SHOLAY: THE PERFECT MASALA FILM

Because its ‘implausibility quotient’ is almost nil owing to a brilliant storytelling..

Obviously, 15th August is known to us as a special day because it is our Independence Day.

But this year, it is also the 40th anniversary of one of the most iconic products of Hindi Cinema/Indian Film Industry/Masala film genre.

Today, Sholay is completing 40 years of its release.

And Sholay is a perfect example of making Masala films, if we see ‘Masala filmmaking’ as an art. A Masala film is a mix of different genres and is generally not considered an artistic achievement. But Sholay transcends here.

Its plot so artistically absorbs any flaw, any loose end in the narration that we usually don’t feel any implausible development while watching the movie.

Now that is a big statement because every Masala film, no matter how big a blockbuster it becomes, has many revealing ‘implausible’ elements in its plotline.

But Sholay’s plot brilliantly (and effectively) suppresses all those elements.

And that plot, that narration, that storytelling is completing its 40 years today – being told and retold all this while – becoming a part of day-to-day lingo with its characters becoming eponymous with societal traits – something that rarely happens with a particular feature film.

And what compounds the – interest is most of the actors and crew members of the film are alive to relive their experiences. Yes, it would be better, at a different level, if Amjad Khan, the actor playing the most iconic character of the movie, Gabbar Singh, would have been here to share his thoughts on this occasion. Amjad Khan is not between us but he made Gabbar Singh immortal – the most talked about character of the movie.

Sholay is ‘perfect’ Masala film based on a plot revolving around one character’s pledge to seek revenge from the main antagonist of the movie. The storyline is strengthened by brilliant acting by every actor – lead and side. The main revenge plot and the different sub-plots are so intrinsically woven that we don’t feel any gap or jump.

If Gabbar Singh, Thakur Sahab, Veeru and Jai are our evergreen stars, so are Soorma Bhopali, Angarezo Ke Jamane Ke Jailor (Jailor), Mausi, Rahim Chacha, Sambha, Kalia and so on.

What happened with Sholay, its wide reach in the masses that has touched times and generations, has happened rarely with a Hindi film.

The movie not only became a classic property for its actors, but also for its director, music director and story/script writers. Every aspect of the film was so tightly packed – right frames in a right sequence – packed neatly one after the other – that we don’t come across boring moments and frustrating questions – something that dilutes interest in any plotline.

The film has borrowed heavily from classic Westerns and even from some Hindi movies but its high point is that it has been successful (and efficiently so) in showing them as its own – in showing them as the inherent plot elements.

It was a perfect blend of different condiments – a spice that has always remained hot and colourful – irrespective of what the experts (and analysts) say – both, for the movie and against it. The filmmakers might not have thought on those lines that some experts say. After all, how could they, if they had to release their movie during the days of Emergency in India?

Filmmakers here wanted to deliver a Masala entertainment package and they excelled in that with Sholay.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

WHY WE SHOULD CELEBRATE OUR INDEPENDENCE DAY

It is because we can freely raise such questions based on this proposition.

It is because we have freedom to express so and ask uncomfortable questions that drag our society back – questions that are still holding us back in a dock of antiquated moratoriums on many issues so vital to us – even after 68 years of getting Independence as a sovereign state.

It is because we have freedom to seek answers to such questions.

Yes, the freedom that we have is relative, but then where it is not?

Every August 15 for India is an event to look back on, to reflect on the journey so far – a journey that began for us on August 15, 1947.

The days is and should be like a profit and loss assessment – on how we dealt with the last year – and on how it fits into the aspirations of a nation that began its independent journey 68 years ago – promises that we made and questions that we raised on August 15, 2014, when we celebrated the 68th Independence Day – and on August 15, 2015, when we are celebrating our 69th Independence Day.

We should celebrate the Independence Day because we have the Constitutional sanction to look at it in this way – an analysis to take stock of what we have done, where we are and what we need to do go where we want to go.

Yes, the day is as much a cause of celebration as it is a reason for critical observation of the sanctity of the pledge that is weaved around us and our souls will always remain in eternal debt of that – a pledge that was taken 68 years ago – a pledge that every Indian of every generation – this, past and future – is answerable to – to shape this land as per the visions of the framers of our Constitution – framers who gave the world’s its largest democracy within three years of India’s independence.

Yes, there are factors in our democracy that push us backward and we cannot deny the fact that they are a major force. It rightly makes us question the system and its numerous flaws and we all must be serious watchers of such flaws and must raise voice and think of ways to go beyond the noise.

Our independence and it being within a democratic framework of a sovereign state gives us means and platforms to exercise our rights in a free Constitutional space.

Our independence in the world’s largest democracy, in fact the world’s largest functional democracy (see the spate of bloggers killed in Bangladesh for raising their voices) makes us part of a system where there are supportive voices as well, if there are hostile elements with their fangs to silence us.

15th August is an event, an occasion to renew the pledge to work against the flaws of our democracy.

Times are changing – and changing fast. Information access and the resultant chaos have the potential to lead the voice of change to have it an upper hand than those who see their benefit in promoting the status-quo.

We should celebrate our Independence Day because we all are stakeholders in the process that makes our democracy a reason to fight for.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/