Sholay is 46: Dharmendra intentionally spoiled romantic scenes with Hema Malini, got the role of Amitabh Bachchan Jai

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It has been 46 long years that Ramesh Sippy director Sholay first released on the big screen. Over the years, the film Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Jaya Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar and Amjad Khan has achieved the coveted title of “iconic”. Sholay is considered by many to be Bollywood’s quintessential masala film, which not only entertains but engages audiences with its well-woven storyline, evergreen music, and everlasting performances.

The dialogues, written by former screenwriting partners Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar, are now etched into popular culture in golden ink. RD Burman’s music added that extra layer of zest to an already “living” script. But if you thought Sholay was a great movie watching experience, can you imagine what went into making it?

There are a lot of stories that have been told about how the casting went, how the scenes were explained to the performers, and lastly, how they were shot. Regarding the casting, it is now a recognized fact that Dharmendra helped Amitabh Bachchan secure the role of silent and brooding Jai. It was previously supposed to be written by Shatrughan Sinha. During an episode of Aap Ki Adalat in 2018, Dharmendra said, “I never talked about it, but since Amitabh started saying that I helped him get the part, I say it: Yeah, I helped him get the part. He was coming to me. But originally the role went to Shatrughan Sinha. Dharmendra added that he was then asked by Sinha about his reasons for helping Big B. To which the actor replied: “Yaar, kuch samajh nahi aata, woh pehle aaya, socha chalo bechare ko de do ( i don’t know he came to me first and thought the poor guy should have him).

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amjad khan Amjad Khan played iconic villain Gabbar Singh in Sholay. (Photo: Sippy Films)

Another interesting anecdote that Javed Akhtar and Ramesh Sippy once admitted was that everyone wanted to play Amjad Khan as Gabbar. In fact, Sippy was convinced that they had found their perfect villain in Khan when they first met. However, not everyone involved in directing Sholay was so excited about the actor’s casting, apparently because of his voice. Nonetheless, Amjad Khan continued to play the role of Gabbar in the film, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Hema Malini and Dharmendra’s romance also blossomed on the Sholay sets. Apparently, the latter would intentionally spoil his romantic scenes so that he could replay them with Hema Malini, says film critic Anupama Chopra in her book on the film, Sholay: The Making of a Classic. When Chopra finally asked filmmaker Ramesh Sippy about it, the director said he had no idea, but was happy to know that his epic film had also founded a true love story in Bollywood. .

Sholay, now known as a flagship film in the Indian cinematic landscape, was declared a flop upon its release. However, things changed several weeks after its release. And it is said that at the end of the tenth week, Sholay was declared a blockbuster at the box office!

You can watch Sholay on Amazon Prime Video.

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