Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ramesh Sippy|
|Produced by||G.P. Sippy|
|Music by||R. D. Burman|
|Editing by||M. S. Shinde|
|Distributed by||Sippy Films|
|Running time||204 minutes|
Sholay (IPA: [ˈʃoːleː]; English: Embers) is a 1975 action-adventure Hindi film produced by G.P. Sippy and directed by his son Ramesh Sippy. It stars Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri and Amjad Khan. The film follows two criminals hired by a retired police officer to capture the ruthless dacoit Gabbar Singh. Sholay is considered a classic and one of the best ever Indian films. It was ranked first in the British Film Institute's 2002 poll of "Top 10 Indian Films" of all time. In 2005, the judges of the 50th annual Filmfare Awards named it the Best Film of 50 Years.
The film was shot in the rocky terrain of Ramanagara, a town in Karnataka, India, over a span of two and half years. The Indian Central Board of Film Certification mandated removal of several scenes involving violence and death; as such, Sholay was released with a length of 198 minutes. In 1990, the original director's cut of 204 minutes became available on home media. When first released, Sholay received negative critical reviews and a tepid commercial response, but favourable word-of-mouth publicity helped it to become a box office success. It broke records for continuous showings in many theatres across India, and ran for more than five years at Mumbai's Minerva theatre. By some accounts, Sholay is the highest grossing Indian film of all time, adjusted for inflation.
The film drew heavily from the conventions of Westerns, and itself was one of the defining examples of the masala genre. Scholars have noted several themes in the film, such as glorification of violence, conformation to feudal ethos, debate between social order and mobilised usurpers, homosocial bonding, and the film's role as a national allegory. The combined sales of the original soundtrack, scored by R.D.Burman, and the dialogues of the film (released separately), set new sales records. The dialogues and certain characters of the film became extremely popular, contributing to numerous cultural memes and becoming part of India's daily vernacular.
In the small village of Ramgarh, the retired policeman Thakur Baldev Singh (Sanjeev Kumar) summons to a pair of small-time thieves he had once arrested. Thakur feels that the duo—Veeru (Dharmendra) and Jai (Amitabh Bachchan)—are ideal to help him capture Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan), a dacoit wanted by the authorities for a 50,000[a] reward. Thakur tells them to surrender Gabbar to him, alive, for an additional 20,000 reward.
The two thieves thwart the dacoits sent by Gabbar to extort the villagers. Soon afterwards, Gabbar and his goons attack Ramgarh during the festival of Holi, and in a tough battle, Veeru and Jai are cornered. Thakur, although he has a gun within his reach, does not help them. Veeru and Jai fight back and Gabbar flees. The two are, however, upset at Thakur's inaction, and consider leaving the village. Thakur explains that Gabbar had killed nearly all of his family members, and cut off both his arms a few years earlier; hence why he could not use the gun. He had concealed the dismemberment by always wearing a shawl.
Living in Ramgarh, the cynical Jai and lively Veeru find themselves growing fond of the villagers. Veeru is attracted to Basanti (Hema Malini), a feisty, talkative young woman who makes her living by driving a horse-cart. Jai is drawn to Radha (Jaya Bhaduri), Thakur's reclusive, widowed daughter-in-law, who secretly returns his affections.
Skirmishes between Gabbar's gang and Jai-Veeru finally result in the capture of Veeru and Basanti by the dacoits. Jai attacks the gang, and the three are able to flee Gabbar's hideout with dacoits in pursuit. Fighting from behind a rock, Jai and Veeru nearly run out of ammunition. Veeru, unaware that Jai was wounded in the gunfight, is forced to leave for more ammunition. Meanwhile, Jai, who is continuing the gunfight singlehandedly, decides to sacrifice himself by using his last bullet to ignite dynamite sticks on a bridge from close range.
Veeru returns, and Jai dies in his arms. Enraged, Veeru attacks Gabbar's den and catches the dacoit. Veeru nearly beats Gabbar to death when Thakur appears and reminds Veeru of the promise to hand over Gabbar alive. Thakur uses his spike-soled shoes to severely injure Gabbar and destroys his hands. The police then arrive and arrest Gabbar. After Jai's funeral, Veeru leaves Ramgarh and finds Basanti waiting for him on the train. Radha is left alone again.
