Friday, May 26, 2006

Sholay: A History in Letters

Dariya Mahal, Colaba
18th August, 1975
Dear Geeta –
Sanjeev-bhaiyya and I went to see a cinema yesterday at Minerva theatre in Tardeo. The name of the picture was Sholey. I was wanting to see “Prem Kahani” again but Sanjeev bhaiyya said me that this is a new picture by the director of Andaaz. What a romantic picture (XXX to my sweetie Rajesh Khanna) that was! So I went with him even though Rajesh Khanna was not in this picture.

I started feeling sick after the first scene only!!! Thousands of dacoits attacked a train and bullets went dhichkao-dhichkao all around the place. I counted 13 murders in that scene only before I fainted.

The story is also very tragedy. A dacoit kills the family of a police inspector and cuts off his hands. To take badla, he hires two thieves. They come and kill the dacoit.
The thieves are Dharmendra and new actor called Amitabh. The police inspector is Sanjeev Kumar, who is very good. He has a widow bahu, who is Jaya Bhaduri (of Mili) but she has very small role. Dharmendra’s girl-friend is Hema Malini and they also have very few love scenes. And the villain (a newcomer actor called Amzad Khan) has such a strange sing-song voice I can’t tell you. He does not have personality like Pran and Prem Chopra – and I think this will be his last picture only.

Please do not watch the picture when it comes to Bangalore. Number one, it is very long. Number two, it is very sad ending. Number three, it is very flop movie because in entire dress circle, there are not even twenty people.
Of twenty people, only Sanjeev bhaiyya was jumping in his seat and shouting, “How the West was Won” “Seven Samurai” all though the movie. He is becoming very English after returning from London. He is always saying Indian cinema is copy from English cinema. But after this picture, he said, “First world class movie from India”. I am thinking he is going mad only!
Write soon…
Your loving friend –
Seeta

* * * * *
DATE: 18th August, 1975
TO: AMARESH BANERJEE, BHAWANIPUR P.O. CALCUTTA
FROM: SANJEEV KOHLI, FOUNTAIN P.O. BOMBAY

PLEASE WATCH FILM “SHOLAY” AS SOON AS IT RELEASES THERE. AMAZING FILM. I THINK EVEN YOUR RAY WILL LOVE IT. REGARDS.
* * * * *
Barharwa, Bihar
20th July, 1977
My Dear Prakash –
We are all very pleased to hear that your business is going very well in Bombay. With the extra money order you have sent us, we are buying one more calf from the cattle-mandi next month!
But we are very confused to know how you can sell tickets to a bioscope at higher price than the printed price. I hope you are not doing anything illegal.
Your mother is hoping this bioscope will run for one more year so that we can keep adding calves to our shed! The illiterate woman does not know bioscopes do not run more than a week in the big cities.
Anyway, let me end with blessings to you.
Babuji.
PS: You wrote “Jai Shri Gabbar” on the head of your letter. Who is Shri Gabbar? Is he a Maharashtrian deity?

* * * * *
20th November, 1978

To
The Distribution Department
Yashraj Films

Dear Sir –
This is in response to your enquiry regarding the booking of Minerva Theatre for the release of your new film “Noorie”.
We regret to inform you that the collections of our present film are such that we are not in a position to take it off in the near future.
We thank you for your interest and hope to be of your service sometime in the future.

Yours truly,
Manager – Minerva Theatre

* * * * *

Dear Ramesh –
Congrats on the 25 Years of Sholay. You never really made another film like that one!
Feroze

Dear FK –
Neither has anybody else.
Ramesh
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