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What makes Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay a classic?

Sholay

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What makes Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay a classic?

Sholay, directed by Ramesh Sippy and a film that claims to have assembled the Greatest Star-cast of All Time, completes 43 years today. Film buffs and a huge chunk of the audiences regard this potpourri of Western influence and Indian sentimentality as the Greatest Hindi Film of All Time.

Sholay

But what makes Sholay the Greatest Hindi Film of All Time? Let’s try to figure out:-

1. The Cast

Sholay

The film’s poster declares it’s the Greatest Cast ever assembled in Hindi Cinema. It boasted off stars like Sanjeev Kumar, Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Jaya Bachchan and Amitabh Bachchan. With every actor’s stardom at the pinnacle back in the era of 70’s, how wouldn’t the film have been a BLOCKBUSTER?

2. The Story

Sholay

Seeking inspiration from films like Seven Samurai and Once Upon A Time In The West, Ramesh Sippy turned this  vendetta-story into a hardcore commercial potboiler that had all the ingredients one needs to make one, albeit making it without a title song and the character of a mother. We may scoff at the narrative in 2018, when cinema has climbed leaps and bounds, but back in the 70’s, this was the kind of brazen entertainment audiences reveled in.

3. The Dialogues 

Sholay

The infallible Salim-Javed, the go-to dialogue writers back in the 70’s, knew the pulse of the audiences like the back of their hands. If you can make cult dialogues out of quotidian questions, you’re nothing less than a wizard. Kitne Aadmi The?, Holi Kab Hai?, Kitna Inaam Rakha Hai Sarkar Hum Par?, Tera Kya Hoga Kaalia?, can never be forgotten! And we refuse to believe nobody has tried to replicate the nuances of that iconic villainous character and mouth those dialogues in his trademark style.

4. The Characters

Sholay

Gabbar Singh, Sambha, Thakur Baldev Singh, Jai, Veeru, Basanti, Kaalia, we could go on till tomorrow. Each character left an indelible impression on all of us. Every trait has been crammed by the audiences and we could mouth their lines even in our sleep.

5. The Music

RD Burman

R.D. Burman was a genius, almost incapable of striking a false note. Sholay’s music is both historic and afresh. Evergreen would be the right word to describe the soundtrack of this iconic film and we could easily revisit any track even today, when most of us have gradually shifted towards the West mentally and emotionally.

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