Why they want Sholay banned

  • Vikramdeep Johal, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Feb 23, 2015 00:10 IST

“Holi kab hai? Kab hai Holi?” Hey, wise guys, I know it’s on March 6. I’m just repeating a classic line from Sholay. The movie runs in my veins, and I’m sure it flows in yours too. The evergreen entertainer is turning 40 and will finally be released in Pakistan, where the sadistic Gabbar could give competition to the Taliban. But I wonder what the film’s fate would’ve been, had the Sippys made it today. In our touchy society, all kinds of organisations would have opposed it and demanded a blanket ban. Here’s how they might have reacted:

Indian Police League: This frivolous flick makes the police force look as helpless as the Congress. A former cop himself, Thakur relies on two petty thieves to get even with Gabbar. When his family is massacred, he doesn’t even bother to get an FIR registered at the nearest police station. Instead, he dashes off to take revenge — and loses his limbs in the process. Now who will give a damn for the long arm of the law when the law has no arms? Ideally, Thakur should have encouraged his widowed bahu Radha to go the Kiran Bedi way, not by getting her fingers burnt in politics, but by donning the khaki and knocking out the dakus.

Sudhar Ghar Samiti: The film shows a jailer dressed up as Hitler and behaving like a joker. Agreed, Hitler was a clown of sorts, but a prison incharge deserves some respect as he deals daily with the scum of society. Shockingly, Jai and Veeru flee from jail with unbelievable ease, much like AAP sweeping the Delhi elections. Such scenes will not only embolden prisoners but also demoralise the staff. If you think our argument is far-fetched, do remember that the Burail jailbreak was inspired by Hollywood classic The Great Escape. And don’t forget that ex-escapee Jagtar Singh Tara is back in Burail.

Anti-Gay Mandal: The Jai-Veeru relationship has disgusting overtones of homosexuality. The word ‘gay’ is all over their buddy song: “Yeh dosti hum nahin todein-gay/Todein-gay dum agar, tera saath na chhodein-gay…” Throughout the movie, Jai keeps revealing Veeru’s cheap tricks to Basanti. Reason: he doesn’t want to share his pal with anybody. It’s only his belated but welcome death that leaves Veeru free to marry Basanti and live a normal, heterosexual life.

Teetotaller Club: We are making efforts for a free-alcohol, sorry, alcohol-free society, but films like Sholay are not helping our cause. The way Veeru drinks, atop a water tank or on the ground, his liver must be on its last legs. Shame on ex-cop Thakur too, who hires him without a breath test. The director at least could have ended the story responsibly by showing Basanti taking Veeru to a rehab centre.

Hindu Super Sabha: There’s a scene in which Veeru hides behind an idol of Lord Shiva to win over the gullible Basanti through ‘divine intervention’. Dharmendra, the popular Jat-Sikh actor, has deeply hurt our religious sentiments by making fun of a Hindu deity (we still haven’t forgiven Muslim film star Aamir Khan for his PK excesses). Such tomfoolery won’t be tolerated in a Hindu Rashtra. Our message to the censor board: impose the ban, or else we’ll go bang-bang-bang — like Gabbar, of course.

Censor Board: We’ve seen this long, long film thrice without a break, but found nothing objectionable. Yes, it’s quite violent at times, but those who have visited Wasseypur and Badlapur would find Ramgarh a relatively peaceful place.

The only thing that bothers us is the title, which is highly inflammable as well as inflammatory. It needs to be toned down. Our suggestion: Sholay aur Shabnam. vikramdeep.johal@hindustantimes.com

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