Monday, 9 June 2008

Sholay.....




This movie is an epitome of what a Blockbuster Hindi movie should be. Much has been written and said about this movie so how could I not write something about it.

I have seen "Sholay" countless number of times and know all the dialogues by-heart. My romance with this movie started very early in life. My father had a audio cassette of this movie with all the dialogues and songs. Even though I had never seen the movie it was fun just listening to the dialogues which were and are still so powerful even after more than 30 years after it was made.

I dont remember when I saw "Sholay" for the first time. I recently saw the movie again.

The beginning of the movie is so much akin to a western movie.The bandits on horse back trying to rob a 'maal gaadi'(goods train) has been shot really well.

The film was a commercial diaster when it was first released in 1975. It was a Lavish film for its time and took 2.5 years to film it. Critics were harsh in their judgement. Only word of mouth of movie goers turned the fate of the film and made it a Box office phenomenon 10 weeks after the release. It became such a hit that BBC India declared it "The film of the Millenium".

Can you imagine Shatrughan Sinha playing the role of 'Jai' instead of Amitabh and Danny playing the role of 'Gabbar Singh'. These were the original two choices.Amjad Khan was the 2nd choice. Also the film has two endings, one in which Thakur kills Gabbar and in the other Gabbar is arrested.



Lots of the things in the movie were inspired by Hollywood westerns. Inspite of that, I think it is in the league of best western movies ever made.

The characters are so well etched out and each character has a significant role which take the story ahead. For instance the characters of 'soorma Bhopali', 'Jailor' and 'Kaalia' were so minor but we still remember them especially 'Kaalia'. Many of us have mouthed out the dialogue 'Tera Kya Hoga Kaalia' in jest.



The romance of Veeru and Basanti gave the movie some light moments without diluting the essence of the movie. Sanjeev Kumar was perfect for the role of 'Thakur Baldev singh' with his dutiful servant 'Ramlal'.

What I most loved about the film was, its pace. It never slackened and kept the audiences interest. Also the chemistry between the characters 'veeru' and 'jai' was alive. With one being the short fused,impulsive one and the other being mature and loyal. Dharmendra with his smart mouth and lovable nature and Amitabh with his Sarcastic humor and sensitive nature gave new facets to the characters. Inspite of being petty criminals the audience loved them and wanted them to win against Gabbar.

The character of Gabbar was inspired by a real life dacoit by the same name. Amjad khan was so menacing as a dacoit that he really gave me the heebee jeebies. His famous dialogue 'yahan se pachaas pachaas kos door gaon mein, jab raat ko baccha rota hai....' was such a hit. The spitting and the tobacco chewing with sweat stained clothes made his character so much authentic.



Technically also, the film excelled. Sholay was the the ultimate big screen experience. It was the first indian movie in 70mm with stereophonic Sounds. Fantastic cinematography and excellent background score were an added incentive.

The movie also inspired other directors to make a similar movie. Recently RGV Tried to copy the movie (named it AAG- MISPELLED FOR Aaargh!!!) which I tried watching and gave up the moment Nisha kothari tried to act like 'Basanti'. I guess I need'nt waste my efforts in criticizing how much she sucked.

I could write on and on about how fantastic this movie is. The people who have missed watching this movie have missed a part of Indian movie history . Hats off to Ramesh sippy for his direction and Salim-Javed for the story. Kudos!! to all the actors who made the movie so alive with their acting.

Movies will come and go but their will be always one "SHOLAY".

Monday, 2 June 2008

I am a Hindu....


In the Lancaster University campus I've made a lot of new friends...some from countries I had never thought I would...mainly Pakistan. Since we share a turbulent past and a chaotic present .It was tough at first not to be judgmental towards them. As we got to know them better my prejudice waned...

We travel together, have dinners at each others place...discuss a lot of various topics..but completely avoid controversial subjects like the Kashmir issue..

One of the topic was about Hindu Religion. The only traditions of Hindu culture which they knew, was after seeing innumerable Hindi Movies and "Saas Bahu" serials.

I never knew it will become so difficult to answer the question "Who is a Hindu?" and "What is exactly Hinduism?". My husband and I both tried to explain them the concept, which I am sure was hazy at the most.Hindu Culture is so vast and old...how to encompass so many traditions in a single line...

Finally I decided to research a bit and came across these 2 definitions which I thought were the closest explanation possible.

"When we think of the Hindu religion, unlike other religions in the world, the Hindu religion does not claim any one prophet; it does not worship any two gods; it does not subscribe to any one dogma; it does not believe in any one philosophic concept; it does not follow any one set of religious rites or performances; in fact, it does not appear to satisfy the narrow traditional features of any religion of creed. It may broadly be described as a way of life and nothing more."

"Philosophically, Hinduism is an attitude of mind, and an outlook on life. But it is not only that. It is a number of cults, among which one may choose. And, whatever cult it may be, it is a cult, one of the immemorial Pagan cults, surviving in the midst of the modern world. The Hindus are one of the few modern civilised people who are openly Pagans." - Savitri Devi

Many books have been written about Hinduism but none can actually describe us Hindus.Its hard to explain why we worship god who has a head of elephant or why our gods have so many hands and so many heads.Gods who drank , cheated and still we worship them.

Basically Hindus believe that whatever the path you choose to worship, all will ultimately lead to the same god. Hinduism is more like a free spirited path towards achieving Moksha (when you are fee from the worldly concept of self) and where you achieve ultimate peace, ultimate knowlege , ultimate enlightenment and ultimate paradise. There are no compulsory rituals, no books to follow nor any method in which you can become a hindu.

To become a Hindu I guess you just need to follow any path you have chosen to reach god. You should be truthful in your beliefs. You can also adapt parts of teachings of Hinduism into your your life.

Ultimately all of us believe in a power greater than everything. All of us are trying to understand it in whatever way possible . We have just chosen different ways to do so..but ultimately its one and the same thing.