How time flies! Or should I say - how it blazes! It has been almost four years since I had posted an article that all but betrayed my excitement on the existence of Sholay (Original Cut). To take the happy story forward Veersen Savant alias Spiral Smoke (Unless he has quit smoking) gifted me the VCD of the same rare version back then. Here is my verdict on the much heard original cut.
The Ahmed-Gabbar scene
The version we see ends with dread. Ahmed is brought before Gabbar. The villain eyes an ant and crushes it, thus effectively conveying Ahmed's fate. We can see why the original cut was edited out, it feels out of sync and repeated.The scene is better left unsaid, there lies its cinematic subtlety.
Post the ant killing, Gabbar mocks Ramgarh's fleeing citizens and demands that Ahmed rub his nose at my feet. At Ahmed's silent refusal and lunge towards Gabbar, the chief of bandits hits Ahmed and stops his men from shooting him. He hols an iron spear is one hand and in another Ahmed's hair and menacingly promises him of a torturous death. Cut to Ahmed's dead body arriving in Ramgarh, strung sideways on his horse.