Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Of Sholay and Sambha
The lines “arre o Sambha” (hey Sambha) bring back instant memories to a whole generation of Indian moviegoers.
The person they were addressed to, perched on a craggy rock toting a rifle, played a miniscule role in the film but his character went on to be one of the most loved of our times.
When “Sambha” (or Macmohan as he was known off screen) passed away on Monday, we lost one of the iconic characters in “Sholay” and also one of the few remaining character artistes in our films — the ones who would always be the villain’s cronies or the neighbourhood doctor who announces that the heroine is pregnant.
I think Ramesh Sippy’s “Sholay” was the huge hit it was partly because of the “repeat value” dialogues it had — so many of them.
Right from “Ye haath mujhe de de thakur” to my favourite “Tumhara naam kya hai Basanti”, there were such gems throughout the film.
And even today, these lines will be repeated whether at a dinner party or in any casual conversation you might have, in any context.
So many people love this film for its action and the character of Gabbar, but for me the comedy in “Sholay” will always remain top-class.
The scene where Jai speaks to Basanti’s aunt about Veeru’s marriage is hilarious and Amitabh’s deadpan expression makes it even funnier.
Of course, the 70s and 80s did have some really memorable lines, but even though I can think of many lovely lyrics, I cannot really recall a dialogue I have found repeat-worthy in recent times.
Perhaps it is best to look back in the past for some things.
Which is your favourite “Sholay” line? And your favourite Hindi film dialogue?