Posts Tagged ‘Sholay’

Column by Usha Marhé

Sholay. This movie about courage, friendship and love made quite an impact on me, when I first saw it as a little girl at the age of ten. Because of that, it probably always will be in my top three shortlist of favourite Indian movies. The song ‘Yeh Dosti, Hum Nahin Torenge’ (This friendship I will never break) is an ode to the true depths of real camaraderie, or to say it in a hipper word: brotherhood. Sholay was a big success and also the movie that was Amitabh Bachchan’s breakthrough with an international audience. The combination of his tall, lean body, his thick black luscious looking hair and the code of forgotten honour he brought so well through his roles in movies made women fall for him by bundles. For men he was their new role model: they wanted to be (as) him, also to enhance their success with women. Amitabh sure brought new life to romance.

I saw the movie in a cinema with the name De Paarl (The Pearl), in Paramaribo, the capital city of my birth country Suriname. The management had to put extra chairs in the walking isles between the seats. Too many tickets were sold: they didn’t want to disappoint the crowd that put on their best clothes to go meet & greet in the cinema on this Sunday afternoon. Because that was what going to the cinema mainly meant in Suriname, before the curfew of military dictator Bouterse in the eighties, in combination with the arrival of the then new video player, destroyed many of the cinema’s and the social life it brought to the city. Cinema De Paarl has been rebuild and now houses dancing Zsa Zsa Zu. But then long rows of pretty dressed grown ups and children stood in front of the ticket boot, almost every weekend. It was wise to come earlier, so you could be sure to get a ticket. Also, you had the time to meet friends and family, to buy soft drinks or chips. Or if the movie was in the chique Cinema Star or the then new and hip Cinema City, enjoy the feeling of being in the cinema, standing in the hall.

Can you imagine how I felt, when I had the chance to interview Amitabh himself, in the Krasnapolsky Hotel in Amsterdam, about seventeen years after swooning as a ten year old in De Paarl? Never imagined or dreamed that this ever could or would happen; it’s almost indescribable how all kinds of experiences and environments came together, in those moments. That day I finally concluded that I had made a good move travelling the road of journalism. As a remembrance of the interview I have four black and white pictures caressing the walls of my home: two of me with my Amitabh, and two of him alone. My piece was published in a national Dutch paper, and was reprinted in Suriname’s daily paper De Ware Tijd; it was certainly big news that one of Suriname’s own journalists had an encounter with this idol. After Sholay he became The Big B.: a trademark for Indian cinema, a gauge for success. In the later years of his career he started making social committed movies like Black with Rani Mukherjee. You can say a lot about him, but not that he is a dull person. He lives life to his fullest potential.

A while ago I found a small cinema in Amsterdam, where I can programme movies now and then, especially Indian ones. A month ago I started with Laaga Chunari Mein Daag (with Rani Mukherjee). Sholay is on my shortlist. Meanwhile, I have met people from different cultural backgrounds (Iran, Marocco, Turkey, India, The Netherlands, Suriname, etc.) but with one love: Indian cinema. And to be more specific: for Sholay. One day we will sit in the dark and travel the road to memory lane together, make Basanti (Hema Malini) soften our hearts, be impressed again by that dirty low down bastard of a criminal Gabbersingh (Amjad Khan). We all will long for that moment where Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra playback their song ‘Yeh Dosti, Hum Nahin Torenge’ and smilingly listen to this ode to friendship. Maybe, this time, with tears in our eyes. Because all these characters have become our beloved friends. And because now we already know how the story of this friendship will end. ♥

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