Sunday, August 04, 2013

A film that packs everything into its three-plus hours

INDIA is home to everything, the saying goes, with tragedy, joy, love and hate and all things beyond and in between.
After watching it yesterday, I think I can say the same thing about the 1975 BOLLYWOOD classic, "SHOLAY."
The epic contains drama, comedy, action, romance and singing and dancing -- so entertaining a mixture that the film's three-plus hours seem to fly past.
A retired police officer (played by Sanjeev Kumar) hires a pair of crooks he knows to be brave (played by Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan) to protect his village and capture the bandit leader (memorably played by Amjad Khan) who has been terrorizing the populace.
The film's contemporary and subsequent success has been extraordinary, as related by Anupama Chopra in the book "'Sholay,' the Making of a Classic:"
"'Sholay' ran for five years, and changed the course of Indian cinema... The film changed lives, transformed careers, and remains the box office gold standard, a reference point for both the Indian film-going audience and the film industry."
Like another extraordinarily successful film, "Star Wars," this Indian classic has left a legacy of obsession for some.
Chopra writes:
"'Sholay' connoisseurs speak casually of seeing the film 50, 60, even 70 times. Dialogue has been memorized. Also the unique background music: The true 'Sholay' buff can preempt all the sound effects."
I've just seen "Sholay" once, but with the DVD now sitting on my shelf, I plan to increase that number in the months and years to come.


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