Sholay | Chicago Reader

Sholay

Voted the most popular Indian film ever in a British Film Institute poll, this 1975 revenge epic by Ramesh Sippy has been called a “curry western” for its hysterical visual style and Sergio Leone frontier setting, though various scenes also recall Stagecoach, The Great Dictator, and High Noon. A police inspector hires two happy-go-lucky con men to capture a vicious bandit, and much of the action—there are stunts and chases galore—takes place in a remote village menaced by the bandit and his gang. The tone alternates between slapstick and melodrama, and Sippy occasionally sneaks in some populist messages. The plot is formulaic, the camerawork is slapdash, the male bonding borders on camp. The saving grace is the singing and dancing, especially the imaginatively staged festival of colors. With Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, and Amjad Khan. In Hindi with subtitles. 204 min.

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