‘Sholay’ is history!

MUMBAI: There was a time when the trend was to convert old black-and-white classics into colour format and re-release them. The trend did not last for obvious reasons. Converting normal films into 3D started in the US while in India doing so with Sholay will prove to be the ultimate test for Hindi films since it is a trendsetter - box office hit and a cult. If it works, it will open the floodgates of more such attempts and if it does not, it will put paid to all such aspirations. The original was written off during its initial few weeks of its release as a major failure but, finally, its technically better 70mm/stereophonic version turned the trend in its favour to make it what it became, a legend. Will this additional technical enhancement reactivate its box office account?

To refresh the memories on the story front, Sholay (1975) finds its roots in the all time classic, Akira Kurosawa’s Japanese film, Seven Samurai (1954), which was later adapted in Hollywood as The Magnificent Seven (1960). A farming village in Mexico hires seven gunmen from the US to protect them from a bunch of 40 bandits who raid them every year to take away their farm product. In Sholay, Sanjeev Kumar, an ex-policeman hires two petty goons, Dharmendra and AmitabhBachchan, known for their valour to save his villagers from a similar exploitation by the gang of Gabbar Singh, played by Amjad Khan. Though his first major break and his entry happening almost 75 minutes into the film, his character became a cult figure.

The film is an old fashioned three-and-a-half-hour-long one since in those days less than three hours made people feel cheated. And the film justifies its duration by giving many side actors of the time memorable roles and lines. Among them were Asrani (Angrezon ke zamane ka jailor), Mak Mohan (Sambha), AK Hangal (the blind Imaam of the village mosque), even Hema Malini’s tonga-pulling mare, Dhanno! The writers, Salim and Javed, who made the story/script writers respectable in the film industry, specialised in penning memorable dialogue and that is the reason that even though the film’s music track was not found to be popular and its albums were not in demand, the music company, Polydor India, minted on the release of the film’s dialogue tracks on LPs and cassettes.

If slotted, Sholay would fall in the category of dacoit film. Yet it was much different from other dacoit films, blending the past and contemporary movies of that era. The one memorable dacoit film before Sholay was a few years earlier, in 1971 in Mera Gaon Mera Desh followed by Khote Sikkay in 1974; the trend came to an end since no one could better Sholay and also because Sholay stayed in theatres for five long years. While these were all make-believe dacoit films, the real one came around in 1994, Bandit Queen

How can one review a film made over 38 years ago and had tomes written about it?

As for this 3D version, it has been very economical with 3D scenes and not gone overboard. The 3D resolution is such that you may easily watch it without 3D glasses but the main 3D scenes would be missed; the few that the film has are not worth missing.

The opening response in the initial shows has not shown much enthusiasm by moviegoers and, if the trend continues through the weekend, this will be the epitaph for the legend of Sholay.

Producer: G P Sippy.

Director: Ramesh Sippy.

Cast: : Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, HemaMalini, Jaya Bhaduri, Amjad Khan, SatyenKappu, AK Hangal, Sachin, Jagdeep, Leela Mishra, Asrani, Keshto Mukherjee, Mak Mohan, VijuKhote, Iftekhar, in spl appearance Helen and Jalal Agha.

Disaster in making

Mr Joe B Carvalho collects a bunch of small time actors with a reputation for having done good comedy films once upon a time and thinks it has the formula! How about getting a scriptwriter with a sense of comedy, humour, repartees and how about a director who shares these traits too? The so called comic actors can do precious little without content. The imagination is so scarce, that in this film based in Bangaluru, all the characters happen to be Punjabi!

The film has no story as such so to narrate it is a task but, to put it in nutshell, like many such attempts it is about mistaken identities and a career loser, Arshad Warsi, who plays a detective. Now, how many times have we seen a fumbling, bumbling, detective before? Remembering Pink Panther at this moment will be sacrilege (though the poster design has certainly stolen from there).

Warsi, a detective, is handed a case by Shakti Kapoor, who wants to stop his daughter from marrying a cook with whom she has run away. On the other hand, Snehal Dabi, an Idi Amin caricature, has fallen in love with Geeta Basra while she loves some diamond merchant. So being Idi Amin-like, he gives out a supari (contract) on her beau to Carlos aka Javed Jaffery; may the real legendary international assassin Carlos rest in peace!

The comedy as well as the humour is just about nonexistent in this film. Casting is totally awry. The film credits four people for lyrics but not a single song makes sense (and they’re out of sync too). Arshad, Soha, Javed as well as the others are ineffective.

Mr Joe B Karvalho is a disaster waiting to happen soon as opens on its first Friday.

Producer: Bholaram Malviya, Shital Malviya.

Director: Samir Tewari.

Cast: : Arshad Warsi, Soha Ali Khan, Jaaved Jaaferi, Vijay Raaz, Shakti Kapoor, Vrajesh Hirjee, Geeta Basra, Karishma Kotak, Ranjeet, Himani Shivpuri, Manoj Joshi, Snehal Dabi, Chitra Shenoy.

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