It was on October 2, 1973 that Sholay was officially launched and exactly 40 years later Ramesh Sippy was interviewed at Ramanagaram, Karnataka by The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta. Ramanagaram was where most of Sholay was shot. Here are some snippets from the interview, as we chronicle parts of what Ramesh Sippy said:
On Sholay remake, sequel, parodies and 3D
...I think a classic like Sholay should be where it is. In 40 years, it's still remembered. I know, you can make a lot of money doing so. But what is the point in making a film which has still not been forgotten. Somehow, it doesn't feel right.
I don't think there's anything wrong in people remaking or doing sequels or all that, but somehow I don't think that Sholay is a film that should be touched.
On Sanjeev Kumar dying young
It is true. It was, unfortunately, a family thing. Everyone in his family had died young. He was, of course, another great guy, who loved his work and was superb.
All the films that had been made on dacoity and banditry before this were made in the Chambal valley - be it Ganga Jumna, Mujhe Jeene Do, even the Raj Khosla film, Mera Gaon Mera Desh.
I felt, let's make it different. Ram Yedekar was out art director. Being influenced by western cinema, we talked about those big boulders and things like that. He said,"I think I know just the place." He came here, took a lot of photographs and showed them to us later.
Although I would definitely say that every aspect of the film went into the making it an all-time classic, it cannot be denied that the iconic figure in the film has to be Gabbar. His dialogues sold more than the music of the film. People were mesmerized.
On the Sholay phenomenon
It's almost impossible to explain what the phenomenon is. It happens. The entire team of Sholay went about trying to do their best. But for it to have turned into this...we could not have imagined it at that time. Today's generation is as much aware of Sholay, as of the other films around them.