Though there were a number of films on dacoits and ‘thakurs’ earlier, Sholay was a different genre in films altogether. Its unprecedented success broke all records and in some theaters, the film ran for as long as one whole year (3 shows, daily).
Sholay was a multistarrer. Top stars like Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri dotted the film, but it was the new actor Amjad Khan who walked away with the honor of immortalizing ‘Gabbar Singh’ in our minds.
Two convicts and small time crooks (Amitabh and Dharmendra) are picked by Thakur (Sanjeev Kumar), a former police officer, to seek vengeance on the dangerous bandit Gabbar Singh (Amjad Khan) because he killed all of Thakur’s family (except a daughter-in-law) and maimed Thakur for life.This was a result of an earlier incident in which Thakur — acting as a police officer — had captured Gabbar and helped in his conviction in the court. Gabbar managed to escape and wreaked havoc in Thakur’s life. Now Thakur seeks the help of these two crooks to get Gabbar. The ensuing action makes for one of the most exciting Indian movies made to date.
Sholay had a string of extremely fine performances by all the actors. It is very difficult to pinpoint on any one of them, saying he or she was the best. Whether it was Amitabh or Dharmendra, Hema or Jaya in her brilliantly essayed cameo, or the towering Sanjeev Kumar as the ‘thakur’. They surpassed their own credentials.
Helen’s special dance number ‘Mehbooba Mehbooba’ is an all-time rage and is crucial in giving the cabaret dancer the epithet of Indian Cinema’s Golden Girl