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Birthday Special: Ramesh Sippy, The man who made many blockbusters but always be Remembered as Sholay wala


Jisne aur bhi filmein mein Banaayi, Lekin hamesha “Sholay Waale Ke Naam se Jaane Jayenge (UNKE JANAM DIN PAR) …… Ali Peter John

It is strange but true that some of the best directors have made several films during their lives, but are known the only one of their films best…..

Ramesh Sippy has made films like Andaaz, Seeta Aur Geeta…..

Ramesh sippy SholayMehboob Khan made other big films, but he is and will always be remembered as the maker of “Mother India” . K Asif too made films, but if he is known and will always be known, it is for ” Mughal E Azam” V Shantaram made some of the most colourful and magical films but he will best be known as the maker of ” Do Ankhen Baarah Haath”. Guru Dutt will always be known as the man who made “Pyaasa”. Yash Chopra made some of the best films but he will be known best as the director of “Silsala” Dr B R Chopra made classics as a filmmaker and if there is one film that will make him stand out it is “Sadhana” which marked the beginning of some of the most significant films and the TV serial “Mahabharat” and Kamal Amrohi will always be known as the maker of “Paakeezah

And Ramesh Sippy has made films like Andaaz”, “Seeta Aur Geeta”, “Saagar”,” Shaan” and other films and TV serials like ” Buniyaad”, but he is and will always be known as the maker of ” Sholay”.

The crowd inside walked out and spread the story about Sholay being a miserable flop and critics and trade experts said that the film would not even run for three days

Ramesh sippy SholayEveryone who knows anything about Sholay remembers all the many stories associated with it, but this is my attempt to remember August 15, 1975, when Sholay had its premiere at the Minerva Theatre in Bombay.

There was unprecedented excitement all over the theatre and even all around the country as the film was made over a long period of time and with some of the leading stars and a newcomer called Amjad Khan.

At 3 pm the excitement was at a new high, but people who were inside the theatre which included almost the entire industry wrote off the film even before the interval. And at 6 the crowd inside walked out and spread the story about the film being a miserable flop and critics and trade experts said that the film would not even run for three days and there was panic in the industry because Sholay was made on a very high budget and had stars like Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Sanjeev. Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan and the new villain Amjad Khan, besides all the technical and writing experts like Salim – Javed, Anand Bakshi. R D Burman and Dwarka Divecha and other well-known technicians.

Ramesh Sippy felt that they should wait till Monday before the reshoot and the team agreed

Ramesh sippy SholayThe team of the film was in a state of shock till the director Ramesh Sippy called an emergency meeting at Amitabh’s house and the meeting was attended by Salim – Javed, and Sippy besides Amitabh. They had a brainstorming session to find out what went wrong and it was decided to change the scene where Amitabh dies in the arms of Dharmendra. It was decided to keep Amitabh alive and to cut off all the scenes between Amitabh and Jaya as they realised that a reference to a widow falling in love was not accepted by the masses. It was decided to reshoot parts of the film on the same location in Rampur on the outskirts of Bangalore. The equipment was to be brought from Chennai and the reshoot was to start in two days which was a Monday. Soon after the emergency meeting, Ramesh Sippy felt that they should wait till Monday before the reshoot and the team agreed. And on Monday, the film was declared a hit and it ran for more than five years at a stretch. And the rest is history…

But a new story had begun for Ramesh Sippy, the Sholaywala. The success of Sholay had given him the inspiration to make another hit. And he started “Shaan”. Amitabh Bachchan was the only star from Sholay who was repeated in Shaan. The others were Shashi Kapoor, Parveen Babi, and Bindiya Goswami and Ramesh Sippy believed that he could create another Gabbar Singh and introduced Kulbhushan Kharbanda as the villain whose name in the film was “Shaakal” and introduced another new actor called “Mazhar Khan”. The writers continued to be Salim – Javed. The film had to face many hurdles and the worst was when Parveen Babi fell for the charms of Mahesh Bhatt and his guru, U G Krishnamurthy and not only left the country but also left Shaan in the lurch. She came back or was forced to return to shoot for the film, but this Parveen was only a shadow of the Parveen before she left India.

Ramesh sippy SholayThe film had almost the same kind of premiere, but the Ramesh Sippy magic had failed in the very first show. Sholay could rise after being declared a flop, but Shaan was left to die in many ways. And the two men who were affected the most were Ramesh Sippy and Kulbhushan Kharbanda who was so positive about making it like Amjad that he had already raised his price and had all that it took to be a star. But all that was not to be …..

It is more than 45 years now and Ramesh Sippy has made some other films, including a film with Salman Khan when he was still struggling to find his place. But Sippy is still known as the Sholaywala Ramesh Sippy. The iconic director who made Sholay was said to be rejected by a corporate company when he approached it to support him in making a film. And the man who made Sholay last made a film called” Simla Mirch”. He now lives a retired life with his wife Kiran Juneja and is sometimes seen as a part of some jury and at award ceremonies…


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