Sholay – A Classic Blockbuster

When Sholay was released in 1975, it was not warmly received by the critics, touted as a spaghetti western. Boasting of a star cast that, even in those days, was pretty much at the top, the film went on to become an iconic classic, a blockbuster and made its mark in the annals of Indian film history. The film ran for more than five years at a single theatre and celebrated 60 golden jubilees, a feat not replicated since that time.

The Sholay Story

The story, which borrowed heavily from popular Hollywood westerns, revolves around two jailbirds, played by Veeru (Dharmendra) and Jai (Amitabh Bachhan), freed by a police officer, Thakur Baldev Singh (Sanjeev Kumar), who wants to take revenge on a dacoit, Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan), for wiping out his entire family. The dacoit and his gang terrorise the villagers at intervals.

For the first time a Hindi film depicted a sadistic villain who took pleasure in others’ pain pitted against convicts (not heroes) who were in it for the money. This made for an interesting conflict, giving scope to action scenes against a rocky terrain. The romantic element was provided by Basanti (Hema Malini) and Radha (Jaya Bhaduri), the Thakur’s sole surviving family member, widow of his son.

Entertainment Galore

The songs of the film became chart-busters and, what was even more amazing, the dialogue was sold on audio tapes (cassettes) and played on radio waves. With foot tapping numbers, dances including one by Hema Malini and another by Helen and a mandatory festival song shot against Holi, the film provided entertainment to all, the front benchers as well as the film aficionados.

Despite its success, the film only won the Best Editing Filmfare award. Later, it went on to win awards like the best film in 50 years, given by Filmfare on its 50th award night and also was called the film of the millennium by the BBC in 1999.

The songs of the film became chart-busters and, what was even more amazing, the dialogue was sold on audio tapes (cassettes) and played on radio waves. With foot tapping numbers, dances including one by Hema Malini and another by Helen and a mandatory festival song shot against Holi, the film provided entertainment to all, the front benchers as well as the film aficionados.

Despite its success, the film only won the Best Editing Filmfare award. Later, it went on to win awards like the best film in 50 years, given by Filmfare on its 50th award night and also was called the film of the millennium by the BBC in 1999.

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