- Dharmendra as Veeru
- Amitabh Bachchan as Jai (Jai Dev)
- Sanjeev Kumar as Thakur Baldev Singh, usually addressed as "Thakur"
- Hema Malini as Basanti
- Jaya Bhaduri as Radha
- Amjad Khan as Gabbar Singh
- Satyen Kappu as Ramlaal, the servant of Thakur
- A.K. Hangal as Rahim Chacha, the imam in the village
- Sachin as Ahmed, son of the imam
- Jagdeep as Soorma Bhopali, a comical wood trader
- Leela Mishra as Mausi, Basanti's maternal aunt
- Asrani as the Jailor, a comical character modelled after Charlie Chaplin in The Great Dictator
- Keshto Mukherjee as Hariram, prison barber and Jailor's side-kick
- Mac Mohan as Sambha, Gabbar Singh's sidekick
- Viju Khote as Kaalia, another of Gabbar's men whom he kills in a game of Russian roulette
- Iftekhar as Inspector Khurana, Radha's Father
- Helen in a special appearance in song "Mehbooba Mehbooba"
- Jalal Agha in a special appearance in song "Mehbooba Mehbooba"
The idea for Sholay began as a four line snippet which screenwriter pair Salim-Javed told G.P. Sippy and Ramesh Sippy after two other pairs of producer/directors had rejected it. Ramesh Sippy liked the concept and hired them to develop it. The original idea of the film involved an army officer who decided to hire two ex-soldiers to avenge the murder of his family. The army officer was later changed to a policeman because Sippy felt that it would be difficult to get permission to shoot scenes depicting army activities. Salim-Javed completed the script in one month, incorporating their friends and acquaintances names and personality traits.
The film was loosely styled after Akira Kurosawa's 1954 film Seven Samurai, and drew heavily from the conventions of Westerns, especially Sergio Leone's Spaghetti Westerns such as Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), and John Sturges' film The Magnificent Seven (1960). Sholay was also influenced by the westerns of Sam Peckinpah, such as The Wild Bunch (1969) and Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973); and by George Roy Hill's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). A scene depicting an attempted train robbery was inspired by a similar scene in North West Frontier (1959); and a scene showing the massacre of Thakur's family has been compared with the massacre of McBain family in Once Upon a Time in the West. Some plot elements were borrowed from the Indian films Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1971) and Khote Sikkay (1973).
The character Gabbar Singh was modelled on a real-life dacoit of the same name who had menaced the villages around Gwalior in the 1950s. Any policeman captured by the real Gabbar Singh had his ears and nose cut off, and was released as a warning to other policemen. The character was also influenced by the villain "El Indio" (played by Gian Maria Volonté) of Sergio Leone's For A Few Dollars More (1965). Soorma Bhopali, a minor comic relief character, was based on a forest officer from Bhopal named Soorma whom actor Jagdeep had met. The real-life Soorma eventually threatened to press charges when people began referring to him as a woodcutter after viewing the film. The main characters' names, Jai and Veeru, mean "victory" and "heroism", respectively, in Hindi.
The producers considered Danny Denzongpa for the role of bandit chief Gabbar Singh, but he could not accept the role as he was committed to act in Feroz Khan's Dharmatma (1975), under production at the same time. Amjad Khan, who was the second choice, prepared himself for the part by reading the book Abhishapta Chambal, which told of the exploits of Chambal dacoits. The book was written by Taroon Kumar Bhaduri, the father of fellow cast member Jaya Bhaduri. As cast members had read the script ahead of time, many were interested in playing different parts. Pran was considered for the role of Thakur Baldev Singh, but Sippy thought Sanjeev Kumar was a better choice. Initially, Dharmendra was also interested to play the role of Thakur. He eventually gave up the role when Sippy informed him that Sanjeev Kumar would play Veeru if that happened, and would be paired with Hema Malini, who Dharmendra was trying to woo. Dharmendra knew that Kumar was also interested in Malini. Sippy wanted Shatrughan Sinha to play the part of Jai, but there were already several big stars signed, Amitabh Bachchan who was not so popular yet, lobbied hard to get the part for himself.
