When you think of great Hindi movies, one of the names that always comes to the front is the movie called Sholay, released in 1975. The movie seems like it was set in another age, it being now 35 years since it was released and became a huge hit; and is now a cult movie. If it comes on TV even now, you can be sure that there will be some people who will want to watch. And the movie created a set of characters who became incredibly famous, specifically the few characters of Gabbar (Amjad Khan), Thakur (Sanjeev Kumar), Jai (Amitabh Bachchan), Veeru (Dharmendra), and Basanti (Hema Malini), and the under-played role of Radha (played by Jaya Bachchan).
The movie took a chance, starring a newcomer in the pivotal role of the dacoit leader (Danny was the original choice, but he was unavailable, and hence a newcomer such as Amjad Khan was selected). The movie was based on a small idea by the prolific writer duo of Salim-Javed. And the outcome was a movie that broke all records, and became a cult movie known till today.
The movie was produced by G.P. Sippy and directed by his son Ramesh Sippy. Music for the film was given by RD Burman, with the lyrics provided by Anand Bakshi. During direction, the movie went over-budget, since the director wanted to be perfect in the shooting, and many of the shots took many takes and many days. The movie also had real-life relations between the stars, with Amitabh and Jaya getting married 4 months before shooting of the movie started, and Dharmendra romancing Hema Malini at that time. The movie took a period of 2.5 years to make. The movie also had an effect on tourism, with the location of Ramanagaram (a rocky terrain), a village near Bangalore, Karnataka being the shooting site, and being known later as the location where Sholay was shot.
The movie was based on the concept of revenge, where a local dacoit terrorises the village, and also takes revenge on the family of the local thakur. The Thakur in turn hires 2 small-time but brave crooks to come in to fight the dacoit and his gang, and this is what they do, but with some sadness, as one of the 2 loses his life in the end.
The movie takes these 2 small time crooks (Jai and Veeru) in a jail. They are remembered by an ex-policeman, the Thakur, when he is looking for somebody who can help him fight the dacoits (led by Gabbar). He had apprehended them, and then see how brave they were when they fought off dacoits who were trying to rob a train. He meets them, and offers them a large amount of money if they can get rid of Gabbar and his gang. Gabbar is a violent and brutal dacoit leader who is terrorising the villages.
In the first confrontation, three men from Gabbar's gang come to get supplies from the villagers, something that they do without any issue in the past. Now, however, they face a fight from Jai and Veeru and have to go back without any supplies; at which Gabbar cannot stand the sight of his men being humiliated in front of the village and shoots them after some drama (in a scene that was much appreciated). The next major attack is on Holi, during which Jai and Veeru are pinned down and are looking for Thakur to throw a gun towards them, but he does not cooperate. Later his story is revealed, where he had arrested Gabbar some time back, and then Gabbar killed all his family except for one daughter-in-law Radha (Jaya Bhaduri). And in another confrontation, Gabbar cut off both his hands leaving him without any hands.
So, the situation continues, with Jai and Veeru staying in the village, and getting fond of Radha and Basanti respectively. Gabbar has cut off the village from the outside, but they fight back by killing some of his men. And then the final confrontation, where the fight with Gabbar and his men take place, in which Jai finally dies.
Some interesting scenes from the movie:
Where Jai talks to Basanti's mausi and turns her against Veeru, and Veeru on the water tank:
Scene from the jail early in the movie with Asrani: