Sholay [English: Embers] is an Indian film directed by Ramesh Sippy. It is the biggest hit in the history of Bollywood, Indias Hindi film industry. Released on 15 August 1975, it stars Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri and Amjad Khan. The movie, shot in the rocky terrain of Ramanagara, Karnataka, is the story of two petty criminals hired to capture a ruthless dacoit by the name of Gabbar Singh.
Sholay is the highest grossing film of all time in Indian cinema. The movie has earned Rs 768,81,00,000, equivalent to US$ 160 million, after adjusting for inflation. When first released, the film was declared a commercial disaster. Word of mouth convinced movie-goers to give the film a chance and soon it became a box-office phenomenon. It ran for 286 weeks straight [more than five years] in one Mumbai theatre, the Minerva. Sholay racked up a still-standing record of 60 golden jubilees [50 consecutive weeks] across India and doubled its original gross over reruns during the late 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. Sholay was the first film in the history of Indian cinema to celebrate a silver jubilee [25 weeks] at over a hundred theaters across India.
In 1999 BBC India declared it the "Film of the Millennium"; Indiatimes movies ranks the movie amongst the Top 25 Must See Bollywood Films. The same year, the judges of the 50th annual Filmfare Awards awarded it with a special award called Filmfare Best Film of 50 Years.
thumb, Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar and Amjad Khan.
The small village of Ramgarh is home to ex-policeman Thakur Baldev Singh [Sanjeev Kumar]. The movie begins with Thakur summoning an old colleague and requesting him to track down a pair of small-time thieves he once apprehended in the line of duty. Though the two petty criminals Veeru [Dharmendra] and Jai [Amitabh Bachchan] are notorious, Thakur feels that they would be the ideal men to help him end the tyranny of Gabbar Singh [Amjad Khan] - an infamous dacoit [bandit] wanted by the authorities for a Rs 50,000 reward. After scenes showing how the three fought together during a train robbery attempt, and how the criminals often get in and out of jail, Veeru and Jai are found and brought to Ramgarh. They are told by Thakur that they are to bring Gabbar to him alive for Rs 20,000, plus the Rs 50,000 reward.
Later, three of Gabbars enforcers arrive in Ramgarh to collect supplies from the defenseless villagers. This time, however, they go back empty-handed, due to Veeru and Jais intervention. The villagers show their gratitude by hailing their new heroes.
In Gabbars camp, the tyrant interrogates the three men he sent to Ramgarh about why they were defeated by only two men. His psychotic nature is shown when he subjects his men to a twisted version of Russian Roulette, but eventually shoots the three men dead.
Gabbars attacks Ramgarh on Holi, and in a tough battle, Veeru and Jai meet their match and are held at gunpoint. With his two recruits facing death, Thakur has a chance to throw a gun to Veeru. Instead of helping, Thakur simply stands stationary. With quick thinking, Veeru and Jai manage to save their lives. They then state their intentions to walk away from Ramgarh, leaving the villagers to defend themselves, due to Thakurs cowardice. Before they can, Thakur tells them the real reason of why he wants Gabbar and why he could not help them.
Some time ago, Thakur had caught Gabbar and had him imprisoned only for the dacoit to escape and plot an evil revenge against him. Gabbar made his way to Thakurs home and killed his two sons, daughter, elder daughter-in-law and his only grandson. The only person in the family to survive this massacre was Thakurs younger daughter-in-law, Radha [Jaya Bhaduri]. Thakur tracked down Gabbar, but this time the tyrant held the upper hand thanks to his gang, and cut off both of Thakurs arms. Thakur had hidden this disability from Veeru and Jai, but now it was clear why he could not physically help them.
