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'It's difficult to accept Sholay's recreation'
Swati R Chaudhary | August 22, 2007 16:17 IST
From copyright issues to his characters' names, the film has been beset with problems and it looks like brickbats will continue to fly as it nears its release, next Friday, August 31.
But then Ramu is known to swim against the tide and the nonconformist in him is on the prowl yet again!
The cast of Aag has undergone a metamorphosis of sorts. Gabbar Singh (Amitabh Bachchan [Images]) is now Babban Singh, Thakur (Mohanlal) is now Narsimha, Jai (Prashant Raj [Images]) is now Raj, Veeru (Ajay Devgan) is now Heero, Basanti (Nisha Kothari) is now Ghungroo, Radha (Sushmita Sen [Images]) is now Durga Devi and Sambha (Sushant Singh) is now Tambhe.
The famous tanga is now a flashy autorickshaw.
Apparently, director Ramesh Sippy, who directed Sholay [Images] in 1975, is not too happy with his film being remade and is not willing to budge from the 'no comments' stance he has adopted.
"I have refrained from talking about this issue for the past one year because if I start talking, it will create a controversy. I simply don't wish to discuss this subject," he stated categorically.
Sippy's Sholay is undeniably an inherent part of our cinematic lexicon. Amjad Khan rose to fame with the role of Gabbar Singh and will always be remembered for his awesome performance. Gabbar's 'Arre O Samba, kitne aadmi the is still fresh in our minds 32 years later.
However, Ramu maintains that Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag is not a remake of Sholay. It is merely his interpretation of the timeless classic, the director says.
His decision to recreate the film has stirred a hornet's nest, thereby outraging millions of Sholay loyalists. Hema Malini [Images], who essayed Basanti, has already recorded her dismay at Sholay being remade as has her husband Dharmendra [Images], who played Veeru, and Jaya Bachchan, who played Radha.
Asha Bhosle [Images], who sang Mehbooba Mehbooba, has also expressed her disapproval. "I am quite disgruntled with Ramu's idea of remaking Sholay," she said. "After seeing Sholay it seems quite difficult to accept its recreation because a remix is a remix and an original is an original."
"Dekhiye Taj (Mahal) to Taj he hain na, uske jaisa toh kuch nahin (There is nothing like the Taj Mahal, it is the ultimate)."
Nonetheless, she adds, "It may work, it may not work. And who knows, people may even like it."
Her husband Rahul Dev Burman composed the music for Sholay, and its songs resonate all these years later. Ramu has only retained Mehbooba Mehbooba in his version, sung by Sunidhi Chauhan with Sukhwinder Singh. Urmila Matondkar takes over from Helen.
Asha Bhosle was supposed to do the honours, but eventually, Sunidhi was roped in. Ashaji, incidentally, sang Mehbooba for Mallika Sherawat in Himesh Reshammiya's acting debut Aap Kaa Surroor.
Will Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag sizzle or fizzle at the box office? We will know next week.