Sunday, September 15, 2013

Explaining the Unexplainable: Why I Love Sholay! VOL I

I have to admit, with a heavy heart and a freelance writer's objectivity that many films of the action adventure genre are cinematically...(Sholay fans, brace for impact!) better than Sholay

Sergio Leone's spaghetti western trilogy starring Clint Eastwood - A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965) and the grand finale The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (1966) are clear inspirations for the Salim-Javed screenplay. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) builds a believable, enduring chemistry between its two bank robbing outlaws.   

Sholay wedged between these half-a-dozen films, is an unlikely contender, a dark horse claimant to cinematic glory.

The love of Monologue
So why do I love Sholay? That despite the western garb, Sholay is the quintessential Hindi commercial film. Unlike the Leone films, Sippy's characters speak a lot, monologues are a fad. Gabbar Singh has his outraged sessions, Veeru does a drunken over the top, over the water tank slurring, Soorma Bhopali has a hapless exaggerated story to tell, Basanti elaborates breezily on her career choice and finally, Imam Sahab has the most poignant of all the monologues to deliver. 

Usually a film has a single engaging cameo, Sholay has a whole motley hoard of them, all in varied shades, much like the holi song lyrics - Holi ke din dil khil jaate hai, rangon mein rang mil jaate hai..(On the day of holi, hearts bloom, colours merge in to colours...) 

The late Indian writer RK Narayan may scowl from up there when I say that just like Malgudi, Ramgarh is a place where time stands still. That even in this age of cell phones, social networking narcissism and motor vehicles (Neigh?!Say the horses), the characters in Sholay are destined to play their parts over and over again. 

So here's to Gabbar lifting two menacing swords in sheer savagery, flirtatious Veeru shooting down mangoes and a wounded Jai flinging that stick of more time!    

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