Saw Sholay for the umpteenth time recently, and like most films which are known for directorial and technical brilliance, I think Sholay is completely overrated in the latter aspect. Though I really like the film, I can say with complete candour that the following elements could easily have been avoided:
- Basanti. Not only was Hema Malini at her irritating best before Himesh Reshammiya took over that title, the character itself could have been avoided altogether. To give her some credibility, three lengthy songs and at least 20 unnecessary scenes had to be pushed in somehow.
- The long chases on horseback. The Gabbar aagey-Thakur peechhe- Thakur aagey- Gabbar peechhe sequences over hilly terrain to the accompaniment of some really kickass violins that sounded like squirrels being tickled hard, was not really what the doctor ordered.
- Most of the dialogues. Case in point: Saanp ko haathon se nahin maara jaata, pairon se kuchla jaata hai.
- Thakur kicking the crap out of Gabbar at the end. I mean, who does that? It's Gabbar, for chrissakes, not some retard football waiting for a good kick to the solar plexus. Also, Thakur was wearing a kurta two sizes too small.
Ah, but some elements were there for no other reason than to remain in my mind forever. Helen, for example. Close to her forties by then, (0kay, 36 years exactly), the woman is sexy enough to turn even a straight woman completely on and remain on for about two hours later. Oh, those swaying hips and that light spring all over the dance floor, as Gabbar openly leers at her. Watching her Mehbooba Mehbooba act for about the 100th time in my life, I just wondered what it exactly was about Helen that was 100% seductive and 0% unobscene all at the same time, and how it is that for all our Fuckiras, there is not a single woman who can do a sexy number with the same fire and appeal as Helen aunty.
And oh, Jaya Bhaduri...
Sholay could have been technically stronger, and in some places, the script begs for a complete rewrite. But you still end up liking it. There's plenty of scope to poke fun at many points, especially when you have witty parents such as mine who like the movie but who can reduce it to nothing with a few choice comments...but you take back a lot from a film that made over $ 60 million after release and which still runs to packed houses anywhere. And Gabbar Singh has lots to do with it.