When Sholay released in 1975 at a time that India was going through a tumultuous time, no one expected a veteran producer’s director son to create history by giving Bollywood its biggest blockbuster. Loosely based on Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai and heavily inspired by other Westerns like Once Upon A Time in the West, The Wild Bunch and The Magnificent Seven, Sholay set new trends and even ignited debates on social topics. Ramesh Sippy changed the face of Indian cinema with this one film and carved a niche for himself.
Son of famous film producer G. P. Sippy, Ramesh Sippy’s initiation into the film industry happened in 1953 when he played the role of Achala Sachdev’s son in the film Shahenshah. He later worked in the production and direction departments of his father’s films Johar-Mehmood in Goa and Mere Sanam. The big break for Ramesh Sippy came with his directorial debut Andaz. A moderate success at the box office, Andaz touched the sensitive issue of widow remarriage.
His second film Seeta Aur Geeta was a huge success and it opened new doors for him. Sholay, though reviewed negatively by a lot of critics, enjoyed phenomenal success in the later years thus making it a cult. The magic of Ramesh Sippy continued to spread with his subsequent films like Shaan, Shakti and Saagar.
Ramesh Sippy’s Bollywood journey is nothing less of a rollercoaster ride as he saw both sides of the coin. Today, as he finishes seven decades of an eventful life, let us look back at the best cult characters his films saw that have a perpetual existence in our pop culture.
GabbarThe immortal and Bollywood’s most iconic villain played by late Amjad Khan, left no room vacant for any improvement because he was perfect as Gabbar. Right from his army attire, to his boots, to his talisman and whip, everything about him was just awesome.
And how can we forget his evergreen dialogues like "Kitne aadmi the", "Arre o Samba", "Yeh haath mujhe de, thakur".
Jai and Veeru
They are stuff of legend. You cannot talk about Jai without mentioning Veeru. The first pair to indulge in bromance, they gave perfect friendship goals. Jai played by Amitabh Bachchan is an introvert who is intelligent but rarely seeks attention. Jai is a man of few words but his one liners are to die for. Veeru (Dharmendra) on the other hand, is a drama queen (remember the tank scene) who loves attention.
Basanti (Hema Malini) represents the strong Indian woman and her feisty character underlined themes of women empowerment throughout. An extremely talkative but self-dependent woman, Basanti has a charm of her own.
Shaan was a complete entertainment package and one of the most remembered character of this film was the bald villain Shakaal. His character was inspired by James Bond villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld. Shakaal is shown as an international crime lord working from a remote island with fancy equipments that he used to decide the fate of his enemies. His man-eating crocodile, sharks, rotating chairs, an island of his own all make him one of the best bad men till date.
Ramesh Sippy’s Seeta Aur Geeta marked the beginning of the veteran’s success. Seeta and Geeta are twins (both played by Hema Malini), separated at birth but who are exact opposites of each other. With their unique idiosyncrasies, the characters have forever remain etched in our hearts.
DCP Ashwini Kumar
Shakti was the only film to star the two veterans – Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan – together. Though a moderate success, the film has some really touching scenes depicting the father-son relationship in which Dilip Kumar steals the show.