Living in Ramgarh, the cynical young Jai and lively Veeru find themselves growing fond of the villagers, especially two girls. Veeru is attracted to Basanti [Hema Malini], a feisty, talkative young woman who makes her living driving a horse-cart. However, Basantis aunt, thanks to Jais meddling, is reluctant to let Veeru marry her niece. Only after Veeru drunkenly swears that he will commit suicide by jumping off a water tower does she agree to let him marry Basanti. Jai is drawn to Radha, the Thakurs reclusive widowed daughter-in-law, who very subtly returns his affections. Thakurs servant, Ramlaal, tells of when Radha used to be full of life and color until the day Gabbar killed her husband. After discussing it with Radhas father, Thakur agrees that she can marry Jai.
When a young boy is killed while trying to leave town, Veeru and Jai fight back and send a message to Gabbar by killing four of his men. Gabbar, angered by this, swears death on Jai, Veeru, Thakur, and all of Ramgarh.
The battle approaches its climax when Basanti and Veeru are captured and Jai follows. Veeru and Basanti escape while Jai holds back the dacoits from a distance with a rifle. Once they are safe, Jai slowly draws back and heads for his friends, only to be wounded grievously by a bullet as he is running away. Jai is reunited with Veeru and Basanti and they realize they are running out of ammunition. As Veeru is unaware of Jais wound, Jai orders him to go back to the village where he can take Basanti and then return with some ammunition.
Jai, slowly dying and with only a few bullets, manages to fend off advances by the bandits, and takes out most of Gabbars men. Veeru returns to find Jai dying and sadly talks with him before he dies in his arms. Some of the villagers rush to the scene, including Radha, who once again must endure the anguish of losing someone.
Veeru becomes hell-bent on revenge and goes after Gabbar. He catches Gabbar and beats him up badly, when Thakur appears and reminds him of the promise to bring Gabbar to him alive. Thakur reveals his spike-soled shoes, made to make Gabbar beg for a quick death. Gabbar is kicked around by Thakur but is saved in the nick of time by the police, who tell the Thakur that Gabbar must be arrested and dealt with by the law. As Gabbar is taken away, Thakur is denied vengeance, but knows that Ramgarh is free once again.
In the alternate ending to the film, Gabbar actually dies as he is kicked into a spike that is protruding from the posts where Thakurs arms were cut off. Thakur then falls to his knees and is comforted by Veeru. Thakur then begins to cry which he did not do even when his family was killed.
Jais funeral [cremation] takes place as Veeru stands all alone in front of the pyre. In the distance, Radha watches on through a window.
With nothing more for him in Ramgarh, Veeru leaves on a train. But as he looks up, he sees that he is not alone. Basanti has also boarded the train and both she and Veeru leave Ramgarh together.
Sholay began as a four line idea that Salim-Javed pitched to Ramesh Sippy. Sippy liked the concept and hired them to develop it. The original idea was simple. An army officer decides to hire two ex-soldiers to avenge the murder of his family. The officer was later changed to a policeman as Sippy felt it would be too difficult to get permission to film from the army. They completed the script in only one month, borrowing many character names and personalities from their friends and acquaintances.
Sippy at first wanted Shatrughan Sinha to play the part of Jai, but Dharmendra convinced the producers that Amitabh Bachchan would be the right choice. The producers wanted Danny Denzongpa to play the bandit chief, but he was committed to Feroz Khans Dharmatma. Amjad Khan was a second choice. Khan prepared to play the bandit chief Gabbar Singh by reading a book titled Abhishapth Chambal, which told of the exploits of Chambal dacoits. The book was written by Taroon Bhaduri, the father of Jaya Bhaduri.
The movie drew heavily from the conventions of Western films, especially Sergio Leones Spaghetti Westerns and John Sturges The Magnificent Seven. Sholays extensive use of slow-motion in shoot-outs was influenced by the westerns of Sam Peckinpah, films such as The Wild Bunch  and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid . Some plot elements were also borrowed from the films Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Khote Sikkay, Madhumati and the Hollywood film Garden of Eden.
Gabbar Singh was modeled on a real-life dacoit of the same name who menaced the villages around Gwalior in the 1950s. He terrorized the local police. Any policeman captured by the real Gabbar Singh had his ears and nose cut off, and was then released as an object lesson to other policemen.
