Released in 1975 Sholay is still considered the biggest film of all time in the history of Hindi cinema even after more than 4 decades.
Sholay is a film about friendship, love, sacrifice and revenge.
This 3h 15min film takes you through the journey of Jai and Veeru who are two best friends and each other’s family. The story starts when Thakur (a retired police officer) from a village called Ramgarh calls Jai and Veeru who are small thieves to catch the dangerous dacoit Gabbar Singh who killed nearly all of Thakur’s family members and cut off his both hands in a battle.

Although Jai and Veeru were very different from each other but sill they were always partners in crime, love and laughter and were ready to sacrifice their lives for each other. Indian cinema has not yet witnessed any film based on friendship which could pass the high parameters set by Sholay. The song Yeh Dosti hum nahi todenge is still considered the best ever song on friendship and its immensely popular among Indians of all age groups.

Along with friendship romance is also given equal importance. The love story of Veeru and Basanti is beautifully portrayed in the film and the incomplete love story of Jai and Radha leaves the audience in sorrow.

The mood of the film changes in every 10 minutes when a comedy scene suddenly converts into an intense scene and vice versa.
For example:

The joy of holy was crushed by the attack of Gabbar on the village.
The comedy scene of Veeru standing on tanki (water tank) was followed by death of Ahmed.

The main characters Jai, Veeru, Basanti, Radha, Thakur and Gabbar were not introduced in one scene or as soon as the film started but instead their characters were well incorporated in the film and as the story moved ahead each character was introduced slowly.

Its not easy to write a multi-character film where all the main characters are well written and developed by giving equal importance to each one of them. Even small characters like that of Mausi and Imaam Chacha were also given right place and importance. Characters like that of Jailor and Soorma Bhopali are still remembered because of their interesting dialogues and acting.

Villains in Hindi films have always been important but it is not easy to create an iconic character like Gabbar Singh. His dialogues like ‘ye haath mujhe dede Thakur, kitne aadmi the and jo darr gaya samjho mar gaya’, are still popular amongst people. He did some of the most unexpected things like forcing Basanti to dance, killing the whole family of Thakur to take revenge and killing his own people.

The story at many times leaves the audience with questions like “Why is Thakur always wearing a shawl?, or What happened with Radha which made her like this ?” . These questions helped to maintain the interest of the audience in the film.

Suspense is a key element in the film which helps to maintain the interest and attention of the audience. It is first created in the in the film where Thakur has captured Jai and Veeru and was taking them to jail through a goods train and in between their journey a gang of dacoits attached the train.

Contradictions are used beautifully in many scenes where one thing contradicts or cuts the other. For example:
1) The establishing scene is of a railway station where the Jailor arrives to meet Thakur, here the arrival of train marks the end of a journey or chapter which stands opposite to the fact that it is just the start of the film.
2) In the scene where villagers were doing their daily chores and suddenly the dacoits of Gabbar attacks the village. Here the contrast between peace and noise is shown nicely.
3) When Gabber killed almost everybody in Thakur’s family and the latter’s grandson was standing in front of Gabbar. The whole world of Thakur seemed to stop moving at that time but only the swing kept on moving.

Sholay is a great example of a Masala movie which does not have any limited target audience. The film was such a huge success because it connected with the hearts of audience with its relatability, dialogues and songs. The song Holi ke rang is still played across the country on the day of Holi.

The film is a nice combination of all the Navras or 9 emotions. 1)Shringar/Romance – between Veeru and Basanti and Jai and Radha), 2)Hasya ras/laughter- Veeru playing pranks with Basanti when she visited Shiv temple.

3) Karuna ras/ sorrow- The death of Jai
4) Raudra ras/ anger- Gabbar killing his own men when they were unsuccessful in killing Jai and Veeru.
5)Veera/heroism or courage- Jai and Veeru risking their lives to save villagers.
6)Bhayanaka/Terror or fear- the terror of Gabbar amongst the villagers.
7)Bhibhatsya/disgust- Cruelty of Gabbar on the villagers.
8)Adbhutha/Surprise- Veeru getting to know that the coin Jai used everytime did not had heads and tale on each side instead it just had heads on both sides.
9)Shanta/peace- when Gabbar was caught by the police and peace prevailed in the village thereafter.

By-Preeti Dalal


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