Last weekend, I finally got around to watching ‘Sholay‘ the cult classic and one of Hindi cinema‘s most famous movies ever. (Apparently it ran in theaters for five consecutive years upon release?) Watching the movie not only renewed my respect for the industry’s older films (which in my opinion were SO much better than the masala stuff we see these days), but it also allowed me to finally make the connection between several random Hindi expressions that I have always heard but never been able to understand or figure out where they came from.
For example, “Arey oh Samba!” was something I heard lots during my childhood but I thought people were actually saying “Arey oh Sambar!” which just made me think of south Indian food.
“Itna sanaata kyun hai bhai?” – this one I learned from my Tampa friends. It is also when I learned what ‘sannaata’ means.
“Kutte kaminey, mein tera khoon pee jaoonga!” – I guess in Hollywood, this line would make Dharmendra a vampire?
The “kitne aadmi thay?” scene was a little anti-climatic for me because I was expecting it to be much longer with more of an emphasis on one of the most famous dialogues in Hindi cinema history.
Veeru (Dharmendra)’s scene on top of the water tower was my absolute FAVORITE. I completely understand why this particular scene has been quoted so much in the industry. Dharmendra is HILARIOUS. I laughed till my sides hurt! Hands down, my favorite part is when he goes “…chakki peesing and peesing and peesing…”
Gabbar Singh was less scary than I had anticipated. I felt that his villianousness (yes I know that’s not a word) was not particularly disturbing. His deeds definitely were, and he was a good actor, but somehow I’m more afraid of Kancha from Agneepath. There were times when I actually got a little bit of a feminine vibe from him.
Basanti (Hema Malini) was a magnificent character, and a fantastic addition to the whole plot. She was hilarious, cute, and beautiful. Her acting was phenomenal. You rarely see acting like this anymore. Yes we have the Vidya Balan movies like ‘Kahaani’ or Rani Mukherjee movies like ‘Black’, where you do get to see some quality performances, but if you look at the comedies of our day and age and compare it to those from the past, there really is no contest. It just feels like the writers spent a substantial amount of time writing good, witty scripts, and actresses worked hard to perfect their acting back in the day, whereas today, we get recycled dialogues with mindless humor and actresses that just flaunt their assets but can’t act (or dance) worth a dime.
Jai (Amitabh Bachachan) was a treat to watch. Not only because his acting was flawless, but also because I got to watch him during his prime. He is still a wonderful actor today, but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing him act youthful and naive in this much younger role. I didn’t care too much for his death at the end to be honest – it should have at least been Gabbar Singh that shot him point blank instead of a stray bullet resulting in his death – but I guess I can make my peace with it.
Jaya Bachachan’s character was also very pivotal and interesting in the plot. Yes, she is shown as the widow of Thakur’s son which is sad in itself, but she is also Jai’s love interest, an aspect that makes you sympathize with her even more, especially when she ends up losing Jai too.
About Thakur, I won’t say much. Just that he acted admirably and that his big angry eyes were really creepy. I also found it a little hard to believe that he had no arms under there because you could almost see them in a bunch of scenes, but I won’t be too picky about that. It was, after all, a pretty old movie. Good acting though. Great, in fact.
Overall, an awesome movie, and completely deserving of cult status. Now I can finally understand all of the references made to Sholay and actually be in the loop! For example, the scene in Jhoom Barabar Jhoom where Abhishek Bachchan and Bobby Deol are sitting in Booby’s scooter with Bobby driving and Abhishek in the sidecar – that alludes to the “Yeh Dosti Hum Nahi Chodenge” song from Sholay! And the whole dialogue between Abhishek and John in Dostana about whether or not Gabbar was gay? And that scene in Hum Aapke Hain Kaun where Anupam Kher stands on top of a chair with a bottle of water and re-enacts Veeru’s ‘drunk water tower scene’? So awesome!
I know I’m probably the last person on earth to watch/review this movie, but I’m glad I finally got around to doing it. Three hours well spent.
- Bollywood: 10 Lessons Learned (pruthabhise.wordpress.com)
- Bollywood, the Heart of India’s Film Industry (geography.answers.com)
- Angry young man’s lighter side: Amitabh and comedy (konviktion.wordpress.com)
- Top 10 Indian cinema soundtracks (guardian.co.uk)
- 10 classics of Indian cinema, decade by decade (guardian.co.uk)