We have all been told about the time when Gabbar Singh was synonymous with the monster under the bed, anyone fond of his or her vehicle would call it Dhanno and bestfriend duos would cheekily call themselves Jai and Veeru. This was the impact of the 1975 blockbuster Sholay, which was phenomenally successful at the box office and is still considered one of the most trendsetting films in the history of Bollywood.
The venture that brought timeless one-liners such as “Haath mujhe dae dae thakur” and “Kitne admi thae” and some unforgettable characters like Basanti, Jai and Veeru is all set to re-release in 3D in August 2012.
Shaan Uttam Singh, the grandson of GP Sippy and one of the copyright owners of Sholay told Times of India that, “We are coming up with the 3D version of Sholay. The project is almost complete and will release on August 15. The movie is a classic and people will love to watch it with the technological augmentation.”
Jayanti Lal Gada, CMD at Pen India Private Ltd (the 3D house which is part of this venture) stated, “We are planning to release the movie on August 15 because it was released on the same day in 1975. The idea of the 3D version came from copyright owners of Sholay. After 20 years of its release when the movie was first screened on DD national, it registered a Total Rating Point (TRP) of 65. That is the highest TRP of any movie showcased on Indian television,” reported the Times of India.
The film that was produced by GP Sippy and directed by Ramesh Sippy has Amitabh Bachan, Dharmendra, Hema Mailini, Amjad Khan, Sanjeev Kumar and Jaya Bachchan in the starcast. It revolved around two criminals Jai and Veeru who were hired to capture a ruthless gangster Gabbar Singh. The storyline of the film is inspired by the Hollywood flick Magnificent Seven which was in turn a copy of the Japanese classic Seven Samurai directed by the well known Japanese director Akira Kurasawa.
A slow start to a high flight
In the initial days of its release in 1975, it received a lukewarm response, so much so that the producers considered reshooting it and altering the climax and the ending of the film. Luckily, the film picked up pace after two weeks and soon became the first Indian film to complete a Silver Jubilee (continuous running of 25 weeks) at more than 100 screens in India. It was the longest running film in the history of Indian cinema until King Khan bedazzled everyone with Dilwale Dulhaniya Lae Jaynge which released in 1995.
Despite being such a brilliant film, ironically Sholay received only one Filmfare Award and that too for editing. Though the film remained under-appreciated, Bachchan — who was at the initial stage of his career — got the success he desperately needed at that point.
Sholay 3D’s performance on the box office after four decades of its original release would say a lot about whether the fan following of the film has increased or decreased with time.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 6th, 2012.