During the films production, four of the leads became romantically involved. Bachchan married Jaya Bhaduri four months before filming started. This caused problems when shooting had to be postponed because Jaya became pregnant with her daughter Shweta Bachchan. Dharmendra had begun wooing Hema Malini during their earlier film Seeta Aur Geeta and used the location shoot of Sholay to further pursue her. During their romantic scenes, Dharmendra would pay the light boys to spoil the shot, thereby ensuring many retakes. The couple eventually married in 1980, five years after the films release.
The film was a lavish production for its time. It took two and a half years to make, and went Rs. 300,000 over budget. One reason for its high cost was that Ramesh Sippy re-filmed scenes many times to get his desired effect. The Yeh dosti sequence took 21 days to shoot while two short scenes where Radha is lighting lamps took 20 days due to lighting problems. Another shoot for the scene in which Gabbar kills the son of the Imam lasted 19 days. The scene was later cut from the film by the Censor Board as was the scene in which Thakurs family is killed.
Much of the film is set in the rocky terrain of Ramanagaram, a village near Bangalore, Karnataka. The filmmakers had to build a road from the Bangalore highway to Ramanagaram for convenient access to the sets. One part of Ramanagaram town was renamed "Sippynagar" after the director of the movie. Even to this day, a visit to the "Sholay rocks" [where the movie was shot] is offered to tourists traveling through Ramanagaram [on the road between Bangalore and Mysore].
It was the first Indian movie to have a stereophonic soundtrack, and to be presented in the 70 mm widescreen format.
R. D. Burman, who composed the music for the film, was one of the most sought after composers in 1975, when the film was released. However, out of the twelve soundtracks he composed that year, Khushboo and Aandhi were critical successes and Deewar and Khel Khel Mein mild commercial hits. No other Burman film soundtrack that year attained the resounding critical and commercial success of Sholay.
The lyrics were given by Anand Bakshi. The songs picturized in the film were the following:
| style="background-color:#FFD700"|| #
|| style="background-color:#FFD700"|| Song
|| style="background-color:#FFD700"|| Singer[s]
|| style="background-color:#FFD700"|| Duration
|| "Jab Tak Hai Jaan"
|| Lata Mangeshkar
|| "Koi Haseena"
|| Kishore Kumar and Hema Malini
|| "Holi Ke Din"
|| Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar
|| "Yeh Dosti"
|| Kishore Kumar and Manna Dey
|| "Mehbooba Mehbooba"
|| Rahul Dev Burman
|| "Haan Jab Tak Hai Jaan"
|| Lata Mangeshkar
A qawwali, Aa Shuru Hota Hai Phir, was also recorded, but it was never picturized or released.
However, at the time, the songs from Sholay attracted less attention than the dialogues — a rarity for Bollywood. This prompted the producers to release audio-cassettes with only dialogues.
Another aspect of the soundtrack that was widely appreciated and has gone through a number of re-releases were the instrumental scores. The title track, which has a particular emphasis on acoustic guitar and brass sections is still well anthologized and is an example of Burmans foray into fusing Indian sounds with Latin and Afro-Cuban elements. Burman also created some disparate segments including a sparse track to augment the ferocity of Gabbar Singh amidst the desolate location and one to highlight the Thakurs shock at seeing his family exterminated.
Among the songs, two versions of Yeh Dosti were released, an extended version which was cited as the "happy version" and a shorter one called the "sad version". For many years this device became a mainstay of Hindi film soundtracks, with the sad concise version of the "happy song" played during the sad scenes.
The song Mehbooba Mehbooba, performed and composed by Burman, became very popular. This song has been highly anthologized, remixed, and recreated. A notable recent version is one created by the Kronos Quartet for their Grammy-nominated album Youve stolen my heart.
Sholay was released on 15 August 1975 in Mumbai. On 11 October 1975, the film was released in several other Indian film distribution districts. It earned Rs. 1,62,41,00,000 equivalent to US$ 88 million, after adjusting for inflation and remains the highest grossing movie of all-time in the history of Indian Cinema.
