Decades ago, Ramesh Sippy came up with a film that took the box office by storm. The film created records in terms of collections. Bollywood these days is going through an intense phase of remake obsession (we aren’t talking about the Priyadarshan-kind of Malayalam-to-Hindi remakes). Some of the most remarkable hits of yester years are now being remade.
A long time ago, Ramgopal Varma announced his plans to remake ‘Sholay’. As soon as he did that, there was some opposition from the man who made the original, Ramesh Sippy. He decided to not make an issue out of it and stopped. Then, RGV said that he was only going to produce it. A debutante directs is now. RGV does an occasional supervision.
After making plenty of changes in the cast, the team is finally ready- Ajay Devgan, Prakash Sachdev, Sushmita Sen, Nisha Kothari and Amitabh Bachchan are playing the lead roles. Malayalam superstar Mohanlal is playing the role of the village landlord whose limbs are chopped away by the notorious dacoit Gabbar Singh.
This is not Mohanlal’s first film with RGV. The two had worked together before in the smash-hit ‘Company’. In the film, Mohanlal had played the role of a straight-forward and effective cop who is brought in to deal with the underworld menace in Mumbai.
About his new project, the ‘Sholay remake, Mohanlal said, “The film is very well known among Hindi film audience. It is as popular as our ‘Chemmeen’. I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to remake ‘Chemmeen’ with the same splendor and class. But RGV is trying to remake the super hit ‘Sholay’ this time. The film is the Bible of commercial cinema. I’m happy that he invited me to work in the film with him.”
- The specialties of the new ‘Sholay’-
The concept is new but the original film’s base and structure will not be changed. The old ‘Sholay’ is based on a gang of dacoits who terrorized the Chambal valleys. It is now not possible to make a film with that backdrop. So, necessary changes will be made to adapt the film to the present times. I’m playing the role that was made memorable by Sanjeev Kumar.
- His role in ‘Sholay’-
Frankly, I haven’t done anything revolutionary in the film. I’m not doing anything beyond my capabilities. All the scenes that I had worked in are with Amitabh Bachchan. I’m not wasting my time and energy into wondering how the film is going to be. The film belongs completely to Ramgopal Varma. He’s presenting the film in his style.
- Acting with Bachchan- I believe I’m a lucky man to have got an offer to work with Amitabh Bachchan. I have had the fortune of working with superstars like Prem Naseer, Shivaji Ganeshan and Nageshwara Rao. Now I have acted with Bachchan too. I always adored Raj Kumar but I never got an opportunity to work with him. I told Amitabh Bachchan about this. I have often interacted with Bachchan before. Therefore I never felt like we were strangers. I think Amitabh was playing a negative role after a long time. On the first day, we shot the scene in which he chops my arms away. This is one of the important scenes of the film.
- Approach to the role of ‘Thakur’-
There are many encounter specialist cops in North India . These people would have killed atleast a hundred criminals. I approached the role with that attitude. My work wont extend beyond 20-25 days. It’s a small role in a very special film.