Kitne Aadmi The? Now Valley Gets Its Own Version
24 November 2007
The Indian Express
Budgam: Forget Ram Gopal Varma's Aag, wake up to Hamid Khan's New Sholay. Forget Ramgarh, say hello to Batopora. Finally, here's one Sholay remake that's making the right kind of news - in Kashmiri. More than 30 years after Ramesh Sippy's original stormed the country, a few months after Varma's hyped 'tribute' sank without a squeak, Khan's New Sholay, just three weeks old, is setting new sales records in Kashmir. Shot in the Valley's tourist hotspots, Kashmiri actors playing the lead roles, the dialogues and situations tweaked slightly to suit the local audience, New Sholay, is almost a copy of the original, says Khan. 'People in valley are crazy about Sholay. I have only translated the script in Kashmiri with some alterations'. Says producer Mohammad Shafi Akbar, now savouring the success of New Sholay at his home in central Kashmir's Gopalpora village: 'I am simply proud that my first endeavour is being appreciated by the people across Kashmir . Hardly three weeks have passed since its release and thousands of copies of the movie have been sold across the Valley. We are still getting orders from rural pockets.' With no movie halls, CDs and cassettes - those of New Sholay are selling at Rs 70 each - are the only way to watch movies in Kashmir. And, with all the major scenes filmed in Sonamarg, Yousmarg, Budgam and Ganderbal, Khan and Akbar say that their year-long effort to shoot the film, despite some obvious difficulties, have paid off. Obvious difficulties? Says Khan: 'At militancy-hit Yousmarg, security forces arrested us and seized our artificial guns. They thought we are militants.' But when they were told about the Sholay remake, the securitymen released the crew, provided cover, and even watched some of the filming. As for the actors, producer Akbar 'hired artists from different parts of the state' for the local flavour. And so, local star Nasir Khan became Veeru, Bhushan Bullori was Gabbar Singh and Renu played Basanti. 'All of them worked hard to make this a success,' says Akbar. Why, even local critics have begun to sit up. Says noted Kashmiri playwright and theatre personality Mohammad Amin Bhat: 'This is the first remake of a Bollywood film in Kashmir. And despite certain limitations, this effort is appreciable.'