Amitabh Bachchan talks about the Bollywood blockbuster that completes 40 years today
On August 15, Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay completes 40 years. It’s been a long, long journey since and Amitabh Bachchan is game to answering questions on the film that’s widely regarded as one of the most successful films of Indian cinema of all time.
Forty years of Sholay... initial thoughts on the impact the film had?
I never expected it to be what it did turn out to be...
How did you come on board the film?
Salim-Javed had worked with me in Zanjeer and they recommended me for Sholay. I also pleaded with Dharam (Dharmendra, who played the other lead in Sholay) to put in a compassionate word for me.
Sadly, the two of you did only two other films together: Chupke Chupke and Ram Balram.
Yes... but it’s not as though we did not want to. We did a few guest appearances together, after that.
You also worked with Sanjeev Kumar and went to do many memorable films with him. What was it like working with him in Sholay?
A joy as always. A superior talent and a most likeable colleague!!
Did you and your Sholay mates expect the villain Gabbar Singh to become so iconic?
When I heard the script, I begged Salim and Javed and later Ramesh Sippy to let me play Gabbar. That should answer your question. I knew that it would be very popular and liked. Amjad Khan and I met on the sets of Sholay, and remained dear friends till his passing.
Ramesh Sippy and you did another film, Shakti. But Sholay remained the benchmark in Mr Sippy’s career. Would it be correct to say a film like Sholay becomes a hard act to repeat for all involved, specially the director?
Sholay became a benchmark. But that aside, each film has its own USP. Sholay had its own, as did Shakti. Each project is looked at differently. I would like to believe that each project for a maker is the equivalent of giving birth to their child. How could one child be different from another in affection, care and concern?
Finally, how would you define the enduring glory of Sholay?
‘The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind...’ That 40 years since its release you still want to do an interview on it!
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