Freeze Frame #92: Sholay

Ram Gopal Varma has always been a smart, articulate chap when it comes to interviews, and his assessment of Sholay ranks among his best soundbytes.

See, for me, primarily Sholay never worked on a story level. The story’s basic line is of a man taking revenge on another man who killed his family and cut his hands off — such a gruesome thing! The story demands you hate to the villain, but we all came out loving Gabbar, which means the story failed on the premise level itself.

But what it did was create an extraordinary array of moments where you felt high. When Gabbar was cutting Sanjeev Kumar’s hands, we were enjoying the performance of Gabbar, not feeling sorry for the character of Thakur.

So, thanks to RGV’s Aag (which I haven’t seen yet – watch this place for the review), I sat down last afternoon and thought back on Sholay.  Strangely enough, more than all the “famous” moments in the movie (and there’s more than a handful of those), the one that has stayed with me through the years is a quiet one.

It comes when Jai and Veeru have just settled into their lodgings at the Thakur’s outhouse. Sometime after sunset, Jai (AB) goes out to the balcony,  takes out his mouth organ and begins to play. And as he plays, Radha (Jaya) comes out to the balcony of her house to put out the lights. There isn’t a single line of dialogue, but somehow, this scene manages to convey volumes about the lives of these two characters.

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One thought on “Freeze Frame #92: Sholay

  1. Well hmm RGV is smart and articulate,no issues at that. But for me the first time, i saw Sholay, the scene of Gabbar chopping off Thakur’s hands was teriffying, and i guess that is again, the actual act was never shown.

    The unseen has more terror than that which is seen.Take the famous ear cutting scene in Reservoir Dogs, we dont see it actually, just Mr.Blonde, crouched against the cop, and the cop’s screams, Blonde’s rantings and then, him flushing it out.

    Somehow i wish this is something Priyadarshan would learn a bit. Kalapaani otherwise a good effort, had that scene, where a prisoner’s tongue is plucked out. And we actually had a lousy graphic shot of the inside of a tongue, and it being plucked out, that somehow made it look like a B Horror movie.

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