Thursday, April 1, 2010

Kitne Aadmi The...

No need to even ask you to make a guess of which movie this dialogue belongs to. Every Indian (until and unless you have a language problem for Hindi) has seen this movie- Sholay. Some of you might have just seen the movie but most of us are in love with Sholay, including myself.

Recently read the book, Sholay- the making of a classic by Anupama Chopra. She did not tell the story of Sholay in this book, rather tells about what all went in to make this epic. Sholay in a way was a movie which changed the way movies were made in Bollywood. The white dhoti-black kurta-black teeka clad dakus were transformed into paint-shirt wearing ugly daku, sand-dunes were replaced by big boulders as the adda of these dakus, 70 mm print was introduced for the first time, was the first film in the history of Indian cinema to celebrate a silver jubilee (25 weeks) at over a hundred theaters across India, first time even the writers- Salim-Javed, got their name printed along-with the star cast of the film, first Hindi (and possibly Indian) movie to have a stereophonic soundtrack... Such a huge star-cast, stunt directors from foreign, huge budget, the size of the crew and set... everything was BIG.

Every dialogue, the background music, the characters, the songs, they are immortalized. Gabbar, Thakur, Jai-Veeru, Radha, Basanti, even the mare- Dhanno, Imam saheb, Ahmed, Soorma Bhopali, Angrezo ke zamane ka jailor, Ramlal, Sambha, Kaalia, Mausi are still remembered, irrespective of the fact that many of them appear on the screen very briefly. Like, Soorma Bhopali had just one scene. Sambha, surprisingly, had just one line to say in the entire movie- "poore pachaas hazar" (when Gabbar enquires the prize money police had announced for catching him). The cassettes of Dialogues of the movie were sold off more than the cassettes of songs only. Not many people know that Danny was chosen for the role of Gabbar prior to Amjad Khan. Due to problems with his dates, Amjad stepped into his shoes and since the beginning till the release of the film, everyone, baring few, had doubts about him. But ironically, Gabbar's popularity surpassed every other character of the movie.

For every small scene, lot of thought process went in. A whole new village had been set up for Ramgarh, at Ramanagaram, near Bangalore. Amitabh-Jaya got married, Jaya delivered their first child during the making of the movie and was again pregnant with Abhishek by the time film was ready for release. How Sanjeev Kumar was famous for his drinking habits, how Dharmendra-Hema affair kicked off and Dharmendra used to bribe the spot boys to make any careless mistake for his romantic scenes with Hema so that there would be more re-takes, that Sachin had done more than 60 films by that time as compared to few films done by Amitabh and that Amitabh had started considering him his senior (eventhough he was much younger than Amitabh)....


1) The director's original choice for Jaidev (Jai) too was different. Shatrughan Sinha was almost  signed, when Dharmendra convinced the producers that Amitabh would be the right choice.

2) The producers wanted Danny Denzongpa to play the bandit chief, but he was committed to Feroz Khan's "Dharmatma". Amjad Khan was a second choice.

3) The scene in which Thakur's family is killed was cut by the censor board; the murder of a small child was deemed too horrific to show. Moreover, there was no child underneath that white sheet, since the child artist had his yearly exams at school and could not afford to miss them. Thats the reason that his sheet was not blown away by the wind.

4) The film showcased two real life romances. Amitabh married Jaya Bhaduri, who played the widowed daughter-in-law in 1973, 4 months before the filming started. Dharmendra married Hema Malini, his second marriage, in 1980, five years after the release of the film.

5) Amjad Khan prepared to play a bandit chief by reading a book titled Abhishapth Chambal, which told of the exploits of Chambal dacoits. The book was written by Taroon Bhaduri, who happened to be the father of Jaya Bhaduri.

6) The screenwriters, Salim-Javed, named Veeru and Jai after a couple of Salim's college friends.

7) The original ending of the movie had to be changed because of Censor Board, after much reluctance. In the original ending, Thakur crushes Gabbar after hitting him repeatedly with his nailed shoes and then breaks down and cries. But since it was "too voilent" and that the police (Thakur was a retired Police personnel) cannot take law in their hands.

8) Due to the length of the movie, a dhabba scene and Soorma Bhopali's scene were cut in few of the territories. But later Soorma Bhopali's scene was added back.

9) When the film released on 15th August, 1975, it was declared a commercial flop by the critics and the audience  but with the word-of-mouth, the movie clicked and became the highest grossing movie of all-time in the history of Indian Cinema. At Mumbai's Minerva theater, it was shown in regular shows for three continuous years, and then in matinee shows for two more years.

For the fans of Sholay and its insights, go ahead and read this book. I now want to again watch the movie...


  1. "Sholay" actually changed the way movies were made in was truly a Bollywood's best film ever...hey, by the way is there any discription of "Aag"-Remake of sholay by RGV @ book ??? ;-)

  2. Not the Aag, but yes, Anupama Chopra did interview RGV since he was very much inspired by this movie (n eventually created a blockbuster FLOP). I wonder, why AB senior agreed to do that film ???!!!!!


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