A Smart Gateway to India…You’ll love it!
A Smart Gateway to India…You’ll love it!
40 Facts about Sholay You Probably Didn’t Know

Sholay is arguably one of the best known Hindi films ever made. It was launched 40 years ago, way back in October of 1973. This is a film that is memorable for so many reasons – the characters, the dialogues, the scenes, the story – there are so many reasons why millions of Indians will pick Sholay as one of their favorite Hindi movies of all time. Lines such as kitne aadmi they, soja varna Gabbar aajayega, itna sannata kyon hai bhai, yeh haat mujhe de de Thakur, tumhara naam kya hai Basanti- are part of the repertoire of every comic worth their salt – they are so popular that they have become a part of everyday language.

There has been so much said and written about Sholay, that people are fairly well versed with Sholay-lore. We look at some more interesting facts about Sholay – some which you may know, some you may not:

  • The screenplay of Sholay was originally a 4 line snippet created by writers Salim-Javed.
  • Two producer/director teams rejected the idea before it found favor with Ramesh Sippy.
  • Though released on August 15 1975, Sholay was launched on 2nd October 1973.
  • It took two and a half years to make the movie and ran way over-budget.
  • It was only after Sholay that scriptwriters came to be respected and well paid in Bollywood.
  • The song “Yeh Dosti” took 21 days to shoot; the scene where Jaya’s character Radha lights a lamp took 20 days to shoot.
  • Some of the characters of Sholay were based on the writer duos’ friends and acquaintances.
  • There was actually a dacoit named Gabbar Singh in the 1950’s in the Gwalior area; he used to cut off the noses and ears of policemen.
  • The term Curry Western was born because of Sholay, the Indian version of the Spaghetti Western.
  • The film was the first to enjoy a 25-week run in over 100 cinemas
  • In Minerva theater of Mumbai, Sholay ran for over 5 years uninterrupted.
  • A digitally remastered version of the film was screened at Minerva in 2004; 29 years after its original release.
  • Thakur’s character was originally supposed to be a retired army officer. This was changed to a police officer because the filmmakers thought it would be difficult to get requisite permissions.
  • There was a real life Soorma (after which Jagdeep’s character Soorma Bhopali was named). He was a forest officer from Bhopal; an acquaintance of Jagdeep.
  • Danny Denzongpa was considered for the role of Gabbar first.
  • It took 40 retakes before the scene featuring the line “kitne aadmi they” was finalised.
  • Mac Mohan’s character, Sambha had only one line in the film, but he is still referred to as ‘Sambha’.
  • Shatrughan Sinha was initially considered for the role of Jai.
  • If Zanjeer made him a star, Sholay made Amitabh Bachchan a superstar.
  • Dharmendra wanted to play the role of Thakur initially, but settled on playing Veeru when he found out that he was to be paired with Hema Malini.
  • During the shooting of the film, Dharmendra would pay the light boys to spoil his scenes with Hema Malini so retakes would be required.
  • Amitabh Bachchan married Jaya Bhaduri 4 months before shooting for Sholay started.
  • There were shooting delays because Jaya was pregnant with Shweta during the shooting of the film.
  • Dharmendra and Hema Malini got married 5 years after the release of the film.
  • The town called Ramanagara, about 50 kms from Bangalore is still referred to as Ramgarh because Sholay was shot there.
  • The rocks around the area are still referred to as Sholay-rocks and are now a tourist attraction.
  • Sholay was film of many firsts: the first Hindi film made in 70 mm and the first to be made with stereophonic sound.
  • The original ending of Sholay showed Gabbar being killed by Thakur.
  • The Censor Board required the ending of Sholay to be re-shot and several scenes to be redone because they were thought of as extremely violent.
  • People saw only the edited version for the first 15 years after release, though in 1990 the original uncut version became available.
  • More spoofs, parodies and stand up comics have drawn from Sholay than perhaps any other Indian film.
  • In her book, Sholay: The Making of a Classic, film critic and TV personality Anupama Chopra called the film the GOLD standard in Hindi cinema.
  • In the same book Shekhar Kapur is quoted as saying “There has never been a more defining film on the Indian screen. Indian film history can be divided into Sholay BC and Sholay AD.
  • In 1999, BBC India called Sholay the Film of the Millennium. It also topped the all-time poll of the best Indian films conducted by the British Film Institute.
  • However it won only one Filmfare award – for best editing.
  • Lines from the film became such cult classics that they can still be found scrawled on the rear of trucks, autos and other representations of popular culture.
  • Sholay’s Facebook page has over a million likes.
  • We will soon be seeing Sholay in 3-D format.
  • Whereas the original film – the greatest story ever told – was made with a budget of Rs 3 crores, Rs 25 crore have already been spent on the 3-D version.
  • The 3-D Sholay trailer was launched on 7 November 2013 and Sholay 3-D will hit theaters on 3 January 2014.
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