Saturday, October 24, 2015

Before Sholay: Notable Amitabh Bachchan films (1969 - 1975): Deewaar

Amitabh Bachchan's consistent superlative performances even as film quality dipped through the late seventies and all through the eighties is another story. But among those rare bunch of cinematic triumphs that Amitabh Bachchan will be remembered for, Deewar stands out, colossal.

A trade union leader is forced to go on the run, so that his family's life is not endangered. To make ends meet, his stranded wife and children rough it out on ruthless, heartless Mumbai streets. While one son Ravi, grows up to be righteous, Vijay's quiet rebellion silently simmers within, seeking outlet.

Deewaar was released on January 24, 1975, barely seven months before Sholay. Even then, 'two brothers-either side of the law-confrontation' was not a new theme to Hindi films.Notably, Mother India (1957) and Ganga Jamuna (1961) had similar main plots.The former gave the mother centre stage, the latter focused on fate making a dacoit vs police officer standoff between siblings.

Intense, memorable drama
What makes Deewaar a compelling watch, 40 years on, is its urban landscape of inequality, unemployment, poverty, dissatisfaction and greed for power.That lopsided landscape still rots our cities, more than ever. Salim-Javed are in top form here. Their studied yet entertaining dialogues still stand the test of time. 

Amitabh Bachchan as Vijay is the mapped face of an endless generation, for whom money is the ultimate push to buy happiness, if only in vain. Shashi Kapoor as Ravi is as relevant in his principled, straight path. But we fall for Vijay, oh so easily. His turbulence to not make peace with the past, to constantly conflict it with the present, echoes deep within. For all the bravado, Vijay is a vulnerable caged bird, in dire need of solace and love. 

The female roles still feel modern-day, especially Parveen Babi's independent woman. To a mitigated extent, Neetu Singh's carefree girl is cool too. Nirupa Roy's mother of all mothers, represents a timeless moral, rooted core. An iconic Hindi film classic you can't miss

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sholay Specials: The 2015 Zee Classic Sholay TV Ad

As much as Sholay repeatedly, untiringly features in popular Indian media till date, the Zee Classic TV channel ad was still a surprise. Energy tonic, vitamin capsule and magically revitalizing tea came to my mind during the initial snatches. Anything to do with Sholay seemed least likely. You may read about the channel's ad campaign here.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

SHOLAY Vintage Posters

Lead actors Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan are almost unrecognizable in these vintage hand-painted posters of SHOLAY.  

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Sholay 2D & Sholay 3D: Set for Historical March 2015 Release in Pakistan

If all goes well, Sholay fans in Pakistan will finally get to see the film as it is best experienced - on the 70mm screen. Nadeem Mandviwalla of Mandviwalla Entertainment, a leading Pakistani distributor and exhibitor, plans to release the film in 2D and 3D. The expected release date is March 20, 2015. 

The film will have a limited release at select theaters. Mandviwalla described Sholay with terms such as 'unique' and 'timeless classic'."The magic of watching this movie in theaters is awesome," he added. 

As press reports suggest, most Pakistanis have seen pirated versions of the movie, none has had the fortune of viewing Sholay in a theater. For sheer fun and entertainment, we do hope the fans get their share of cinema. 

We may not be singing yeh dosti yet, but surely you can't grudge Sholay to come between us, would you? Awaiting more news on the historical release.