Thursday, September 19, 2013

Sholay Moments: Who will take Basanti Home?

A major dilemma in Sholay's final moments and certainly an awkward one. Who the hell will take Basanti home? Veeru or Jai? They could have left it to the horse too. Basanti was an expert in riding the tanga, so surely, surely, surely she could ride back to Ramgarh on horseback. Was it about chivalry then? What were Veeru and Jai afraid of? That Gabbar's pack would catch up with Basanti and hold her at ransom? 

The decision is finally made by Jai, when a machine gun bullet finally catches up with a Hindi film hero, right on the back. Even as Jai jumps to safety, we must understand that neither Veeru or Basanti have seen the wound. It is a moment of great sacrifice and we can only watch when Jai tosses the fatal coin and thus seals his fate. 

Amrish Puri in Mr. India

Bullets and Heroes (Before Rajnikanth) 
I could go on and on about the bullet that first gets Jai. There are very few Hindi film heroes who have been felled by enemy fire post Sholay, all through the trashy eighties and redundant nineties. If either Amrish Puri, Ranjit, Gulshan Grover or Prem Chopra finally did get to the gun, there was always a sister, mother, evil brother gone good, vamp turned pure woman, or former lover (lesser paid heroine) who would dive in lightning speed to save the hero. Then bloody and dying, they would make their final speeches, if needed bring the hero and heroine's hands together and then pass away in a twist of head on cosy denim hero lap. 

Sholay and Spoofs
Not a long time ago, when MTV and V used to be music channels with a few laughs lined up in between (Quick Gun Murugan, The Liftman, etc) there were some funny spoofs done on Sholay. One tickling series, shows how Jai steals Basanti from Veeru, even as the latter is haplessly bonded by friendship. Hence in the reenactment of the final scenes, Jai tricks Veeru to stay back by the toss of the coin and thus makes away with Basanti. If Sholay were to be remade as an epic story of betrayal, Jai would have made a bigger name as a villain and even Gabbar would have roared in disgust, "Dikkar hai!" So much for alternatives.    

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