At Mumbais Minerva theater, it was shown in regular shows for three continuous years, and then in matinee shows for two more years. Even in the 240th week of its release, Sholay was packing the theaters. Sholay grossed about 35 crore rupees in its first run, a record that remained unbroken for the next nineteen years. Sholay ran for more than five years.
When it was first released, Sholay won only one Filmfare award: film editor M. S. Shinde won for Best Editing. He had edited 300,000 feet of film into 20,000 feet of theatrical release. After the censors mandated cuts, the film was 18,000 feet and ran for 3 hours and 20 minutes. Nevertheless, at the 50th Filmfare Awards, it received the award as the Best Film of 50 Years. Ramesh Sippy was there to receive the trophy. It was declared "Film of the Millennium" by BBC India and internet polls in 1999.[http://sholay.movies.deepthi.com/] and in 2002 topped the British Film Institutes poll of "Top 10 Indian Films" of all time. In 2006, Sholay was voted best film in Iran.
The critic K.L. Amladi of India Today called the film a "dead ember" and added, "Thematically, its a gravely flawed attempt." Filmfare said that the film was an unsuccessful mincing of Western style with Indian milieu, making it a "...imitation western—neither here nor there." Trade journals and columnists initially called the expensive film a flop. Over time the critical reception of Sholay has improved and Sholay has been regarded among the greatest Bollywood films.
Alternate directors cut
An alternate directors cut of Sholay was released where Gabbar Singh dies at the end. Other different features of this film are this is not in wide-screen. Also there are some additional scenes with some different dialogues. The reason for the alternate ending is because "The film ran into problems with Indian Censors who claimed their rules about people taking the law into their own hands and not being punished for it was not permitted and may corrupt naive viewers; for this reason the ending of the film had to be re-shot for a U Rating."
The film was originally shot in full frame 35mm, but was cropped and duped to 70mm for widescreen release. The so-called "directors cut" of the film preserves the full frame as shot, and is 204 minutes in length. Eros-released DVDs were produced with both the "directors cut" and a cropped widescreen version that is also 204 minutes in length. The DVD packaging does not always state clearly which version is inside.
Bengal film journalists association awards
* Best Actor in Supporting Role [Hindi] - Amjad Khan [http://www.bfjaawards.com/legacy/pastwin/197639.htm]
*Best Cinematographer [Colour] - Dwarka Divecha
* Best Art Director - Ram Yadekar
Sholay has inspired many imitations, in cinema and television, and has spawned a whole sub-genre of films, the "Curry Western", which is a play on the term Spaghetti Western. None of them has had the success of the original film. Sholay is also considered the most important of the early Masala films, which popularized this genre in India.
The latest attempt to trade on Sholays fame was Ram Gopal Varmas film Aag , which was pulled from theaters after two weeks. It is now considered one of the biggest flops in Bollywoods history. Aag was originally also called Sholay and was apparently meant to be a tribute to and "in the spirit of Sholay." The name was changed to Aag after legal action was taken by the makers of the original Sholay. Amitabh Bachchan, who had one of the lead roles in the original Sholay plays the villain, Babban Singh, in Aag.
The stars of the film appeared in other films; they did not seem to be limited by their roles in Sholay. Amitabh Bachchan went on to become one of the biggest stars in the Indian film industry. However, some of the supporting actors never escaped the shadow of their hit film.
Amjad Khan, who played the bandit Gabbar Singh played many more villainous roles afterwards. He played Gabbar Singh again in the 1991 spoof Ramgarh Ke Sholay. He also reprised the role in a commercial for biscuits.
Comedian Jagdeep, who played Soorma Bhopali in the film, also attempted to capitalize on his Sholay success; he directed and played the lead role in the 1988 film Soorma Bhopali; Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan also played cameos. The film was not a success.
Due to television, VCRs, and DVDs, Sholay is widely available and still extremely popular. In the year 1996, Sholay was first shown on the Indian government-run Doordarshan television channel; streets were virtually empty during the show.
Source : Sholay Wiki Page