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The rehashed character sketch of RGV's <i>Sholay</i>

By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Friday, November 03, 2006
Ram Gopal Varma's Sholay is no more Sholay. It's something else altogether. According to extremely reliable sources Ram Gopal Varma has entirely revamped, refurbished and re-dressed almost all the immortal characters from Ramesh Sippy's historical epic.

In fact the relationships that bound the memorable characters in the 1975 epic have also been completely moved around to suit the dark contemporary underworld milieu where Ramu has situated his film.

The mute widow-in-white Radha played by Jaya Bachchan in the earlier kitsch-classic is now named Devi. And she no longer wears white, but sparkling black. According to Ramu's Sholay she's no longer the Thakur's silently grieving daughter-in-law but the Inspector Ranveer (Mohanlal) 's brother's widow.

Ramu's Devi, a trained nurse, is far more aggressive in her desire for revenge than Radha could've ever been. Her relationship with one of the two mercenaries who are hired by Ranveer to exterminate the gangster and his goons, also takes a course quite different from Sippy's Sholay.

Hema Malini's extroverted loud tangewali Basanti in Sholay transforms in Ramu's Sholay into Ghungroo, to be played by Nisha Kothari, the only female auto-rickshaw driver in Mumbai who throws attitude like a male but is actually all feminine at heart. Deviating completely from Basanti's tonga and horse Dhanno, Ghungroo's auto which she has named Laila in Ramu's film is going to be a state-of-the-art creation. Says a source, "Ghungroo's tonga will be an art-director's nightmare. It would contain several hangings , multi-speaker music system with synchronized disco lights , leopard print upholstery and a large image of Durga, all within the confines of the miniature auto."

Most interestingly, while the widow Radha and the outspoken and flamboyant Basanti never came together in Sippy's film (because Hema Malini never wanted to be seen anywhere near Sanjeev Kumar who played the widow's father-in-law, as Sanjeev had proposed to Hema ), Devi and Ghungroo are very close friends...a cinematic subversion that cheekily echoes Paro and Chandramukhi's unprecedented bonding in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas!

Apart from these characters the two male protagonists Jai and Veeru are also being seriously revamped and modified to suit the requirements of Ramu's new-age Sholay. Says Ramu, "So far I hadn't decided the personality and look of the girls. I feel Devi and Ghungroo are the women of today. There's no Radha or Basanti in my film. My two heroines Devi and Ghungroo are best friends."

Ramu's Sholay is about an encounter cop who's on a massive hunt for a gangster. In retaliation the gangster kills the cop's brother, leaving his wife a widow. This cop and his widowed sister-in-law live in a part of Mumbai where the gangster terrorizes the residents to evacuate the space so that a builder can build a shopping mall. The cop takes the help of these two jobless out-of-towners.

Ramesh Sippy would find it hard to recognize his Sholay in Ramu's film.

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