Sholay (English: Embers) is a 1975 Indian action-adventure film produced by G.P. Sippy and directed by his son Ramesh Sippy. The film is considered by the Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema to be among the greatest films in Indian cinema. Released on 15 August 1975, it stars Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri and Amjad Khan. The film, shot in the rocky terrain of Ramanagara, Karnataka, is the story of two criminals hired to capture a ruthless dacoit by the name of Gabbar Singh. The film drew its plot heavily from the conventions of Western films.
When first released, Sholay opened to a tepid response, but as word-of-mouth spread, audiences gave the film a chance and soon it became a box office phenomenon, ultimately making it the highest grossing film of 1975 and the biggest hit of the 70's decade. It ran for 286 weeks straight (more than five years) in a theater in Mumbai and achieved a still-standing record of 60 golden jubilees (50 consecutive weeks) across India. It is the first film in the history of Indian cinema to celebrate a silver jubilee (25 weeks) in over a hundred theaters across India. By some accounts, Sholay is the highest grossing film of all time in Indian cinema when inflation is considered, although such figures are not known with certainty. The film ranking website Boxofficeindia.com has declared the film an "All Time Blockbuster".
The Indian Central Board of Film Certification initially mandated cuts of several scenes involving violence and death. As such, Sholay was released with a length of 188 minutes. After 15 years, the original director's cut of 204 minutes was made available by EROS International both on DVD and VHS tape. The Original director's cut has a different ending where Gabbar is shown to be killed by Thakur.There are other minor differences like in Censor Board Version torture of the character played by actor Sachin is completely missing. The music from the film was composed by R. D. Burman and became quite popular, with the songs topping a few music charts. Some songs have been remade by other artists and have appeared in other films. The dialogues themselves were also released to the public, which was not common at the time.
In 2005, Indiatimes ranked the film amongst the "Top 25 Must See Bollywood Films". The same year, the judges of the 50th annual Filmfare Awards gave it an award called Best Film of 50 Years. The film topped the British Film Institute's poll of "Top 10 Indian Films" of all time. Sholay topped Box Office India's list of "Biggest Blockbusters Ever In Hindi Cinema". A 3D version of the film is being prepared for release in 2012.