Saturday, 11 January 2014

A thing of beauty

is Jai-Veeru forever…

I watched Sholay for the first time on big screen last Saturday. I have watched Sholay several times, but on the big screen, it was my first ever watch. This post could have ended here….because this will be the most terrible and useless post you’ve read on Sholay. But then, I am neither Jai Arjun Singh nor Diptakirti Chaudhuri. (I am the little black ant and you know who they are.)
My disclaimer speech on no-expectation-from-this-post ends here.
Take-home from Sholay:

1.      Sholay is the first Hindi film I watched. KG - II. Summer vacation. Rented VCR. Rented video cassette. I watched the entire thing motionless. Love at first sight. I was a five year old and it was thirteen.
2.      I learnt a few things from the film. (When I told JD about this, he said, “What? Talking nonstop nonsense like Basanti?”) Cheap jokes apart, I will share what I learnt. I learnt dipping tobacco. Don’t freak. Read. I was mesmerised at the sight of Gabbar rubbing tobacco. If I had to name the greatest thing I learnt from Sholay, this would be the answer. I substituted it with ajwain (jowan/carom seeds). I used to take a pinch of ajwain in my palm, rub them, make a clapping sound and put the entire thing between the lower lip and the gum. I cannot remember learning anything more interesting in my entire childhood. (Joydeep says that Bengalis as a clan learnt chewing khoini after they saw this film. Pre-Sholay, consuming khaini was not at all common in Bengal)
3.      I learnt drinking tea with a ‘slurp’ sound from the saucer. That famous Socide scene. Basanti rushes to Jai shouting, “Arrey tum kaise dost ho?” In that scene, Jai drinks tea by pouring it in a saucer. I had never seen anyone doing it before watching this film. Found it super cool. I picked up the act. I used to pour water from a cup to a saucer and drink it in ishhtyle. I don’t know how that habit got undone. Ma’s smacks, am sure.
4.      I also thought “Beta so ja, nahi toh Gabbar Singh aa jayega” was the coolest thing to say for putting a child to sleep. Honestly, I would rate it much higher than lullabies and other Bengali ghum-parani mashi-pishi-sissy songs. *suddenly feeling sorry for my unborn children*.
5.      I made Baba buy a mouth organ for me. Tried playing you-know-what. Never could. When I had a Nokia 1100 phone, I had set that tune as my ring tone. And, for the first few days, each time my phone rang, I was Michael Jackson....walking on the moon.  
6.      The scene where Gabbar shoots Thakur’s grandson. Every time I watch the film, I freak out at the advent of this scene. And every time, I get relieved at the fact that they so smartly escaped the brutality. The sound of the gun gets replaced with the sound of the wheels and the whistle of the train in which Thakur arrives.  (Yes, this is one of those scenes which has the maximum impact on me).
7.      Joydeep told me that when Sholay was aired on the national television for the first time, the entire city watched it. The roads looked Bandh-stuck. All shops in their locality were closed. In the ad-break (there was almost 10 minutes advertisement break which was very uncommon in those days), he went out. He said, “For once, I thought a curfew has been declared. The roads were uncannily empty.”

Take-home from Sholay 3D:
1.                     The bullets. They almost landed on my lap. (I was actually scared)
2.                     I watched the movie 1¾ times while watching it last Saturday. The entire crowd (it was house full) uttered 75% of the dialogues before they were actually delivered. It was such fun. Initially, JD and I behaved well and refused to join the bandwagon. By the time Gabbar appeared, we were all into the dialogue-delivery-mode. You get to witness this sight in a movie hall only when the National Anthem is being played. This was the best part of watching Sholay on 3D. (There were whistles and throwing of coins on the screen. This robbed the multiplex effect and transported us to a heaven so beautiful.)
3.                     The only scene where I hoped the entire audience behaved more responsibly was “Itna sannata kyon hein bhai”. Boss, Imaam Saheb’s son has died.  It is a sad scene. Before A. K. Hangal could come up with the line, at least 30 people said it in unison (including the one I was sharing my popcorn with) and the whole theatre burst out in laughter. *face palm*  
4.            When the movie ended, he asked me, “Your reaction to the film. One word please”. I said “Maggi”.  No matter how many times you’ve had it, it is always divine. To this, he added, “Na Sholay is like Kola gachh (banana tree). You can derive something or the other from each and every part of it. The trunk, the flowers, the fruits, the leaves…..everything”. Point.
5.                  Mr. Ramesh Sippy’s interview in T2, Telegraph (9th January, 2014). I will share the question (with the answer) I loved the most.
Q: “Is there anything you wish you had done differently?”
A:  That was the toss of the coin during the time when Veeru holds Jai’s dead body and tosses the coin away when he realises that his friend had deceived him with a same-sided coin. The film was shot in stereophonic sound and the impact of the sound of the coin was such that people in the hall would look under their seats for the coin. But I felt later that the placement of that sequence wasn’t right at the time because that was the time when Jai was dying. It was a fun and frivolous moment and shouldn’t have been placed in a death sequence.”

6.           We watched Sholay together for the first time. I always thought I was the only one who cries every time she sees Jai dying. 


  1. Whoa! Sholay 3D! I don't know which hole I live in! I didnt know this!! But dont know if its playing anywhere near where I live.
    BTW You are so right! Probably Sholay is the only movie which the entire nation has watched at least once! And probably knows the dialogues by heart too! :) It's like magic!

    1. Thank you so much for reading. And welcome to my blog. Hope to see you more often.
      PS: Go watch the masterpiece on 3D. Amazing.

  2. Oh.......LOVED reading this thoroughly! Yes, the movie is epic in its own rights!! :)