On its 40th anniversary, we enlighten you with 40 facts about the films that you should know...
On this Independence Day, Bollywood will have another great reason apart from the anniversary of getting freedom - India's most iconic and oft-referenced film, Sholay, will be completing 40 glorious years!
Just as the West swear by the legacy of Star Wars, we live and feed on the legend of Sholay. This Ramesh Sippy action drama, starring Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Hema Malini, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Sachin, AK Hangal, Jagdeep, Asrani and Amjad Khan, had broken so many records, that it took almost two decades for Bollywood to offer some sort of challege to his film. While films like PK, Dhoom 3 Bajrangi Bhaijaan claim to the highest grossing films of all time, none of them can claim to say they have celebrated 60 golden jubilees as Sholay!
So if you are really a die-hard fan of the film, here are 10 facts that you SHOULD know about the film:
1. Danny Denzongpa was the first choice for the iconic role for Gabbar Singh. He couldn't give the dates as he had allotted them for Feroz Khan's Dharmatma, which also turned out to be a blockbuster though not in the same
2. The idea of roping in the then unknown Amjad Khan for Gabbar Singh was fiercely fought against by Javed Akhtar, the movie's screen-playwright, as he found Amjad's voice to be too weak! Amjad Khan never appeared in any of the films made on Salim-Javed screenplays, after Sholay!
3. Amitabh Bachchan was keen to play Gabbar's role, but was turned down. Years later, he got his wish fulfilled in the movie's remake, Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag, with disastrous consequences!
4. Dharmendra wanted to play Thakur's role, but later backed down when he learnt Sanjeev Kumar would take over the role of Veeru and win Basanti, played by Hema Malini.
5. Before the shoot of Sholay resumed, Sanjeev Kumar proposed marriage to Hema Malini, even though she was in love with Dharmendra. She felt so awkward over this, that she refrained from being in the same frame with Sanjeev Kumar even when they were in the same scene! Sanjeev Kumar never married till his untimely death in 1985.
6. Sachin, who played the ill-fated Ahmed, was offered a refrigerator as salary.
7. Sachin was the only cast member from the original film, apart from Amitabh Bachchan, to be roped in for Ram Gopal Varma's reviled take of Sholay. He played this version's Gabbar's little brother, a new character. In both the films, his character didn't have a happy ending!
8. Amitabh Bachchan has a brush with death when a bullet from Dharmendra's gun nearly missed him.
9. The famous train robbery sequence was shot near Panvel for over 7 weeks.
10. It actually takes one hour and seven minutes in the film for Gabbar to make his first appearance.
11. Sholay was inspired from many western classics, especially Once Upon A Time A West, The Magnificent Seven and For A Few Dollars More.
12. When Sholay was released, it was declared a flop due the lack of buzz. It took a lot of word-of-mouth publicity for the movie to draw in crowds and become the biggest blockbuster that it is known today.
13. Sholay was the first film to celebrate Silver Jubilee at over 100 centres. It also has a still-standing record of 60 Golden Jubilees across the country! Try beating that, PK and Bajrangi Bhaijaan!
14. Shatrughan Sinha was the the first choice to play Jai, as he was then a bigger star than Amitabh Bachchan. He had previously played a dacoit in Mera Gaon Mera Desh.
15. Jaya Bachchan (then Bhaduri) was pregnant during the shoot with Shweta. By the time the movie released, she was pregnant with Abhishek.
16. Sholay was the first Indian film to have a stereophonic soundtrack and to use the 70 mm widescreen format.
17. Sachin's death scene was shot, but the censors felt it was too violent as the character was just a teenager. So the makers had to do with the aftermath! You can check out the deleted scene below!
18. There is also an alternative climax where Thakur kills Gabbar, which was dropped in favour of Gabbar getting apprehended by the police, after getting beaten black and blue!
19. The scene where Jaya Bachchan lights the lamp actually took 20 days to shoot due to lighting issues.
20.The film took over two and a half years to get completed, and went over-budget, due to the lavish food given the stars and the crew and extensive reshoots!
21. Sanjeev Kumar's character's name, Thakur Baldev Singh, was also the name of Salim Khan's father-in-law!
22. The iconic Helen item song Mehbooba Mehbooba was inspired from Demis Roussos' 1974 hit Say You Love Me.
23. The film was shot at Ramnagaram, near Bangalore, due to the presence of the granite hills that served as the perfect hideout for Gabbar's gang. After the release of the film, the villagers named one of the hamlets as Sippynagar, to honour the director Ramesh Sippy.
24. Basanti's horse chase sequence took over 12 days to shoot.
25. Most of the film posters had the tagline - The greatest star cast ever assembled – the greatest story ever told!
26. Sholay didn't get rave reviews at the time of release. Prominent among its harshest critics were India Today and Filmfare, who felt the film was too long and similar to other dacoit films like Mera Gaon Mera Desh and Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai! Even Amjad khan, the film's breakout star, was singled out for being a 'weak' villain! This proves that even critics can be wrong sometimes!
27. Sholay won only one Filmfare award that year, though it was nominated for 9, that too for Best Editing. One of the film's main criticisms was its length!
28. Incidentally, Filmfare itself declared Gabbar Singh as the Most Iconic Villain in the history of Indian cinema!
29. Amjad Khan returned to his Gabbar Singh role for the 1991 spoof film Ramgarh Ke Sholay, that had the lookalikes of Amitabh Bachchan, Govinda, Dev Anand and Anil Kapoor in the lead. Jagdeep made a spin-off named after his own character in the film, Soorman Bhopali. Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra played cameo in this.
30. The first scene shot for the movie was when Jai hands keys over to Radha, after she catches Jai-Veeru attempting to burgle Thakur's safe. The last scene shot was Thakur meeting Jai-Veeru after their release to recruit them.
31. Some scholars feel that the friendship between Jai and Veeru had homosexual undertones, especially in the way they caress and clutch on to each other, during the song Yeh Dosti.
32. Even the minor characters, like Kaalia and Sambha, played by Viju Khote and Mac Mohan, became mini-superstars after the film's release. There was also a film announced that was named Sambha! Amitabh Bachchan also later did a movie called Kaalia!
33. The first scene Amjad Khan shot for the film was his intro scene itself, and his dialogue Kitne Aadmi The? is said to haven taken 40 reshoots!
34. Jai's coin flipping trick was inspired from Gary Cooper's Garden of Evil, where the heroes used card to decide who would leave and who would stay back!
35. Sholay was first premiered at Mumbai, landmark theatre Minerva.
36. There was a qawwali, Ke Chand Sa Koi Chehra, sung by Bhupendra, Kishore Kumar and Manna Dey, that was dropped from the final film due to length issues. You can listen to the song here:
37. It's always thought Gabbar's sidekick, Sambha, had just one line Poore pachaas haazar. But he actually has another line just before the death of Sachin's character, where Sambha and his friends play cards and he says, Chal be Junga, chidi ki rani hai!
38. Amitabh Bachchan was just on way his to superstardom, with Zanjeer releasing during the shoot of Sholay. Hence, his name was always listed after Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar and Hema Malini in the credits.
39. Rang De Basanti actor Sharman Joshi's father, Arvind Joshi, played a minor role in Sholay, as one of Thakur's sons who was killed by Gabbar. Arvind Joshi was a veteran in Gujarati theatre.
40. Sholay was declared the 'Film of the Millennium' by BBC India in 1999. It was also listed in the CNN-IBN's list of the "100 greatest Indian films of all time. In IMDB, it has a ranking of 8.6!
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