Set to release in 3D on Independence Day this year, 37 years after its first run in cinema halls on the same day, Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay (1975) may bring its estranged scriptwriters, Salim-Javed, together once again.
Jayantilal Gada, distributor and financer of the new 3D version, says, “Sholay 3D’s release may help end cold wars between people associated with the original. We’re trying to get Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar together after years. If a film can resolve differences, what better tribute can we give to the celebration of 100 years of cinema (in Bollywood)?”
The film, Gada says, is expected to do even better than the original. “Sholay 3D will see a larger success than Sholay. I’ve been controlling television rights of this film since 1995, and it has received 67 TRPs. Even 3 Idiots (2009)got only 11 TRPs. The new version will make at least double the money we’ve spent on its revival.”
Promotions will include Jai, Veeru and Gabbar merchandise like games, toys and even biscuits, Gada says. The film will be released across 1,000 screens in India, and also go overseas.
“We’ve made a Rs 25crore investment for the 3D conversion. The film is targeted at the entire generation that hasn’t seen the magic of Sholay in theatres, as well as those who have seen the film countless times.”
The original film was made on a budget of approximately Rs 4 crore. More than 150 technicians at Ketan Mehta and Subhash Ghai’s Maya Digital Studios have been working on the conversion for over a year now.
Hollywood VFX veteran Frank Foster and Hollywood DI studio are also involved in this project. While the 3D work is complete, Gada says it will take another three months to complete audio digitisation: “We will show the film to Amitabh (Bachchan) and Dharmendra in early August and hope to rope them in for promotions before its premiere.”
Converting Sholay to a 3D format was filmi in more ways than one.
Friends Hemant Shinde (30) and Ram Dhumne (29) who are heading the teams responsible for the film’s stereoscopic conversion at Maya, say, “We are like Jai and Veeru. We started working at this place 10 years ago and have been inseparable. There were a lot of studios in the running to get this project. When Maya won the contract, we were excited. Sholay is 198 minutes long. We worked on 2,85,120 frames individually to make this happen. We hope Mr Bachchan and Dharmendra love it.”