In 1975, director Ramesh Shippi’s ‘Sholay’ was one of the iconic films of Indian film industry. The film which became a pop-culture phenomenon within just a year of its release was ranked no.1 in the British Film Institute’s 2002 list of ‘Top 10 Indian Films’ of all time. It was also crowned as the ‘Best Film of 50 Years’ by the Filmfare Award jury in 2005.
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who portrayed iconic character ‘Jai’ in ‘Sholay’, on Thursday recalled the time when the ace director waited 3 years to get the “perfect light” for a particular sequence in which he and Jaya Bachchan shared screen space.
Abitabh Bachchan reveals “I wonder if you remember a scene in ‘Sholay’ where Jaya (Bachchan) had to light a lamp in the corridor and I am sitting in the outhouse playing the mouth organ. There was particular kind of lighting that was required for the shot. Our DOP Mr Divecha was keen to take the shot at the time of sunset. You would not believe that Rameshji spent almost three years before we finally got that shot.”
“Every time we would go to enact that sequence, something would not be right with the lighting. And Rameshji said ‘until we get a correct light, we are not going to shoot this’. We waited for three years for one flash of a shot for the film,” the 73-year-old actor added.
This is not the only instance of Ramesh Sippy’s obsession over getting all details right. The entire song Yeh Dosti, which is almost 5-minutes-long, took twenty one days to be shot. According to the book Sholay, The Making of a Classic by Anupama Chopra, the scene where Gabbar Singh, the film’s villain, kills the imam’s son took 19 days to be shot while the train robbery sequence was shot for up to seven weeks.
Praising the director producer, Amitabh said: “Rameshji is a great motivator, a wonderful technician, a teacher who takes care of his artists on the set. Before enacting a sequence, he sits and talks with the actor. He discusses and takes the view of an actor. He has the all-wonderful qualities, which are required to make better cinema.”
“I wish all the very best to him for this initiative. It will be going a long way. The institute is going to be an important element of cinema in our country,” he said.