Television

Zee Classic to air cult favourite ‘Sholay’ for the first time

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MUMBAI: Even after 40 years of its release, the characters and dialogues of Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay are etched into our memories. Be it Basanti chatting away nines to the dozen but at the end claiming breathlessly, ‘Kyunke mujhe befuzool baat karne ki aadat to hai nahin’ or Gabbar Singh’s booming voice philosophizing, ‘Jo darr gaya samjho margaya’ or the sound of the swing squeaking after the dacoits have inflicted their reign of terror on the household of Thakur Baldev Singh, the movie continues to be a favourite throughout generations. Bringing alive its core proposition - ‘Woh Zamaana, Kare Deewana’ – Zee Classic brings the greatest epic ever told with the finest starcast ever assembled on Saturday, 20 June at 7:30 pm.

The movie starring Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini and Jaya Bachchan in lead roles holds a first-time record of running successfully for five years at Mumbai's Minerva theatre. Not many know that initially Dharmendra was keen to play the role of Thakur Baldev Singh, which was immortalised by Sanjeev Kumar. He agreed to play Veeru only when the director told him, if he didn’t do it, Sanjeev Kumar would get the part and Basanti, too. Since Sanjeev Kumar had just proposed marriage to Hema Malini, Dharmendra didn’t want him sharing screen space with her let alone romancing her. And as they say rest is history, he quickly took on Veeru’s role.

During the making of Sholay, four of the leads became romantically involved. While Amitabh Bachchan married Jaya Bhaduri four months before filming started, Dharmendra had begun wooing Hema Malini during their earlier film Seeta Aur Geeta and used the location of Sholay to help further his case. During their romantic scenes, he would pay the light boys to spoil the shot, thereby ensuring retakes.

Exalted more than a religious scriptures for characterisation in Bollywood, Sholay tells a story of Amitabh Bachchan (Jai) and Dharmendra (Veeru) the two outlaws hired by a traumatized police officer (Sanjeev Kumar) to avenge the brutal murder of his family by Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan), the most feared villain in Hindi film.

Everything about Sholay attained classic status and quickly entered the pop culture mainstream: the music by R.D. Burman, the dialogue by Salim-Javed and the characters, who also include garrulous female horse cart driver Basanti (Hema Malini) and the wistful widow Radha (Jaya Bhaduri). 

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