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Sholay (3D Re-release) - Only partially enjoyed this adulterated version of the cult classic but loved the viewers response in the theater, speaking the dialogues. (An overview by Bobby Sing)

03 Jan, 2014 | Movie Reviews / 2014 Releases / Articles on Cinema

SholayEvery film releases in a particular era, presented for a different set of viewers or generation with its own mindset and set of rules. But rarely comes a film, which is almost four decades old and still easily manages to reach, convince and impress the present net-age generation too with a great conviction and unanimous response.
No doubt SHOLAY is one of those pioneers or may be the one & only film which has successfully survived all the major changes in the viewer’s perception in the past four decades and sure finds a place in every Indian movie lover’s home library living in any part of the globe without any exception. Plus there must be many friends like myself who have bought numerous copies of its DVD in all these gone years, since either they were borrowed for being never returned by some close friends or they were badly scratched after repeated viewing especially by the kids in the family playing it at pretty regular intervals in their holidays.
So keeping the sanctity of such cult movies intact, they are not supposed to be reviewed in these changing times but only need to be cherished on the bigger screen once again, taking all the friends and family along, going back in time. Therefore this is not a review but an account of my personal experience watching this cult classic in the theater which honestly had many mixed feelings with a bit of disappointment too mentioned ahead.
Viewer’s Response
As a pleasant surprise, I found a large number of people opting for the movie than I had expected. The theater was not full but it was surely much more than many new films I have seen amongst the empty seats. But the best thing about the crowd was that apart from the young groups, there were families hugely visible on every corner of the theater coming with their kids and even elder members to feel the magic again after so many years. Everyone was thrilled to see the credits rolling, few claps were there when Jai & Veeru came on the screen and then everyone was speaking the dialogues along with the famous scenes with a child-like innocence. And I even heard a 7-8 years girl asking her father that “Kitne Aadmi Thhey wala scene kab aayega?"
However the bitter truth soon started surfacing when the film had its interval after almost two hours and I saw few seats empty post the interval as their owners had left in between. Probably many were just there to feel the experience of watching it in the theater and left soon due to shortage of time. But more than 200 minutes long length was certainly a bit too much for a few more as they also instantly left as soon as some eagerly awaited scenes got over post the intermission. May be we don’t have much time today to watch an old classic again for almost four hours but there was an era when everyone wanted to spend more and more time in the theater only and never wished to move out of the premises hurriedly. So where the die-hard fans were there right till the end, few over conscious and quite busy people were out of it much before the ending to attend their more important assignments of this new age life.
The unexpected adulteration & the way I wished to experience the past again.
In the 80s and even early 90s, the single screen theaters used to show old classics in the gap weeks when there was no new release scheduled. And at times they even used to organize a festival of 4-5 films of renowned personalities like Raj Kapoor (as a director), B. R. Chopra, Manmohan Desai, Dev Anand, Amitabh Bachchan and more.
Sholay - Lobby CardsThese were the times when we saw most of the old classics in the theater and also witnessed this phenomenon called SHOLAY several times in a year. Another reason for watching the film repeatedly was that it never used to come on Doordarshan (as probably the rights were not given) and VCRs were still out of our reach in those years due to financial constraints.
Hence on a personal note, I desperately wanted to watch SHOLAY again on the bigger screen after a long time, ‘as it is’ without any major alteration made on the technical front. Now many may find it outdated and quite impossible in the present world of multiplexes, but honestly I also wished to see all those “Lobby Cards” displayed in the theaters before going into the dark. And then was also looking for any print material being distributed by the makers, related to the cult classic as a new age souvenir. However nothing of that sort was visible anywhere and I just remembered the few I had seen in those days, posted along with this write-up for your visual delight.
Moving ahead, a good restoration work was obviously the first thing expected in the present times and then I truly wanted to enjoy its well composed, inimitable & perfect background score taking the film on much greater heights of excellence in a new enhanced version presented with the 3D.
In clear words, though SHOLAY has been widely remembered and discussed for its visionary direction, flawless acting and exceptional writing. But along with all these super merits, the two most important highlights of this cult classic are its splendid CINEMATOGRAPHY & exceptional BACKGROUND SCORE by Dwarka Divecha and R. D. Burman respectively.
Unfortunately in this new version, where the Cinematography has been intruded only marginally, there the Background score has been almost re-recorded entirely, probably for having new sound effects for the current generation, which was nothing short of a sad, sick & shocking setback for me personally.
Visual Adulteration for 3D
Many famous classics have recently been re-released in 3D again like TITANIC and more. But I was never really a fan of this uncomfortable invention and therefore wasn’t excited enough to watch it in 3D. However since the changes made in its scenes to fulfill the technical requirement had to be seen, so I did watch it in 3D and was largely disappointed as it was not really worth of all this costly conversion.
Yes, they had to do this to pull in the young viewers to the theaters with a novel attraction but actually the 3D elements added into it are quite less in number, coming after long intervals in this three and a half hour film. So most of the times you keep feeling that why I am wearing these awkward glasses, when there is nothing coming on to the face as expected? 
To justify the 3D conversation, the makers have added few things here and there in some scenes, like bullet, logs, stones or other things coming out of the screen. But actually Dwarka Divecha’s extraordinary camerawork doesn’t give them enough space to add some deliberate elements. And I am glad that there is not too much meddling done in this particular department thankfully. So my suggestion regarding the 3D addition is that it will be better if you opt for a simple 2D version for having a more satisfying experience in the theater, since the 3D just remains a marketing gimmick and nothing else.
Shocking Tampering with its Background Score and Songs
Before going into the details of its shocking addition (read tempering) into the irreplaceable background score by the mastermind RDB, I would like to write a few words about my early connection with SHOLAY’s soundtrack and I am sure many readers of my age would easily relate to the instances on a personal level.
In the early childhood, my first ever encounter with music and its magical notes was through the soundtrack of SHOLAY only. The age was just four and we had a small record player with only one record of SHOLAY Dialogues & Songs, other than all the religious ones. So whenever I could force them, they had to play the record and I used to hear just the sounds without understanding anything being said or sung on its both sides.
After a few years, when we bought the first tape recorder, then also the first cassette we bought was a 2 or 3 cassette set of SHOLAY songs & dialogues. And the same set was repeatedly bought several times later since in those days cassettes used to often entangle in the roller and could not be used again. Moreover in those days whenever I visited any relative or friend’s house, this ‘Songs & Dialogues’ cassette set could be found in every movie buff’s home unconditionally and playing it had to be my first request to them as always.
Post the mid 80s when VCR came into existence, since we could not own one so we all kids used to play the cassettes set for 3 continuous hours and simply assume that the film is being played in front of us on the Black & White TV sets placed in the room. And as usual when I bought a VCP in the early 90s then the only VHS Tape came along with that had to be of SHOLAY and we repeatedly used to watch it every other evening like mad fans. Later the film was continuously added into my collection with the changing technology in the shape of VCD and DVD, also having a special version with an alternative ending, wherein Thakur kills Gabbar in the end.
R-D-Burman and SholayTo put it simply, SHOLAY and its soundtrack including the songs, dialogues and the background score was like a childhood friend of mine and apart from its entire dialogues, I still sharply remember every minute sound being played at the back in its various scenes like the flute, harmonica, temple bells, ghunghroos, tablas, dholaks, noise of the wind, guitar chords, screams and even bullet shots. In fact all these elements were like flowing in our blood and such was our association with its dialogues and background music that at times when the tape recorder started playing it at a faulty speed (due to its belt problem), we at once used to judge that something is wrong and go for its repairs without any doubt.
Probably that was the reason, why I was suddenly taken back and seriously shocked when I heard many fresh sounds being played in the new SHOLAY 3D soundtrack which I had never heard before in these four decades. No doubt the sounds were incorporated to give it a more contemporary feel but adding many new insertions into it, completely recomposed with all different notes was nothing less than an upsetting blow for me quite frankly. So I lost all that excitement of watching SHOLAY again, the moment I realized that they have done this in the entire film, even in all those hugely famous scenes we all remember since our childhood like nursery rhymes.
However this was not all as another shock was there when the first song came on the screen and I found that they have also completely re-recorded the songs too using the original song's vocal layer in the mid and then recording other fresh sounds around it to give it a technically enhanced feel. So all the tracks you hear in this 3D version have their main vocals sounding quite low, as they are placed behind the new layered music added later (exactly like they used to make JHANKAR BEAT songs in the late 80s).
Now for many this avoidable addition into the background music and songs of the cult classic might be the need of the time or promotional requirement to sell it in the market. But for me its nothing other than a sick tempering and intruding into the blessed creative arena of a legendary composer and a kind of disrespect too for his art and ardent fans. Yes, Raju Singh and his team have indeed done a lot of hard work on this new soundtrack of the 3D version. Yet I cannot appreciate their effort wholeheartedly since this was not needed at all and could have been avoided strongly in all possibilities.
To explain further, listening to all the new sounds, notes and insertions in its background score and songs, I simply felt as if the makers have tried to pull down one of the four major pillars of a beautiful monument called SHOLAY and then have replaced it with a new designer pillar forcefully just to give it a new look. However in the process they have in fact deformed the whole well built monument unintentionally…………which was never expected or required.
Overall impact of watching this avoidable adulterated version.
In all, it was a good experience watching it together with viewers responding to its each and every scene quite sportingly. Especially the kids, who surprisingly knew all the famous scenes and were also whispering the dialogues along with the sequences running on the screen in an amusing manner. But speaking from the heart, I sadly couldn’t enjoy the viewing with the same childhood passion due to all those new sounds hurting my ears every other minute. Perhaps this was the price I had to pay for having some sharp ears...........!
Having said that, I might be the only one thinking this way because of my personal bonding with the classic, so please don’t miss this chance of watching it on the big screen with all your family & friends together…………. preferably not in 3D.
(Bobby Sing)
(For all like-minded friends interested in reading more unknown facts about SHOLAY, please click the following links to amaze yourself.)

