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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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Dying Like Mice: After Gabbar murders the timid Ahmed as a warning, the villagers all turn against Jai and Veeru, and are ready to turn them over to Gabbar until the old blind imam, whose son it was who had just been killed, berates them for capitulating to evil.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: Thakur Baldev Singh is known mostly by his title "Thakur" rather than his actual name.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Gabbar Singh
  • Executive Meddling: the Indian film board made Sippy re-shoot the ending so that Thakur doesn't kill Gabbar, instead being stopped by some police officers who appear out of nowhere in the nick of time. Recent editions of the movie have had the original ending put back in.
  • 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: Jaya (playing Radha) is a rather petite woman, and Amitabh, her real life husband and her onscreen Sholay love interest, is over six feet tall.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Real-Life Relative: Jaya Badhuri, who plays Amitabh's love interest, was already married to him when they filmed this, and she was pregnant with one of their children.
  • Romance on the Set: Dharmendra and Hema had worked together before, and she has sometimes claimed that she had a crush on him before she started working in films, but this was the project where they truly fell in love.
  • 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.
  • Those Two Actors: This was part of a long, long string of films that Dharmendra and Hema made together.
  • 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. video here

See No Evil, Hear No EvilBuddy PictureThe Sting
Chupke ChupkeBollywood MoviesAmar Akbar Anthony

alternative title(s): Sholay
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