During the film's production, four of the leads became romantically involved. Bachchan married Bhaduri four months before filming started. This caused problems when shooting had to be postponed because Bhaduri became pregnant with their daughter Shweta. By the time of the film's release, she was pregnant with their son Abhishek Bachchan. Dharmendra had begun wooing Malini during their earlier film together Seeta Aur Geeta (1972), and used the location shoot of Sholay to further pursue her. During their romantic scenes, Dharmendra would often pay the light boys to spoil the shot, thereby ensuring many retakes, and providing more time to spend with her. The couple married five years after the film's release.
Much of Sholay was shot in the rocky terrain of Ramanagara, a town near Bangalore, Karnataka. The film-makers had to build a road from the Bangalore highway to Ramanagara for convenient access to the sets. Art director Ram Yedekar had an entire township built on the site. A prison set was constructed near Rajkamal Studio in Mumbai, also outdoors, to match the natural lighting of the on-location sets. One part of Ramanagara was for a time called "Sippy Nagar" as a tribute to the director of the film. As of 2010[update], a visit to the "Sholay rocks" (where much the film was shot) was still being offered to tourists travelling through Ramanagara.
Filming began on location on 3 October 1973, with a scene featuring Bachchan and Bhaduri. The film had a lavish production for its time (with frequent banquets and parties for the cast), took two and a half years to make, and went over budget. One reason for its high cost was that Sippy re-filmed scenes many times to get his desired effect. "Yeh Dosti", a 5-minute song sequence, took 21 days to shoot; two short scenes in which Radha lights lamps took 20 days to film because of lighting problems; and the shooting of the scene in which Gabbar kills the imam's son lasted 19 days. The train robbery sequence, shot on the Mumbai–Pune railway route near Panvel, took more than 7 weeks to complete.
Sholay was the first Indian film to have a stereophonic soundtrack and use the 70 mm widescreen format. However, since actual 70 mm cameras were expensive at the time, the film was shot on traditional 35 mm film and the 4:3 picture was subsequently converted to a 2.2:1 frame. Regarding shooting, Sippy said, "A 70mm [sic] format takes the awe of the big screen and magnifies it even more to make the picture even bigger, but since I also wanted a spread of sound we used six-track stereophonic sound and combined it with the big screen. It was definitely a differentiator." The use of 70 mm was emphasised in film posters in which the name of the film was stylised to match the CinemaScope logo. Film posters also sought to differentiate the film from those which had come before; one of them added the tagline: "The greatest star cast ever assembled – the greatest story ever told".
The director's original cut of Sholay had a different ending in which Thakur kills Gabbar, along with some additional violent scenes. Gabbar's death scene and the scene in which the imam's son is killed were cut from the film by India's Censor Board, as was the scene in which Thakur's family is massacred. The Censor Board was concerned about the violence, and that viewers may be influenced to take the law in their own hands. The censored theatrical version was the only one seen by audiences for fifteen years. The original, unedited cut of the film was released in 1990 on a British VHS. Since then, Eros International has released two versions on DVD. The director's cut of the film preserves the full frame as shot and is 204 minutes in length; the widescreen version is 198 minutes long.[b]
Koushik Banerjea, a sociologist in the London School of Economics, notes that Sholay allows for a "sympathetic construction of 'rogue' masculinity" through the likeable outlaws of Jai and Veeru. He writes that the film is an epic representation of the conflict between "established hierarchy" and "violent usurpers", in which the moral boundary between criminality and legality is gradually erased under the demand of the plot. Film scholar Wimal Dissanayake agrees that the film brought to Indian screen "a new stage in the evolving dialectic between violence and social order." Film scholar M. Madhava Prasad argues that Jai and Veeru represent a marginalised population who are realigned into mainstream as "proxy agents of an feudal hierarchy". Prasad says that, through the revenge plot and the use of Jai and Veeru's criminality towards greater good, the narrative reflects reactionary politics, and that the audience is seduced to conform to feudal order. Banerjea explains that Jai and Veeru are mercenaries, but at the same time are humane due to their emotional needs; such dualism makes them vulnerable, which is in contrast with Gabbar's sadistic, monolithic iconography.
