When a powerful script and impeccable acting come together, it makes a movie worth remembering. Add good music to the mix and you have got yourself a classic like Sholay, a movie still regarded by many as Bollywood’s quintessential masala movie.

The movie recently celebrated 46 years of its inception. On that occasion, many remember the multitude of stories that surround the movie.


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One such incident is the casting of Amitabh Bachchan as the pivotal character of Jai. Originally, the character was Shatrughan Sinha’s to portray. During an episode of Aap Ki Adalat in 2018, Dharmendra had said, “I’ve never spoken about this, but since Amitabh has started saying that I helped him get the role, I’ll say it: Yes, I did help him get the role. He used to come to me. But originally, the role was going to Shatrughan Sinha.”

When approached by Sinha, being questioned about the decision, Dharmendra revealed it was only a matter of being approached first. “Yaar, kuch samajh nahi aata, woh pehle aaya, socha chalo bechare ko de do (I don’t know, he came to me first and I thought the poor guy should get it).”

When it comes to matters of casting, the casting of the antagonist was not very straightforward. Ramesh Sippy, the one to have written the movie along with Javed Akhtar, was convinced that they had found their perfect villain in Khan on their first meeting. But there was some pushback on the decision to cast him, apparently, not everyone could find confidence in his voice. Nevertheless, Amjad Khan went on to star as Gabbar in the movie and went on to make Gabbar as distinct as we know him today.

Moving forth to the romance between Hema Malini and Dharmendra’s that blossomed on the sets of Sholay. Film critic Anupama Chopra recounts in her book on the film, Sholay: The Making of a Classic. Apparently, Dharmendra would mess up romantic scenes with Malini on purpose, just so they would have to re-enact them again. When Chopra finally asked filmmaker Ramesh Sippy about this, the director said that he had no idea, but was happy to know that his epic film also founded a real-life Bollywood love story.

Dharmendra already has a sequel in mind, with Abhishek Bachchan and Bobby Deol making the focal cast.

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