Amitabh Bachchan spoke on the 40th anniversary of the Cult movie Sholay. Amitabh, who was a newcomer with very few mentionable works before Sholay was made, shared the circumstances in which he was offered the role. He also revealed several incidents which took place then.
According to Mr Bachchan , The director Sippy had someone else in his mind to be cast. The film’s writer Salim-Javed made Sippy see Zanjeer, to convince him to cast Bachchan for the role. Apparently the decision also needed a word of endorsement from Dharmendra who was a super star then.
Initially Amitabh Bachchan had requested to be offered the role of Gabbar.
Amitabh shared some of the incidents from the shooting of Sholay. A robbery film shot in Bengaluru away from the conventional locations like a desert or chambal came as a surprise for the crew. Amitabh said, ”Once our car had a breakdown and a crowd gathered around we had to flee in a three wheeler.” He admitted that he was seen more on the sets than on the van. He also added one incident , There was one action sequence during which Amjad remarked ‘What a film we are making’. Probably only he had inkling that it will achieve the kind of success it did. Rehearsals and workshops were unheard of back then, says Amitabh Bachchan.
Amitabh Bachchan said , “During the premiere, The 70 mm prints that had been planned for the premiere had got stuck in customs, and we ended up using 35 mm ones. But immediately after the premier Ramesh(Sippy) told that the 70 mm prints have arrived we watched the film again, sitting on the floor till 5 am.”
“This was the first time that a dialogue record (on cassette) was released in addition to a Music Record.”
The original climax where Amitabh’s character dies initially didn’t go well with the viewers. “We discussed what could be done with the film so that it does better. Many people felt that audience was unhappy with my death in the film. There were many sequences in Sholay which were attractive. One was widow remarriage. They felt just when the woman was getting a better life, we removed that with my death,” Mr Bachchan said.
The crew had planned to reshoot with a new climax. Even equipment had arrived but Sippy had second thoughts and asked to wait for two more days. And then there was a dramatic turnaround in the collections.
On a closing note, the great actor who is now 72, and played the role of Jai in the cult movie said that in real life Abhishek is his Veeru (Who was Jai’s best friend in Sholay – a role that was played by Dharmendra).