Sholay - ProductionJo darr gaya samjho margaya Gabbar Singh
Curry WesternThe film was lavishly mounted, took two and a half years to make and went over budget (nearly 3 crores). Much of the film was set among the rocky terrian of Ramnagaram, a village near Bangalore. A road was built from the Bangalore highway to Ramnagaram for the purpose. Sholay had all the elements of a Western - rugged countryside (the film was shot in the rocky landscape of Ramnagaram a small village about 30 miles from Bangalore), bandits on horseback, fierce gun fights etc. But unlike the Hollywood westerns which had moral issues as their core, Sholay like Sergei Leonne's 'Spaghetti Westerns' was strewn with corpses and brutality. In fact Sholay took film violence to new heights.
Sholay became a legend, and by far the most successful film of its time, which ran for five consecutive years in a theatre in Bombay. Often described as India's best known "curry" western, Sholay was 'patterned' on American spaghetti westerns but the addition of romance, comedy, and songs gave it the ambiance that one expects of a Hindi film. Ironically the film opened to a lukewarm response and distributors asked the director to trim the film because of its length but soon the word of mouth spread and the rest as the cliché goes is history.
LocationThe film was shot extensively in Ramnagaram near Bangalore, India. There are huge rocks of granite in this town which formed the backdrop of Gabbar Singh's hideout. As a mark of respect, the people of Ramnagaram renamed a hamlet in the town as Sippynagar after the director of the movie, Ramesh Sippy.
Heroes - those who missed out!
Shatrughan and Danny DenzongpaThe flamboyant Shatrughan Sinha was initially cast for the role of Jai, but Amitabh Bachchan convinced the producers that he was suitable for the role. Similarly, Danny Denzongpa who was initially offered the role of Gabbar Singh was busy shooting in Afghanistan for Dharmatma (1975). He could not accept the role and the reluctant second choice Amjad Khan got it. He was then almost dropped from the project because scriptwriter Javed Akhtar found his voice too weak for Gabbar Singh's role.
Thankur and VeeruInitially, Dharmendra was keen to play the role of Thakur Baldev Singh. He eventually relented when the director informed him that Sanjeev Kumar would play Veeru if that happened, and would get the heroine. Sanjeev Kumar had just then proposed marriage to Hema Malini. Dharmendra was in love with her and quickly went back to the role of Veeru.
The Story of SholayRamesh Sippy narrates a 5 part series from BBC
Part 1 Ramesh Sippy on his career
Part 2 From concept to silver screen
Part 3 The music of Sholay
Part 4 Casting Sholay
Part 5 Highs and lows of making Sholay
Interview Salim Khan, co-writer of the Sholay