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Sholay

September 5th, 2006 (10:49 am)

A letter to Sister Wakasa...


© 2006 D. Gordon

So I went to see Sholay, the Bollywood movie based on Magnificent Seven / Seven Samurai, yesterday.

I thought it was made early in the formation of Bollywood, and the film concentrated more on Indian influences than actually being a musical (I readily admit I know little about the history of Bollywood). I was wrong. There was singing and dancing. Lots of it.

I can see from an intellectual viewpoint the importance of the movie, and the audience for which it was intended, but... neither MS or SS are in danger of losing its status.

Think of The Magnificent Two as a musical, with the “love interest” plots more prominent than the bandit plot. That was kinda it (well, plus death-by-legs, which reminded me a little of the killer rabbit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail). AND it was 3 hrs and 20 mins. AND the woman two seats away kept messing with her feet (that had to be some compulsive thing to last that long, plus I think she might’ve been the same woman from the film festival last year who got into an argument with another woman for plopping her bare foot on the seat next to hers and messing with it until the women with that seat came), and the empty seats I could see from where I sat were by the loud senior citizens. 4 pm is probably not the best time to go see a movie.

Actually, the bandit chief was pretty good, and the chase scenes weren't shabby at all, even if they were a little staged (lots –LOTS– of people falling off horses). And if they’d stuck to the whole terrorizing-the-village thing, I probably would’ve liked it better. But they didn’t and I didn’t. It just wandered off in too many other directions. (I’m also a little sick, so that wasn’t helping either.)

Plus – the print was really in need of restoration (the movie dates from 1975), and the translations were done by someone who could communicate in English, but for whom English wasn’t a native language. So there was a little translation needed to read the subtitles.

I’ve seen a few Bollywood movies now, and I’ve enjoyed pretty much all of them (although the one I liked most was done by an expat Canadian,... so maybe that tells you something. I'm not a huge musical fan in general). But this came across more as “watch this because it’s good for you.” Blech.

Boy, I can’t discuss this with my coworker, who was all excited that I was going to go see this. %^{