"Sholay" (1975) - A Fact File on the Cult Classic (Part One - Before the Release)

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03 Jan 2014 / Comments ( 6 )
Thanks for sharing that golden past Bobby.
Keep the good work going.
Bobby Sing

The pleasure is all mine Rajni.
Keep Visiting and Writing in.



Thanks Bobby Sir....Even I had reservations of watching this 3D release....as changing a 2D movie to a 3D one has never been as successful. Original 3D is different and a pleasure to watch..Even when I watched Don 2 on 3D...I was disappointed...3D should be totally 3D,,,not in tits and bits..

Thanks for sharing ur views...Would like to watch it on 2D instead of 3D as you have mentioned they have tampered with the background score...

Bobby Sing

Thanks for sharing your honest views too Shiraz and yes though it has some adulteration in it but still remains an experience in itself to watch it on the big screen after all these decades.
Keep Visiting and Writing in,

Thayyib Ahmed

An honest and sincere opinion of Sholay by Bobby Sing. I really enjoyed it, remembering the days it was originally released. Every nuke and corners of India it was discussed enjoyed by the masses. I really miss that period.

Same way I would ask you write about the movie "Bobby" as well, it was one of the most popular movies of that era... you may remember.

Bobby Sing

Thanks a lot for your kind appreciation Thayyib Ahmed.
And I will certainly try to write about BOBBY too soon.

So keep visiting and writing in,

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