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/

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