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|December 1, 1999||
Sholay II: a millennium gift from the Sippys
The film, one of the biggest hits in Indian history, remains popular till date for its punchy dialogues, story, screenplay, a haunting background score and songs. The characters from the film -- the menacing dacoit Gabbar Singh, the flamboyant Veeru, the magnificent Jay, the chattering village belle Basanti, the reticent widow Radha and the upright Thakur -- went on to become household names in the country.
Twenty-five years after Sholay hit the screens and became a cult film for generations to come, its makers, Sippy Films, declared their plans to make a sequel to the original film which would complement it in every way.
The announcement was made at a Press Conference in Bombay on November 30 by veteran filmmaker G P Sippy, patriarch of the house of Sippys, a premier production house in the Hindi film industry. He also announced a series of celebratory events that would unfold over the next 501 days. "We will soon embark on the project and create another masterpiece that will rival the first in every way, break and create as many conventions as did the first Sholay,'' he said.
Sippy added that it was his life's ambition to put before the people of the country another masterpiece which they will love and embrace as they did the first one. "I look to the next generation of Sippys -- Sascha and Shaan -- to carry the mantle forward and enable the recreation of the biggest and grandest story ever told on the screen. Sippy Films will continue to provide the biggest and the best action-packed entertainment to Indian audiences at home and overseas,'' he said.
Sippy also announced that the 25th anniversary of Sholay will be kicked off by a national talent search. Tentatively slated for January to March 2000, the talent search will identify the cast, direction and production team for the sequel. He said his company has commissioned 30 pieces of art on Sholay from the country's leading artistes to be exhibited during the 'Sholay World Tour' which will begin in October 2000.
Sascha Sippy, CEO of Sippy Films Ltd, recounted the Sholay phenomenon, saying that it's unprecedented 25-year-run has been the story of breaking records, with the highest viewership of any film in the world. It has chalked up the record of maximum shows, highest number of prints among Indian movies and continues to have over 110 prints in circulation even today. ''Such was the success of Sholay that it became the first Indian film to market its background score and dialogues,'' he added.
Ageing macho man Dharmendra, who played Veeru in the film, recalled fondly his association with Sholay, saying that the characters of film were immortal and had kept them young in the minds of generations that followed. ''Sholay is truly the film of the millennium,'' the star declared.
Actress Hema Malini -- Basanti in the film -- said that Sholay made the name Basanti stick to her and even challenged her off-screen name. "Twenty-five years is too long a period to rest on the laurels of one film and the film industry expects another one in the next millennium,'' she added.
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