Sholay 3D: Renewed vigour for an all-time fave!

Film: Sholay 3D

Cast (Voices): Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Jaya Bachchan, Amjad Khan, Leela Mishra, A.K. Hangal, Asrani, Jalal Agha, Helen, Master Alankar

Ramesh Sippy

Sholay 3D: Renewed vigour for an all-time fave!

This film is best remembered for its spectacular run at the Box-office – due of course to many positive factors.

A Splendidly Entertaining script with instantly memorable character studies by Salim-Javed, Sharply etched performances by every member of the cast, resoundingly popular music, superb direction, editing , cinematography and pacing and many more. Add to that the new fangled 3 D effect and it’s got one more reason to be supremely entertaining.
‘Sholay,’ in 3D is not going to disappoint you. The effects lend depth and contours to a legend that was beholden even in un-enticing 2D. ‘Sholay’, ever since its audience score hit unmatchable numbers, has been part of mainstream Hindi cinema folklore- a benchmark for films that came after it.
It has been watched over and over again by its numerous fans, celebrated, plagiarized, parodied (remember the pitiful Ram Gopal Verma Ki Aag?) and eulogized in many tomes.
The film is an institution in mainstream commercial filmmaking and has been discussed and revered by students of filmmaking over several decades. ‘Sholay’ was not an original in that, it borrowed liberally from the Sergio Leone Spagetti Western series for its run of events and backdrops.
But it was indigenously creative in the sense that the writers managed to populate it with characters and drama that was inherently Indian in ethos and nature, relocating it in barren earthy landscape. So it was easier for the public to identify with the characters and feel at one with the events that transpired on film.
The film also sought to humanize criminals- Jai-Veeru (Amitabh-Dharmendra), the two petty criminals who the Thakur (Sanjeev Kumar) enlists to fight his battle of vengeance in order to avenge the loss of his near and dear ones, are the main characters in the film and they also get to romance the heroines and vanquish the villain (Amjad Khan). So at a time when Hindi cinema was predominantly black or white in terms of character definition, here was a mainstream film that attempted to paint a different shade (grey) into the traditional action-adventure drama. And it did this with a fluidity that was not obvious. It’s been 38 years since the film first released and despite the passage of time, the bitter feud between upright idealistic Thakur and ominously evil Gabbar Singh still holds you riveted.
Many characters populate the film and it must have been difficult for the writers to insist that they stay with the final cut. Ramesh Sippy was convinced easily enough though, and every character that stays in the completed film retains an instinctive recall that has transcended time.
The larger than life performances and pyrrhic dialogues make it easily audience pleasing. It’s a nostalgia trip in original 2D format and is even more gratifying in 3D for its tempered ricocheting effects and sublime colours.
The colouring is not always consistent though. The action on the other hand, still looks solid and has terrific kinesis even today. The three hours and 18 odd minutes of run-time also is a little too much to take in, in this day and age of instant quick fix gratification. Dwarka Divecha’s camerawork holds-up magnificently even in the 3D hi-tech post-production age.
The 3D is of course not all enveloping because ‘Sholay’ was not made keeping 3 D in mind, so at best the effects feel superficial and piece-meal. Yet the experience is not. For a viewer who hasn’t watched this film on big screen, the experience will no doubt be infinitely entertaining.
For those who have, the 3D could be the lure for getting them into the theatres for an augmented re0run. Whatever be the case and considering the absolutely shabby competition for screen space this week, this film is sure to rake in enough moolah for the brave-hearts to dared to play against type!

Johnson Thomas

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