The character of Gabbar Singh was immensely liked by the audience, despite his pervasive sadist cruelty. Dissanayake explains that audience was fascinated by the dialogues and mannerisms of the character, and the element of spectacle outdid the narrative, which was a first for Indian melodramas. He notes that the picturisation of violence in the film was glamourised and "uninhibited". He further notes that, unlike earlier melodramas in which the female body occupies the audience's attention as an object of male fetish, in Sholay, the male body becomes the centrepiece. It becomes the battleground where good and evil compete for supremacy. Dissanayake says that Sholay works at a level of national allegory: it lacks a comforting logical narrative, it shows social stability being repeatedly challenged, and it shows devaluation of human life resulting from lack of emotions – all signifying its allegorical representation of India. The narrative style that Sholay embodies, comprising violence, revenge and vigilante action, is sometimes discussed by scholars in the context of the political unrest which India was going through at the time culminating in the Emergency (rule by decree) declared by prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1975.
Dissanayeke and Sahai note that, although the film borrowed heavily from the Hollywood Western genre, particularly in its visuals, it was successfully Indianised. As an example, William van der Heide has compared a massacre scene in Sholay with a similar scene in Once Upon a Time in the West—although similar in technical style, Sholay emphasised Indian family values and melodramatic tradition, while the Western was more restrained and materialistic in its approach. Maithili Rao, writing in Encyclopedia of Hindi Cinema, notes that Sholay infused the styles of the Western genre into a "feudalistic ethos". Ted Shen of the Chicago Reader notes Sholay's "hysterical visual style" and intermittent "populist message". The cultural-critic and Islamist scholar Ziauddin Sardar, in the book The Secret Politics of Our Desires: Innocence, Culpability and Indian Popular Cinema, lampoons the film for its caricature and stereotyping of Muslim and women characters, and for what he calls mockery of innocent villager characters. Sardar explains that the two Muslim characters in the film are a buffoonish criminal (Soorma Bhopali) and an impotent victim of the bandits (the imam). Meanwhile, the sole function of one lead female character (Radha) is to suffer her fate in silence, while the other female lead (Basanti) is just a garrulous village belle—none have any significant part.
Scholars have found that Sholay has a subtext of homosocial desires. Ted Shen describes the male bonding shown in the film as bordering on camp style. Dina Holtzman, in the book Bollywood and Globalization: Indian Popular Cinema, Nation, and Diaspora, posits that the death of Jai and resultant break of bonding between the two male leads exemplifies the homosocial subtext becoming a casualty necessary for the sake of establishing and institutionalising a normative heterosexual relationship (that of Veeru and Basanti). According to Thomas Waugh, professor of Film Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality at Concordia University, the way the male leads "clutch and caress each other's hands, shoulders, head and thighs" in the picturisation of the song "Yeh Dosti", although seemingly unconscious, implies homosexual gesturing.
|Soundtrack album by R. D. Burman|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Label||Universal Music India Pvt. Ltd.
(originally Polydor Records)
R. D. Burman composed the film's music, with lyrics written by Anand Bakshi. The songs used in the film and released on the OST are listed below. Following that is a list of unused tracks and dialogues which were released later on an updated soundtrack. The soundtrack's cover image depicts an emotional scene from the film when Basanti is forced to sing and dance on broken glass under the blazing sun to save Veeru's life.
