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Ultimate Bollywood » Soundtrack Reviews » 1975
Sholay
Starring: Sanjeev Kumar, Amithabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini
Music: R D Barman
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

Sholay

August 15, 2005 marks the thirtieth anniversary of one of the great Bollywood films of all time: Sholay. Desiclub brings you a look inside this timeless soundtrack that will make you want to rush out to your local Desi store to purchase a copy (that is if you don't already have it in your collection).

Sholay is everybody's all time favourite movie, because it has a little something for everybody. The movie reaches out to people on a large scale because it has key elements of comedy, action, romance and memorable lines that make you want to watch the film over and over again. Like the film, the movie's soundtrack is equally diverse and appealing, which also keeps you coming back for more. This soundtrack has everything from a slick Wild West inspired theme song that reminds you of classic John Wayne films; a fast paced toe tapping song about the strong bonds of friendship with "Yeh Dosti Hum Nahin," sung by Bengali singing legends Kishore Kumar and Manna Dey; an exuberant song that captures the spirit of Holi in "Holi Ka Din," sung by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar, "Koi Haseena Jab" sung by Kishore Kumar, which makes you feel like you're a part of the movie and then there are two of my all time favourite songs "Aan Jab Tak Hai Jaan," sung by Lata Mangeshkar and the timeless "Mehbooba Mehbooba" sung by Rahul Dev Barman. Aside from the movie's amazing soundtrack, the song depiction is equally solid and captures each actors screen presence.

Sholay the Soundtrack:
Sholay's theme song is a slick Wild West inspired track that captures the essence of the film. The song starts with a low strumming of an acoustic guitar then crescendos with the sound of violins. The low key strumming of the guitar reminds me of Amithabh Bachchan as Jai because it depicts his cool, yet aloof attitude and the crescendo of the violins, reminds me of Dharmendra as Veeru because of his boisterous personality. The common element throughout the theme song is that the instruments interlude each character's personality. You can tell by listening to this song that RB Barman carefully chose instruments when composing the score.

Following the movie's Curry Western title track, is the up-tempo tribute to friendship "Yeh Dosti" sung by Manna Dey and Kishore Kumar. "Yeh Dosti" is a fun song that not only makes your feet tap, but leaves you whistling its tune. Listening to the song is great but doesn't compare to watching the crazy antics of Jai and Veeru on their motorbike equipped with a side car. The funniest part of this scene is where Jai and Veeru's sidecar separates from the motorcycle and veers off on its own then miraculously attaches itself like nothing happened. Watching Amithabh and Dharmendra interact in this song sequence had me singing along to the words and had me doubled over with laughter.

"Holi Ka Din" is the film's third song, which not only captures the essence of Holi (a Hindu festival of colour), but the romantic interaction between the protagonists. The song is sung by Kishore Kumar (Veeru) and Lata Mangeshkar (Basanti), who are interacting with each other throughout the song and also focuses on the non-verbal chemistry centred on Jai (Amithabh) and Radha (Jaya Bhaduri). Jai's cool and sarcastic persona changes in this dance sequence because it's the first instance where you see a softer, more vulnerable side to his character. In the midst of dancing up a storm during the Holi festivities, Jai stops in mid step as soon as he sees Radha watching him from a hill top Mandir. Watching them stair at each other gives me goose bumps because it's charged with longing and unspoken words of love. The visual element in this song is filled with contrasts because on one hand you have Basanti and Veeru's public displays of affection versus the more silent and subtle interaction between Jai and Radha. There's also a distinction between the song's mood because it starts out with the village bustling with life because of it's festive atmosphere then shifting towards a more dark and destructive setting with visual elements of fire and explosions caused by Gabbar Singh and his men. Even though "Holi Ka Din" is one of Sholay's more light hearted songs, this song is important to the plot line because it actually moves the story forward instead of being tossed in without reason, which is the case in Bollywood's current films.

Following "Holi Ka Din" is one of my all time favourite songs "Mehbooba Mehbooba." This track may be the third song appearing in the film, but often appears on many Bollywood compilations and is one of the industry's best tracks of all time. Music composer R. D. Barman lends his vocals to this Gypsy inspired track that not only oozes musically with sensuality, it also has dancing legend Helen seducing the audience with her sensual moves. This song also demonstrates how songs add to the story line instead of appearing out of nowhere because Helen and her Gypsy companions are in on Jai and Veeru's plot to destroy Gabbar Singh's camp. Like "Holi Ka Din" this song also ends with explosions because Jai and Veeru counter attack.

The film's forth song, "Koi Haseena" is one of Kishore Kumar's classic songs and also demonstrates Dharmendra's perfect comedic timing. Kishore Kumar's vocals are smooth and sexy, which is in perfect contrast to Dharmendra as Veeru's unconventional methods of trying to impress Basanti (Hema Malini). Watching this song sequence always makes me laugh because it's camp at its best. Everything from the perfectly synchronized footsteps of Basanti's horse Dhanno to the well planned sound effects of the train and the crack of Basanti's whip. This song is also super cute and captures the light hearted nature of the film.

The final song appearing in the film "Aan Jab Tak Hai Jaan" is a powerful song that demonstrates Hema Malini's talent as Bollywood's Diva on various levels. This song is a visual treat because it showcases her dancing ability and also demonstrates the character of Basanti as one of Bollywood's most powerful females. In this song sequence, Hema Malini as Basanti, defiantly dances on broken glass and thwarts off the lewd advances of Gabbar Singh and his men to save the love of her life, proving that she is strong enough to defend herself against one of Bollywood's most memorable villains. Her character proves that not all of Bollywood's beautiful leading ladies are incapable of defending themselves and their men. Once again, this dance sequence is perfectly timed with screen shots and musical notes that make this film a cinematic masterpiece.

Sholay's soundtrack is a must have to add to your CD collection. It's a short six song soundtrack that perfectly sums up the ambience of the film. Together R. D. Barman and Anand Bakshi create a memorable soundtrack that is celebrated thirty years after its initial release. Aside from its original masterpiece, DJs and Desi singers have remixed tracks from the soundtrack by adding their own spin to this classic film. Before you go off to your local Desi music shop to buy this soundtrack, here are some artists who have remixed tunes from Sholay:

MIA vs. Sunit: "Gallang remix" (featuring samples from "Mehbooba Mehbooba")
Bombay Vikings: "Yeh Dosti"
Bally Sagoo: "Mehbooba Mehbooba"
Asha Bonsle: "Mehbooba Mehbooba"

5 out of 5 bindis - Its Amazing!!

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