If there is one movie that epitomises everything that Indian cinema stands for, it's Sholay. Even 40 years after its release in August 1975, the iconic film continues inspiring movie-makers and cinemagoers alike.
On its anniversary, we take a look at some lesser-known facts about the blockbuster:
1. In those days, actress Helen was going through a lean patch in her career. It was friend Salim who helped her out by giving her the dance numberMehbooba, which went on to become a cult classic.
2. The legendary character of Gabbar Singh, played by Amjad Khan, is said to have been based on a real-life dacoit of the same name who was active in Gwalior during the 1950s.
3. A major goof-up which has been pointed out by many movie buffs is the presence of the water tank in Dharmendra's suicide scene. Jaya Bachchan, though, is seen lighting lamps every night suggesting there is no electricity in the village. So how was water pumped into the tank in the first place?!
4. Jai and Veeru were named after the film’s scriptwriter Salim Khan’s friends from college — Veerandar Singh Bias and Jai Singh Rao Kalevar.
5. Gabbar features in only nine scenes of the film. Amjad Khan was almost dropped from Sholay as scriptwriter Javed Akhtar felt that his voice was too weak for Gabbar Singh.
6. Jagdeep’s role of Soorma Bhopali was added after the film’s shooting was completed.
7. It was Salim Khan who ­recommended Amitabh Bachchan for the role of Jai.
8. Dharmendra actually ­wanted to play Thakur Baldev Singh, but changed his mind when he was told that Veeru will get the girl (Basanti) in the end. Sachin Pilgaonkar, who played Ahmed, ­reportedly received a refrigerator as part of his acting fee.
9. In the original ending, Thakur kills Gabbar. But the ending was changed and Gabbar was handed over to the police, as the Censor Board of Film Certification objected to it.
10. Sharman Joshi’s father starred in the film as one of Sanjeev Kumar’s sons.
11. In Mumbai's Minerva theatre, Sholay ran for five long, uninterrupted years.
12. It was only after 40 retakes that the scene featuring 'Kitne aadmi the' was finalised.13. Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya got hitched four months before shooting for Sholay began. In fact, Jaya was pregnant with Shweta during the filming.
14. In spite of Sholay's status as the greatest blockbuster of Indian cinema, it won just one Filmfare award - for editing!
15. Apparently, real bullets were used while filming Sholay's climax and a stray bullet is said to have narrowly missed Amitabh Bachchan.
16. Mac Mohan, who played Sambha, had to travel from Mumbai to Bengaluru 27 times to complete filming for his role.
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Read: At 40, Sholay is THE blockbuster of Bollywood