|Original Motion Picture Soundtrack|
|1.||"Title Music (Sholay)"||–||02:46|
|2.||"Yeh Dosti Hum Nahin"||Kishore Kumar and Manna Dey||05:21|
|3.||"Haa Jab Tak Hai Jaan"||Lata Mangeshkar||05:26|
|4.||"Koi Haseena"||Kishore Kumar and Hema Malini||04:00|
|5.||"Holi Ke Din"||Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar||05:42|
|6.||"Mehbooba Mehbooba"||Rahul Dev Burman||03:54|
|7.||"Yeh Dosti Hum Nahin" (sad version)||Kishore Kumar||01:49|
|Bonus tracks — Released later|
|No.||Title||Singers / Speakers||Length|
|8.||"Ke Chand Sa Koi Chehra" (Qawwali)||Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey, Bhupinder Singh, Anand Bakshi||–|
|9.||"Veeru Ki Sagai" (dialogues)||Hema Malini, Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan||–|
|10.||"Gabbar Singh" (dialogues)||Amjad Khan, Sanjeev Kumar, Dharmendra||–|
The song "Mehbooba Mehbooba" was sung by the composer Burman. He received his sole Filmfare Award nomination for playback singing for this song, which often features in Bollywood hit song compilations. The song was based on "Say You Love Me" by Greek singer Demis Roussos. "Mehbooba Mehbooba" has been extensively anthologised, remixed, and recreated. It was remixed and sung by Himesh Reshammiya (along with Asha Bhosle) in his debut film Aap Kaa Surroor (2007). Another version was created by the Kronos Quartet for their Grammy-nominated album You've Stolen My Heart, also featuring Bhosle. "Yeh Dosti" has been called the ultimate friendship anthem. It was remixed for the 2010 Malayalam film Four Friends, and in 2012 it was used to symbolise India's friendship with the United States during a visit from President Barack Obama.
Several songs from the soundtrack were included in the annual Binaca Geetmala list of top filmi songs. "Mehbooba Mehooba" was listed at No. 24 on the 1975 list, and at No. 6 on the 1976 list. "Koi Haseena" was listed at No. 30 in 1975, and No. 20 in 1976. "Yeh Dosti" was listed at No. 9 in 1976. Despite the soundtrack's success, at the time, the songs from Sholay attracted less attention than the dialogues—a rarity for Bollywood. This prompted the producers to release records with only dialogues. Taken together, the album sales totalled an unprecedented 500,000 units.
Music critic Oli Marlow reviewed the soundtrack in 2013, calling it a unique fusion of religious, folk, and classical musical, with influences from around the world. He also commented on the sound design of the film, calling it psychedelic, and saying that there was "a lot of incredible incidental music" in the film that didn't make it to the soundtrack releases. In a 1999 paper submitted to London's Symposium on Sound in Cinema, film critic Shoma A. Chatterji said, "Sholay offers a model lesson on how sound can be used to signify the terror a character evokes. Sholay is also exemplary in its use of soundmatching to jump cut to a different scene and time, without breaking the continuity of the narrative, yet, intensifying the drama."
Sholay was released on 15 August 1975, Indian Independence Day, in Mumbai. Due to lacklustre reviews and a lack of effective visual marketing tools, it saw poor financial returns in its first two weeks. From the third week, however, viewership picked up owing to positive word of mouth. During the initial slow period, the director and writer considered re-shooting some scenes so that Amitabh Bachchan's character would not die. When business picked up, they abandoned this idea. After being helped additionally by a soundtrack release containing dialogue snippets, Sholay soon became an "overnight sensation". The film was then released in other distribution zones such as Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bengal, and Hyderabad, on 11 October 1975. It became the highest grossing Bollywood film of 1975, and film ranking website Box Office India has given the film a verdict of "All Time Blockbuster".
Sholay went on to earn a still-standing record of 60 golden jubilees[c] across India, and was the first film in India to celebrate a silver jubilee[d] at over a hundred theatres. It was shown continuously at Mumbai's Minerva theatre for over five years. Sholay was the Indian film with the longest theatrical run until Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995) broke its record of 286 weeks in 2001.
Exact figures are not available on the budget and box office earnings of Sholay, but film trade websites provide estimates of its success. According to Box Office India, Sholay earned about 15 crores nett gross[e] (valued at about US$16,778,000 in 1975)[a] in India in its first run, which was many times its 3 crores (valued at about US$3,355,000 in 1975)[a] budget, earning it an "All Time Blockbuster" status. Those earnings were a record that remained unbroken for nineteen years, which is also the longest amount of time that a film has held the record. Its original gross was increased further with re-releases during the late 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s. It is often cited that after adjusting the figures for inflation, Sholay is one of the highest grossing films in the history of Indian cinema, although such figures are not known with certainty. In 2012, Box Office India gave 1.63 billion (US$28 million) as Sholay's adjusted nett gross,[e] whereas Times of India, in a 2009 report of business of Indian films, reported over 3 billion (US$52 million) as the adjusted gross.
