December 27, 2007


G. P. Sippy, Indian Filmmaker Whose ‘Sholay’ Was a Bollywood Hit, Dies at 93 (HARESH PANDYA, 12/27/07, NY Times)

The Indian filmmaker and director G. P. Sippy, whose 1975 blockbuster “Sholay” (“Embers”) remains the most famous Hindi movie and the biggest commercial success for Bollywood, died on Tuesday in Mumbai. [...]

Directed by Mr. Sippy’s son Ramesh, “Sholay” revolutionized Hindi filmmaking and brought true professionalism to Indian script writing. Written by Mr. Sippy’s favorite scriptwriting team, Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar, “Sholay” was loosely styled on “The Seven Samurai” and “The Magnificent Seven,” and has been called India’s first “curry western.” In “Sholay” two close friends who are small-time thieves are recruited by a former police officer to fight a ruthless bandit leader. Its stirring score is by Rahul Dev Burman.

On its release, the film ran for a record 286 straight weeks at the Minerva Theater in Mumbai, then called Bombay. It also broke all previous earning records for commercial cinema in India. In 1999 BBC India declared it “the film of the millennium.” “Sholay” made Mr. Sippy and many of its cast members — including Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri and Amjad Khan — into some of Bollywood’s biggest stars.

Though “Sholay” consolidated Mr. Bachchan’s position as the king of Hindi actors, it was Amjad Khan, playing the ferocious villain Gabbar Singh, who stole the movie.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 27, 2007 8:33 AM
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