There was never something like Sholay before it took the nation by storm on its release in 1975. Till date, people remember it’s storyline, characters and more importantly dialogues. “Kitne aadmi thay”, “ arre oh sambha”, “tera kya hoga Kalia”, “Sardar aapka namak khaya hai” and I can recall and mention at least 20 more.
One of the unique things about Sholay is that it’s characters overshadowed its stars. It’s the only film where people remember Thakur Baldev Singh, Veeru, Jai, Basanti, Radha, Gabbar, Sambha, Kalia etc rather than the actors playing them viz. Sanjeev Kumar, Dharmendra, Amitabh, Hema, Jaya, Amjad, Mac Mohan, Viju Khote in that order. In fact, while if you mention stars names Sholay may not be the first name to come to mind. Amitabh will bring to mind Zanjeer and Deewar, Dharmendra will resonate with Pratiggya or Satyakam, Hema with Seeta aur Geeta, Jaya with Guddi aur Koshish. However, when you mention the names of lesser stars or also rans, the name Sholay immediately comes to mind. In fact, Amjad, a hugely talented actor, who went on to giving some memorable performances before his premature death, made Gabbar immortal and strangely remained a one film wonder. As a matter of fact, several others like Mac Mohan, Viju Khote, Asrani, Jagdeep, Jalal Agha etc as also their character names viz. Sambha, Kalia, Soorma Bhopali etc remain synonymous with Sholay till today.
I bow to the combined talents and efforts of Salim Javed, Ramesh Sippy, R D Burman, Dwarka Divecha, Waman Guru for creating this once in lifetime masterpiece that made each character and especially minor characters or also rans actors superstars.
This blog is dedicated to Viju Khote, who died could of days ago. RIP Viju Khote.