Initial critical reviews of Sholay were negative. Among contemporary critics, K.L. Amladi of India Today called the film a "dead ember" and "a gravely flawed attempt". Filmfare said that the film was an unsuccessful mincing of Western style with Indian milieu, making it an "imitation western—neither here nor there." Others labelled it as "sound and fury signifying nothing" and a "second-rate take-off" of the 1971 film Mera Gaon Mera Desh. Trade journals and columnists initially called the film a flop. In a 1976 article in the journal Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review, author Michael Gallagher praised the technical achievement of the film, but otherwise criticised it stating, "As a spectacle it breaks new ground, but on every other level it is intolerable: formless, incoherent, superficial in human image, and a somewhat nasty piece of violence".
Over time the critical reception to Sholay greatly improved; it is now regarded as a classic, and among the greatest of Hindi language films. In a 2005 BBC review, the well-rounded characters and simple narrative of the film were commended, but the comical cameos of Asrani and Jagdeep were considered unnecessary. On the film's 35th anniversary, the Hindustan Times wrote that it was a "trailblazer in terms of camera work as well as music," and that "practically every scene, dialogue or even a small character was a highlight." In 2006, The Film Society of Lincoln Center described Sholay as "an extraordinary and utterly seamless blend of adventure, comedy, music and dance", labelling it an "indisputable classic". Chicago Review critic Ted Shen criticised the film in 2002 for "formulaic" plot and "slapdash" cinematography, and noted that the film "alternates between slapstick and melodrama". In their obituary of the producer G.P. Sippy, the New York Times said that Sholay "revolutionized Hindi filmmaking and brought true professionalism to Indian script writing".
Sholay was nominated for nine Filmfare Awards, but the only winner was M. S. Shinde, who won the award for Best Editing. The film also won three awards at the 1976 Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards (Hindi section): "Best Actor in Supporting Role" for Amjad Khan, "Best Cinematographer (Colour)" for Dwarka Divecha, and "Best Art Director" for Ram Yedekar. Sholay received a special award at the 50th Filmfare Awards in 2005 as the Best Film of 50 Years.
Sholay has received many honours. It was declared as the "Film of the Millennium" by BBC India in 1999. It topped the British Film Institute's 2002 poll of "Top 10 Indian Films" of all time. In 2004 it was voted the greatest Indian movie in a Sky Digital poll of one million Indians in Britain. It was also included in the Time Magazine's "Best of Bollywood" list in 2010.
Sholay inspired many films and pastiches, and spawned a sub-genre of films, the "Curry Western", which is a play on the term Spaghetti Western. It was an early and most definitive masala film, and a trend-setter for "multi-star" films. The film was a watershed for Bollywood's scriptwriters, who were not paid well before Sholay; after the film's success, script writing became a more respected profession.
Certain scenes and dialogues from the film earned iconic status in India, such as "Kitne aadmi the" (How many men were there?), "Jo dar gaya, samjho mar gaya" (One who is scared is dead), and "Bahut yaarana laagta hai" (Looks like you two are very close) – all dialogues of Gabbar Singh. Popular dialogues entered the populace's daily lexicon. Characters and dialogues from the film continue to be referred to and parodied in popular culture. Gabbar Singh, the sadistic villain, ushered in an era in Hindi films characterised by "seemingly omnipotent oppressors as villains", who play the pivotal role in setting up the context of the story, such as Shakal (played by Kulbhushan Kharbanda) of Shaan (1980), Mogambo (Amrish Puri) of Mr. India (1987) and Bhujang (Amrish Puri) of Tridev (1989).
The film is often credited with making Amitabh Bachchan a "superstar", two years after he became a star with Zanjeer (1973). Some of the supporting actors remained etched in public memory as the characters they played in Sholay; for example, Mac Mohan in real life continued to be referred to as "Sambha", a character who had just one line. Major and minor characters continue to be used in commercials, promos, films and sitcoms. Amjad Khan acted in many villainous roles later in his career. He also played Gabbar Singh again in the 1991 spoof Ramgarh Ke Sholay, and reprised the role in commercials. The British Film Institute in 2002 wrote that terror of Gabbar Singh "is rumoured, is still invoked by mothers to put their children to sleep". The 2012 film Gabbar Singh, named after the character, became the highest grossing Telugu film up to that point. Comedian Jagdeep, who played Soorma Bhopali in the film, attempted to use his Sholay success to create a spinoff; he directed and played the lead role in the 1988 film Soorma Bhopali. Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan had cameos in the film.
