By: Gaurav Malani, IndiaFM
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
There are movie launch parties, movie completion parties, audio releases and success celebration parties. But when it comes to Ram Gopal Varma, the man is hatke even for his offscreen antiques. He goes out all the way to have a grand celebration party just to unveil the look of one character from his film. And all this when he himself is quite uncertain who all will feature in the movie and how will the film be designed? It won't be wrong to say that Ramu's fascination towards one character (Gabbar Singh) and inclination to work with one actor (Amitabh Bachchan) has charged him enough to make a remake of the biggest blockbusters ever in Hindi cinema - Sholay.
"Everyone from Jaya Bachchan, Hema Malini to Lata Mangeshkar didn't want me to remake Sholay", says RGV. But nothing has deterred the man from going ahead. After months (or was it years?) of speculation and announcements, Varma finally consolidated his long proclaimed dream of remaking Sholay with a grand event at a suburban hotel in Mumbai on Saturday evening. Manmohan Shetty of Adlabs Films (that is financing the project) along with Ram Gopal Varma and Amitabh Bachchan himself were present at the event. As the stage flipped to unveil a mega poster of Amitabh Bachchan in the getup of the modern age Gabbar Singh, the camera flashes and media glares went bonkers. "The look somewhat reminds of Amitabh's getup from the film Deewaar - Let's Bring Our Heroes Home" , whispered a media-person. Had it been any other celebrity, he would have been victimized for the over-hype. But being what he is, Amitabh Bachchan just walked away with all the accolades. With tall boots, rugged stained clothes, a muffler around the neck and a slit-scar on his nose, Amitabh Bachchan resting on a couch, sports an unclean yet attention-grabbing look as Gabbar Singh. Green is the tone of the film. "Watch out for the scorpion stick", says Rajiv from Marching Ants who has worked on the look of this Gabbar.
Life has come a full circle for Amitabh Bachchan. "30 years back when I was first narrated the script of Sholay, I wanted to play Gabbar Singh. But Ramesh Sippy had a different character (Jai) in mind for me. After 3 decades I get to relive my dream by playing Gabbar Singh in Ram Gopal Varma Ke Sholay" , says the Big B. "The original Gabbar - Amjad Khan was a very good friend of mine. Let's see how much of my friendship reflects in my performance."
How scary will the modern Gabbar be? "I don't think Gabbar was scary. We all loved him when we moved out of the theatres", RGV puts forth his way of looking at the iconic screen villain. Why a Sholay remake? "I have learnt my filmmaking from this film. I have grown up watching this movie. We all have. This is my way of paying tribute to the most inspiring films of Hindi cinema", explains Ramu though he doesn't credit the makers of the original anywhere in his tribute speech.
But will Amitabh Bachchan who played the good guy in the original film be able to pull off a bad man in the remake? Aren't we all used to see him as the angry young man fighting for a good cause in films? Ramu has his own unique way of looking at this question. "We all know how humble and modest Amitabh Bachchan has been all his life. But somewhere I feel there is a lot of repressed negativity behind his humility. I will try my best to use this negativity in favour of my Gabbar Singh".
As expected, the filmmaker isn't willing to reveal any more details about the film be it it's remaining cast, crew or technique of execution. So skeptics can still continue the argument whether Ramu will remake Sholay? But despite his two films being on floors - Nishabd (again starring Bachchan) and Darling and a lineup of productions in the making, Sholay is the project RGV is most excited about. (Somebody should learn multitasking from him).
However, if at all the cynical media is subsequently convinced that the film is being made, they can debate on - will the director have a self-obsessed title like 'Ram Gopal Varma Ke Sholay' or change it consequently.