May 11, 2010

The little I knew about Sholay's 'Sambha'

You will ask me what has this blog to do with Ground Reality? Well, I don't know myself. But it is just that I couldn't resist talking about veteran Bollywood side-villain MacMohan. As you all know by now, he passed away on Monday in Mumbai.

I had once interviewed him when I worked for the Indian Express, and was posted in Shimla. This was in the late 1980s, and MacMohan was shooting for a Hindi film in Kufri. In fact, he was quite surprised when I walked upto him, introduced myself, and showed my interest to talk to him. "Are you sure you want to interview me?" he asked me. When I said I want to, he replied: "It was my dream to be interviewed by Indian Express, and I knew one day it would happen."

I don't know why, but I had always felt intrigued by his popularity hanging on just one dialogue. Even my journalist colleagues were surprised when I told them about my keeness to interview MacMohan. But I stood my ground. I don't know if anyone before or after him has been immortalised for just a small sentence. As far as I remember he also couldn't explain how come that one sentence: "Poorey pachaas hazaar", took him to that height that no one else in Bollwood can ever claim to have achieved.

Not many would know that MacMohan too found it difficult to shop in Shimla or Mumbai before being mobbed. Don't forget, he wasn't even a villain. He was simply a side-villain. But there was something in his personality, especially his bearded face, that somehow stood in your mind. People would throng him wherever he went. The next day, after the interview appeared in Indian Express, we went for a small stroll on the mall in Shimla. We could only walk a few steps before we had to turn back simply because we wanted to avoid the crowds.

Well, I am not sure if I am incorrect, but MacMohan could not achieve what he dreamt about. I remember he telling me very clearly that his biggest dream was to emerge from being a side-villain to a villain. He wanted to carry a Bollywood film on his shoulders as the main villain. Please correct me if I am wrong. Since I am not a movie buff I could have easily missed his achievement.

My sincere condolences to the departed soul.



MacMohan

Sholay's 'Sambha' passes away
http://www.thehindu.com/2010/05/11/stories/2010051161950100.htm

Mumbai: Veteran Bollywood actor Mac Mohan, immortalised in the role of Gabbar Singh's sidekick Sambha in Ramesh Sippy's 1975 blockbuster Sholay, died here on Monday.

The actor breathed his last at the Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital in suburban Mumbai. He was suffering from cancer, according to hospital sources.

Mac Mohan, who started his career with Haqeeqat in 1964, acted in over 175 films in a memorable career spanning 46 years.

He shot to fame as the gun-toting dacoit Sambha in Sholay. After that he never looked back and essayed countless villainous roles in films like Don, The Burning Train and Satte Pe Satta.

“No one could have suited Sambha's role better than Mac Mohan. He will always be remembered by that role,” Mr. Sippy told PTI.

Amjad Khan's conversations with him are among the most favourite dialogue from the film. Mac Mohan is asked by Amjad Khan, “Arrey o Sambha, kitna inaam rakhe hain Sarkar hum par?” (Hey Sambha, what is the reward the Government has placed on my head?) And prompt comes Sambha's reply, “Poorey pachaas hazaar (altogether Rs.50,000)”.

Javed Akhtar, who penned those famous lines, says only Mac Mohan could have done justice to them. “The way he sat on the hillock, overlooking Gabbar's den, was a sight to behold,” said the seasoned writer-lyricist.

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