In 2004, Sholay was digitally remastered and shown again to packed theatres in India, including Mumbai's Minerva, where it had run successfully 29 years earlier. An attempt to remake Sholay, Ram Gopal Varma's film Aag (2007), starring Amitabh Bachchan as the villain, was a commercial and critical disaster. In March 2012, Shaan Uttam Singh, the grandson of producer G.P. Sippy, said that he would sponsor a conversion of the film to 3D, and release it in August 2012; however it remains unreleased as of May 2013. Because of television and home media, Sholay is widely available and still popular. Twenty years after its release, Sholay was first shown on the Indian DD National television channel, where it drew the highest ratings ever for a film broadcast. Video game producer Mobile2win released the "Sholay Ramgarh Express" game for mobile phones in 2004, along with other Sholay themed content such as wallpapers, video clips, and ringtones.
Sholay has been the subject of two books and many articles. Wimal Dissanayake and Malti Sahai's Sholay, A Cultural Reading (1992) attempts a comprehensive scholarly study that sets the film within the broader history of popular cinema in India. Anupama Chopra's Sholay: The Making of a Classic (2001) provides an inside look at the film's production based on interviews with the director, stars, and crew members.
Sholay has been labeled by Chopra as the gold standard in Indian cinema, a reference point for audiences and trade analysts. Over the years, it has reached a mythic stature in popular culture, and has been called the greatest Hindi film of all time. It belongs to only a small collection of films, including Kismet (1943), Mother India (1957), Mughal-e-Azam (1960) and Hum Aapke Hain Koun..! (1994), which are repeatedly watched throughout India and are viewed as definitive Hindi films with cultural significance. The effect of Sholay in Indian cinema was summarised by Anupama Chopra as "no longer just a film, [but] an event". The noted director Shekhar Kapur stated that "there has never been a more defining film on the Indian screen. Indian film history can be divided into Sholay BC and Sholay AD".
- The exchange rate in 1975 was 8.94 Indian rupees () per 1 US dollar (US$).
- The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) notes three running times of Sholay. The version that was submitted in film format to BBFC had a running time of 198 minutes. A video version of this had a running time of 188 minutes. BBFC notes that "When a film is transferred to video the running time will be shorter by approximately 4% due to the differing number of frames per second. This does not mean that the video version has been cut or re-edited." The director's cut was 204 minutes long.
- A golden jubilee means that a film has completed 50 consecutive weeks of showing in a single theatre.
- A silver jubilee means that a film has completed 25 consecutive weeks of showing in a single theatre.
- According to the website "Box Office India", film tickets are subject to "entertainment tax" in India, and this tax is added to the ticket price at the box office window of theatres. The amount of this tax is variable among states. "Nett gross figures are always after this tax has been deducted while gross figures are before this tax has been deducted." Although since 2003 the entertainment tax rate has significantly decreased, as of 2010, gross earnings of a film can be 30–35% higher than nett gross, depending on the states where the film is released.
- "Sholay (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
- Statistical Abstract of the United States 1977, p. 917.
- Banerjee & Srivastava 1988, pp. 166–169.
- Chopra 2000, pp. 22–28.
- Pandya, Haresh (27 December 2007). "G. P. Sippy, Indian Filmmaker Whose Sholay Was a Bollywood Hit, Dies at 93". New York Times. Retrieved 23 February 2011.
- Raheja, Dinesh (9 August 2009). "Why Sholay is a cult classic". Rediff.com. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
- "Bollywood continues to lift from Hollywood scripts". Sify. 22 June 2009. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
- Varma 2010, pp. 159–160.
- Heide 2002, p. 52.
- Khan 1981, pp. 88–89, 98.
- Banerjea 2005, p. 183.
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