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SHOLAY's famous train chase sequence and a similar one in NORTH WEST FRONTIER (1959) (Did You Know - 11)

24 May, 2009 | Did You Know!

North West FrontierRecently I got hold of an old English Classic NORTH WEST FRONTIER, directed By J. Lee. Thompson, released way back in 1959. And the main reason behind selecting this flick among many others was that it featured one of my favourite comedians I. S. Johar. Though he was not playing a comic character in the movie as usual, but his typical witty one-liners were still there and the film did turn out to be a pretty decent one time watch for sure.
Anyway while watching its climax I discovered another surprising point, that a train robbery sequence in the film was hugely similar to the famous train chase in our own masterpiece SHOLAY (1975). 
Now such was the unique similarity in that well shot scene that any Bollywood lover watching it would instantly get SHOLAY in his mind at once, without any doubt or confusion. Even the DVD artwork of the English film featured the train Sequence only on its front and the few screen shots shared here should be more than enough to give you the actual picture evidently.
Further since the English movie was partially shot in India and had Indian actors too featuring in various roles, its quite possible that director Ramesh Sippy saw the movie and had this particular sequence somewhere at the back of his mind while shooting a similar action packed train chase in “Sholay”. However nothing can be said about this inspirational source with certainty. Yet I am sure anyone watching the English film would readily agree with the viewpoint presented here and be amazed too.
Interestingly, a similar sequence in another western film HOW THE WEST WAS WON (1962) also reminds you of the same but the one seen in NORTH WEST FRONTIER definitely seems to be the more closer one, undoubtedly.
(For all like-minded friends interested in reading more unknown facts about SHOLAY, please click the following links to amaze yourself.)

Tags : Amitabh Bachhan, Amjad Khan, Dharmendera, Hema Malini, Inspired Hindi Movies, Inspired Movies, Interesting Fact File About Sholay, Jaya Bhaduri, Making OF a Classic Sholay, Sanjeev Kumar, Sholay and its making, Sholay was copied from, Sholay-Trivia, The Greatest Epic, The Greatest Movie From Bollywood
24 May 2009 / Comments ( 3 )
M Dullat

gol maal hai bai sabh gol maal hai...


Amit Sinha
This film was shot in Spain and not India, as per wikipedia. But the resemblance is there for all to see. Ramesh Sippy was surely inspired by this film for Sholay\'s train sequence.
Bobby Sing

Hi Amit Sinha,
Thanks for visiting and writing in but I would like to clear the confusion here about its India On Location Shooting.
The film was majorly shot in Spain but a few parts were shot in India which is mentioned at many places but I have one very Logical and Basic reason of my own before sharing that :

1. If you have watched the film then you must remember the Indian subject on which it has been made and the number of Indian artists featuring in it including I. S. Johar. Now I dont think it was more logical to take all those artists abroad and then shoot ther sequences there instead of shooting them in India only.

2. Secondly here are some instance where it is mentioned that it was partially shot in India.

Link 1: http://railways.national-preservation.com/international-heritage-railways-tramways/24104-north-west-frontier-film.html
where it is said :

The following information is from a supplement called "Railway Films of the Raj" by Ray Ellis, published with the Indian Railway Study Group Newletter No.9, in January 1993.

A large part of this film was shot on location in Spain, on the 5'6" gauge Zafra-Huelva Railway, of the RENFE. Originally built by a British Company, the line runs parallel with the Spanish-Portuguese border, and has some spectacular bridges and some very Indian looking scenery. The little tank engine used "Empress of India" is one of four 0-6-0T's built by Kerr Stuart (works nos 713,714,715 & 725) in 1900 for the South of Spain Railway, and later RENFE 030.0209-212. The engine used being modified to look more like a locomotive filmed in India, which included the fitting of 'chopper' couplings.
For filming sequences on the sound stage at Pinewood Studios, full size replicas of the locomotive, rolling stock and part of the bridge were constructed, with Pinewoods usual remarkable accuracy.
Some scenes were also filmed in India using metre gauge trains, somewhere near Jaipur. These include the departure of the 'refugee' train and the scenes where the 'escape' train catches up and passes the 'refugee' train. The 'refugee' train is hauled by an OJ class 4-4-0 (built by Bagnall in 1943) and the 'escape' train is hauled by a TJ class 0-6-0T (built by Bagnell in 1942, and sent to India, despite having been ordered by a steelworks in Turkey!). This later engine was also heavily modified to look more like the modified locomotive used in Spain.

Link 2 - http://exclaim.ca/Reviews/Dvd/north_west_frontier-directed_by_j_lee_thompson

This is an official review by Alan Bacchus where he mentions that it was also shot in India.

I hope the confusion gets clear with this but no doubt Ramesh Sippy got inspired from these scenes for his SHOLAY famous train sequence.




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