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PIFF diaries: Director Ramesh Sippy recounts struggle behind making Sholay

“Film-makers and the censor board are two sides of the same coin called cinema,” he said and further explained the problems he faced as a film-maker. He said, “Censor has always been a problem. Being a movie maker, one will want much more freedom.” 

pune Updated: Jan 13, 2018 16:02 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
(From left) Director Ramesh Sippy and Jabbar Patel at the PIFF forum on Friday.(HT PHOTO)

Well-known director and producer Ramesh Sippy shared some of the experiences from his career at the first day of the forum held as part of the 16th Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) 2018 on Friday. The forum was set up in the parking lot of the Kothrud City Pride.

In a candid conversation with theatre and film director Jabbar Patel, Sippy spoke about the making of the Hindi film Sholay. “Film-makers and the censor board are two sides of the same coin called cinema,” he said and further explained the problems he faced as a film-maker. He said, “Censor has always been a problem. Being a movie maker, one will want much more freedom.”

The Censor Board did not spare the film Sholay too, and the director Ramesh Sippy had to change the end. Calling the film extremely violent, the Censor Board did not leave the director with much of a choice and neglected all his explanations.

Further talking about his epic film Sholay and censorship, Sippy said, “The nation was in an emergency when the film was being made, and so, the censor board asked me to change the end of Sholay which initially showed a policeman killing a villain with his feet. They also said it wouldn’t be right to show so much violence. I wasn’t very happy about it. The end you saw in the film was actually a result of censor.”

He also added that unnecessary filth and violence will not work at the box office andgood film-makers are very much aware about it.

On asked about societal censorship, which is beyond the censor board, Sippy said, “When press turns a story around or misleads in a certain way just to sell news, then there arises an issue. Media should make sure it plays their part right under any given circumstance.”

The director and producer also shared his anecdotes on the film-making process of Sholay. He said that it takes a lot to bring depth to the script besides character building which is an important aspect. “I did not ever think that even after 42 years, Sholay will still be remembered by masses. It’s overwhelming to know that even today people recite Sholay dialogues and identify with the characters. I feel you cannot plan a phenomenon, it just happens on its own. Sholay has turned out to be one such phenomena,” he added.

Various activities, like workshops, seminars, panel discussions, media interactions and networking sessions are organised at the PIFF forum which provides a platform for aspiring writers, producers and directors. The forum aims to educate those interested in film-making without letting it become dull or stale. One can directly interact with several successful and reputed film personalities at this forum.

PIFF, which is held in collaboration with the Pune Film Foundation and the Government of Maharashtra, began on January 11. Raj Kapoor Pavillion was inaugurated by Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor and Rajiv Kapoor at the PIFF forum in the presence of Jabbar Patel and Ramesh Sippy.

Woman in Indian cinema

National Film Archive of India (NFAI) has put up an exhibition of 60 film posters entitled Stree: A Tribute to Womanhood in Indian Cinema, as part of the ongoing PIFF 2018.

The collection puts a spotlight on films portraying women’s lives and struggles on the Indian silver screen, and pays tribute to women film-makers, film technicians and artistes who have made invaluable contributions to the Indian cinema.

The exhibition showcases hand-picked gems from all eras and languages of Indian cinema, and paints a comprehensive picture of films about women across decades and regions. Films from the early days of Indian cinema, such as Meerabai, sit alongside popular contemporary films such as Chak De India!. Echoes of similar themes are also seen in films across languages, be it Mahanagar or Abhimaan.

Cinema enthusiasts and delegates at the festival also relished the exhibition. In addition to film posters, official NFAI merchandise such as coffee mugs and post-cards are also available for sale.

First Published: Jan 13, 2018 15:51 IST