Actor Adil Hussain was yesterday years old when he discovered that the massacre scene in Sholay is a faithful copy of the one in Sergio Leone’s Once Upon A Time In The West. In a tweet (is it time to say X yet?), he wrote: “Ha ha, who would have thought that portions of the most watched/admired films in India will be a copy of this film below. Probably you already knew that? But (I) didn’t.” He attached a clip of the scene in question from Once Upon A Time In The West.
Adil Hussain didn’t name Sholay but he didn’t need to – the two scenes are practically identical. In Sholay, as any desi film fan knows, Gabbar Singh kills Thakur Baldev Singh’s family while he’s away. The scene is almost frame by frame identical to the massacre of the McBains in Once Upon A Time In The West which released in 1968, seven years before Sholay.
A still from the massacre scene in Once Upon A Time In The West
Adil Hussain’s post received several replies, some from those who hadn’t known either. Others, who had known, added trivia – for instance, director Sergio Leone was considering retiring from making Westerns but wanted to make one with Henry Fonda cast in a negative role (he plays Frank, the Gabbar Singh analogue). One response pointed out that Sergio Leone himself was inspired by Akiro Kurosawa’s samurai films.
See Adil Hussain’s post here:
Ha ha… Who would have thought that portions of one of the most watched/ Admired films in India will be a copy of this film below… Probably you already knew that!? .. But didn’t.. pic.twitter.com/jeIad77Gs5
— Adil hussain (@_AdilHussain) July 31, 2023
Sholay, directed by Ramesh Sippy, remains a landmark film in Indian cinema. It’s no secret that several Westerns inspired the movie – For A Few Dollars More, for instance, in addition to Once Upon A Time In The West. Many of Sholay‘s elements are very much its own, however – the characterization of Gabbar Singh and the loss of Thakur’s arms, among other twists.
Watch the Sholay massacre scene here:
Sholay starred Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra as Jai and Veeru in roles similar to the ones played by Charles Bronson and Jason Lombard in Once Upon A Time In The West. Sanjeev Kumar played Thakur, Amjad Khan immortalized Gabbar Singh. Sholay also cast Hema Malini and Jaya Bhaduri as Basanti and Radha, the love interests of Veeru and Jai. In Sergio Leone’s film, Claudia Cardinale plays the pivotal role of Jill McBain.
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