All the noise behind RGV’s new Sholay

Posted: October 8, 2006 in Uncategorized

What is he trying to achieve?
Ram Gopal Verma has been talking of making a remake of Sholay for more than a year at least. And the film is yet to complete its casting, and yet to go for shooting.
So what is the sense in talking so much, so early??

In any case, I think he’s fighting a losing battle. An iconic movie that Sholay was, everyone holds it in such high regard, that nothing-repeat nothing – will compare well, with it. And so fans will be disappointed, one or the other way.

Now, the details, on why things look so challenging (suicidal??) for RGV:
1. He is basing the movie in a city. A large part of the success of Sholay had so much to do with its setting. The dacoits in the ravines, the train robbery, Basanti, Imam, the Holi song, etc. And those rustic dialogues – “bahut yaaran lagta hai”, “ab aaya hai oont pahad ke niche”. How can you speak such dialogues in a city and look credible? And without them, what kind of Sholay will it be?

2. They write that it took a long time for them to figure out a “look” for the Gabbar Singh, that Amitabh is to be. And that look that was finally revealed resembles Amitabh in Deewar, sitting with a rope around his neck, inside the warehouse, waiting to take on the goons. Only older. The same swagger, the legs on the chair, look. So not really a ‘new’ look, also not half as menacing as Amjad Khan. Again, whats the point??

3. The casting that we know so far. Katrina Kaif as Jaya?? One part that is right here, is that the widow Jaya hardly had any dialogues to speak. And yes, the less you make Katrina speak, the better you are! But there was also the young unmarried Jaya. That was an amazing cameo. The Holi scene – chutti waali Holi, etc. Running behind the cart, blabbering away, huge energy, etc. Cannot imagine Katrina doing anything like that!
Then we have Mohit Alawat as Jay (Amitabh in the original). So yes, you first ask the question, Mohit who? And then because you don’t know him, you have no idea what kind of justice will be do to Jay’s character.
Urmila as Helen, doing Mehbooba. That part is fine. I guess as good as you can get when you cannot get the original Helen. But wait a sec – who’s going to do the Jalal Agha routine? Because the playback for that song, I believe, is going to be (oh God!) Himesh Reshamiya. Puhleese.. the original was RD, and we have Himesh now. Just riding on Himesh’s current popularity does not work. If you want to repeat the magic of the original, I would have believed that Shankar Mahadevan or Sudesh Bhosale would have been far better choices.
And then we have Ajay Devgan as Veeru. I am a big admirer of Ajay Devgan’s. And perhaps he is best suited today, to swing one of the most challenging roles. Veeru had so much character in Sholay. In the limelight that Amjad and Sanjeev Kumar got, I think one of Dharmendra’s best performances was given lesser importance. I would believe though, that Dharmendra was very crucial for Sholay, and he had a tremendous role there. Ajay Devgan, with all his talent, will have to do a fantastic job, to come up close to that role.
Rajpal Yadav as Surma Bhopali is fine, I guess. Maybe the only place where the remake may even have a better performance than the original.
And Mohanlal as Thakur. Again a huge question mark? With his accent from the South, can he deliver those deadpan dialogues, “jao, gabbar se keh do ke Ramgarh vaalon ne kutton ko roti daalna bandh kar diya hai”? Very challenging for Mohanlal.

4. Then again, RGV claims that its an urban story, and its really a revenge story, so it can be adapted. Sure, its a revenge theme, but then don’t call it Sholay. Take insporation from it, adapt it, but dont call it Sholay. For as soon as you call it that, there is forced comparison, and consequential disappointment!

5. Lastly, where is the passion? The passion came from Salim-Javed writing that great script and dialogues. From RD’s music. The sets. The cinematography. The support from the producer, G P Sippy. And most importantly, the dream and vision of Ramesh Sippy. Where will RGV find that??

I believe this is one non-starter.

  1. Full2 Faltu says:

    Well! I agree. Morever Ramu’s Gabbar looks like Saibaba in closeup shots.

    The getup is not impressive


  2. SPM says:

    Yeah, and to think that he spent so much time and effort to come up with a ‘look’ and finally came up with THIS!

  3. Ashwin says:

    It is almost impossible to remake a cult movie like Sholay. It is almost a perfect movie as far as Indian Cinema goes.

    If you take away the “curry western” look or Ramgadh out of sholay, it will not be sholay. Usually the motivation to do a remake comes from the urge to fill the gap or make it better. If the motivation is to make it different then why not make something else.

    The spine of sholay is the tension between Gabbar and Thakkur. It is almost one Thakkur against another Thakkur. Actually, Gabbar, until Thakkur fingers him, is shown to be a person who just robs. Jai, Veru and Basanti are just puppets who are played out by the two.

    I think Akshay Kumar or even Salman Khan would be a better Veeru than Devgan. I would have gone for Devgan as Jai and Salman Khan as Veeru, Ayesha Takia as Jaya and Pretty Zinta as Basanti. If urban, I would locate it as Slumloards. Gabbar, a Bhai, treads the territory of a slumloard Thakkur Baldev Singh. Thakkur acts as informer and puts Gabbar in jail. After Gabbar comes back, Thakkur is found alone, drunk walking back to slum. He is carried to near by tracks and his legs are cut under a running virar fast, “Bahut jaan hai in latton me”. So now Thakkur is on wheelchair. I will John Abraham as Gabbar and Sanjay Dutt as Thakkur.

    The movie that comes closest to Sholay for Rajkumar Shantosi’s China Junction (? can’t recollect exactly. it is based in Seven Samurai). The Dacoit there is close to Gabbar.

  4. SPM says:

    If RGV sees this comment, he will change his script all over again.
    Its really doable. And your suggestions on the stars make a lot of sense. Yes, Veeru’s buffoonery is best done by the likes of Akshay Kumar or Salman Khan, and indeed, Devgan can play the brooding, sarcastic Jai. And yes, the bubbly spirit of Basanti can be matched by Preity. Ayesha Takhia in the dual character of pre-marriage and post-marriage Jaya, is probably inspired by her usual roles and then her portrayal in Dor. So you are dead on target with that as well.
    Looks wise John Abraham would work as Gabbar, but acting wise, there is a lot left to be desired. Perhaps an Abhishek (rememer Yuva?) may not be a bad choice there. Thakur requires immense acting talent, as its the eyes and the voice that do the acting, and not much motion or action. It would be a tough choice, and I would not think of Sanjay Dutt there. Perhaps an Aamir Khan – hey, Sholay was a big time multi-starrer so why not the Mumbai ka Sholay also?!

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