Sholay, the legendary Hindi film, that has gained cult status over the years, celebrates 40 Years on 15th August 2015. Even after 4 decades of its release, the film has maintained its position as one of the greatest film ever made in Bollywood, and continues to inspire generations of new movie makers and actors. It would not be wrong to say that the fan base of Sholay has increased exponentially with time.
The film is timeless, and it gives one a different experience each time one watches it. The movie was processed in 3-D, and released again in 2013, and ran to houseful movie theaters, giving the newer generations an once in a lifetime opportunity to watch the movie on silver screen again.
When the original movie released in 1975 it failed to be a major crowd puller inspite of its stellar cast consisting of Dharmendra (Who was already a superstar by then), Sanjiv Kumar (who too was a big star of the 1980s), Hema Malini, and Amitabh Bachchan (who was a new comer then, and a late addition to the original cast). 40 years later, now it is difficult to even think that Sholay’s initial innings were a failure. The makers even decided on editing the climax of the film to something that would be more widely accepted by the audience. But eventually the film made a turnaround in the box office after 2 days, and the rest is history.
Word of mouth publicity was one of the main reason of the immense popularity gained by Sholay. In addition to music cassettes, recordings of dialogues were sold too, and liked by one and all. Households in those days are said to be proud of their Sholay casettes. VCRs were hard to come by.
Sholay was shot over a period of two and a half years. It overshot the planned budget, but the producers carried on. The hills of Ramnagara, a sleepy town near Bangalore, became the ‘Ramgarh’ in the movie. The scenes showing Gabbar Singh’s hideout was extensively shot in the nearby hills in Ramanagara. A part of Ramnagara town was renamed Sippynagar in honour of director Ramesh Sippy.
The first scene shot in the movie was Amitabh Bachchan, handing over keys to Jaya. Jaya Bachchan was pregnant with Shweta during the filming of the movie. Amitabh Bachchan had recently revealed, he still teases his daughter Shweta, that she had acted in Sholay.
It was only after 40 retakes that the scene featuring ‘Kitne aadmi thhey’ was finalised. ‘Kitne Aadmi Thhey’ , became one of the all time favorite dialogues in Indian Cinema with people imitation the dialogue at any said occasion.
In those days, actress Helen was going through a lean patch in her career. Salim helped her out by recommending her for the dance number Mehbooba, which went on to become a cult classic. It was also Salim Khan, and Javed Akhtar, the writers of the film, who recommended Amitabh Bachchan for the role of Jai.
Jai and Veeru were named after the film’s scriptwriter Salim Khan’s friends from college — Veerandar Singh Bias and Jai Singh Rao Kalevar.
In the original ending, Gabbar was killed by Thakur (Played by Sanjeev Kumar). The Censor Board of Film Certification objected to it. The movie’s climax had to be changed and the movie shows that Gabbar is handed over to the police in the end.