in my memory finally found faces.
Watching Sholay in 3D with parents was like revisiting childhood all over again. My parents went into nostalgia-mode of their courting years, recalling how they’d sneak out on a bicycle to watch this blockbuster, sharing tales of standing in serpentine queue for hours together just for the tickets.
Barring few special effects of 3D technology (courtesy: filmmaker Ketan Mehta’s company Maya Digital) adds some tadka to few scenes, especially the action sequences and make for an interesting viewing. Nevertheless, after a point of time, the 3D seems redundant in a film of such caliber. After all, Sholay is a classic in every sense. The audience still applaud at the ‘Kitne aadmi they?’ scene, and the Soorma Bhopali and Angrezo ke zamaane ke Jailor, Chakki peessing scenes still leave people in a fit of laughter, despite being on a familiar territory, perhaps due to nostalgia factor or sheer joy of rediscovering this gem of a film.
Despite being hailed as ‘The greatest movie ever made’, Sholay didn’t even win Filmfare Award, except for one Award to M. S. Shinde for editing. It later bagged the Best Film in 50 years by Filmfare in 2005, perhaps as an apology. The film originally had an ending where Thakur kills Gabbar, which seemed justified, but the director was forced to end it on a politically correct note. The alternate ending is available on original DVD. The film marked the trend of including writer’s name in film posters, thanks to insistence of writer duo Salim-Javed.
Few youngsters sitting next to me wondered how a village can have an overhead tank when they have no electricity. ‘How did they transport water up there?” while the other asked, “Hey how did the villager ‘Dholia’s character suddenly become ‘Shankar’ in the second half of the film?” As a Sholay fanatic, I desperately wanted to yell a loud ‘Soowar ke bachho!” thanks Gabbar for doing that. For those who haven’t yet watched (un-bailable crime) Sholay or re-watched (bailable crime), here’s a poem to convince you:
Hum angrezo ke zamaane ke movie-buff hain,
Hum filmein sirf entertainment ke liye nahin dekhte,
Yunki hamein befizool baat karne ki aadat to hai nahin,
Fir bhi keh dete hain, Sholay se bada blockbuster paida nahin hua,
Ab iske 3 Dimension mein 3 zindagi aur 3 maut band hain,
Jo darr gaya, samjho ghar gaya, Dhikkaar hai! Haaaaathoooo!
Sholay ke jadoo se tumhein sirf ek cheez bacha sakta hai: Khud Sholay.
1975 ki aisi epic film ki iska jahan poster dekha, sab line lagaana shuru
Is storee me emotion hai, drrraamaa hai, trrragedy hai,
Tum ek baar dekhoge, to aur chaar baar dekhoge,
Box Office ka loha garam hain, maar do hathoda!
Aadhe idhar jaao, aadhe udhar jaao, aur baaki mere saath aao!
Tumne suna meine kya kaha…?