Bollywood: Sholay

Sholay is the biggest hit in Indian cinema history, a Bollywood film from 1975 directed by Ramesh Sippy and featuring Amitabh Bachchan, one of the most famous actors in the business. The plot features Bachchan and Dharmendra as Jai and Veeru, two former thieves hired by Baldev Singh (Sanjeev Kumar), a former police officer who is the thakur (major landowner) of a small rural village. Their mission is to capture the infamous bandit Gabbar Singh, against whom Thakur has a personal grudge. On the way they have plenty of hijinks and even fall in love, Jai with Thakur's widowed daughter-in-law Radha and Veeru with the chatty horse cart driver Basanti (Hema Malini).

If Mother India is Bollywood's Gone with the Wind, then this is its The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.


This film provides examples of:

  • An Arm and a Leg: Gabbar slices off Thakur's arms after Gabbar finishes wiping out Thakur's entire family. Not that it stops Thakur from being the most imposing character of the film.
  • Anti-Hero: Jai and Veeru are both Type V at worst. Graduate into Type III or even Type II during their fight with Gabbar.
  • Bad Boss: Gabbar Singh. See You Have Failed Me.
  • Badass Grandpa: Thakur is this in the flashbacks until Gabbar Singh kills his grandson, anyway.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Veeru and Basanti's relationship is made of this.
  • Big Bad: Gabbar Singh.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Jai arrives just as Basanti collapses from her dancing and Samba prepares to shoot Veeru
  • Bromance: the first song in the movie has Jai and Veeru sing about their undying love for each other and how they'll always stick together.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jai.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: After Basanti has spent almost an entire paragraph without pausing for breath referring to herself in the third person several times, and then asks why Jai and Veeru haven't had the courtesy to ask her for her name:
    Jai: What is your name, Basanti?
  • The Determinator: Surprisingly, Basanti, given that she's essentially the comic relief. Gabbar Singh captures her and Veeru and tells her that she must dance for him and as long as her feet move his Dragon Samba won't shoot Veeru. She does this. Then some of Gabbar's men start throwing glass bottles at her, which shatter at her feet. So she continues to dance over the broken glass, until finally collapsing right in front of Veeru.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Thakur Baldev Singh is known mostly by his title "Thakur" rather than his actual name.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Gabbar Singh will often toy with his victims for fun, all the while maintaining a grandiose veneer of affability. For instance, he'll loudly laugh along with the rest of his gang before spontaneously executing a group of them for messing up their mission.
  • Evil Laugh: Gabbar
  • Genki Girl: Basanti
  • Handicapped Badass: Thakur is made of this trope. Arguably the most physically imposing character in the film, despite the fact he has no arms. Especially played up in his final showdown with Gabbar, in which he kicks Gabbar's ass
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Jai holds the bandits off while Basanti and Veeru escape to get help. He dies just as they come back with the cavalry.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Amitabh (playing Jai) is over six feet tall, and Jaya (playing Radha), his real life wife and his onscreen Sholay love interest, is a rather petite woman.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Veeru and Jai. Especially Jai.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Gabbar Singh. You know when he is on screen that something crap is about to happen.
  • Re Cut: A director's cut of the film was released on a British VHS tape in 1990, as well as on a recent DVD. Oddly enough, it is in fullscreen, while the theatrical cut is on widescreen. The changes are the scenes where the imam's son is killed, Thakur's family is massacred, and a few other violent scenes which were previously taken out of the film by the Censor Board, are included, as well as an alternate ending where Thakur kills Gabbar.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Veeru goes on one of these after Gabbar's men kill Jai; he finishes off Gabbar's men and is about to kill Gabbar himself before Thakur stops him,so that Thakur can go on his own Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Romancing the Widow: Jai's love interest is Thakur's widowed daughter-in-law
  • Russian Roulette: A variation of it in the You Have Failed Me scene where Kaalia returns with 2 other mooks
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Thakur's family and Ahmed.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Jai.
  • Those Two Guys: Jai and Veeru of course. To the point of becoming a part of Indian culture.
  • You Have Failed Me: Gabbar Singh pulls this with three of his underlings: he takes a gun with six bullets, fires off three, and then spins the chambers and pulls the trigger at each man. Miraculously, all three escape alive. Until Gabbar shoots them anyways.