SHOLAY was released on 15 August, 1975 at Mumbai’s Minerva theatre and over 100 cinema houses across India.
The younger generation may not be aware that SHOLAY was India’s FIRST movie that celebrated a silver-jubilee (25-week run in a single theatre) in its initial release in over 100 cinema halls across India. And what’s more it had to be forcibly withdrawn from Mumbai’s Minerva Cinema as the theatre’s employees threaten to go on strike after being wretched listening to the movie’s repetitive dialogues!!! The movie run to packed house for five consecutive years!
However what may further stun the readers is that on one hand while the movie broke all box-office records on the other hand the movie was declared a major debacle by the media critics in its first week!
In an interview Salim Khan (Salim-Javed fame, who co-scripted the movie) admitted, ”Yes it is true when the movie was released Bollywood trade pundits had written off the movie. In fact a series of analytical articles probing the reasons behind the failure of the movie were also published in trade magazines!”
Salim Khan continues, ”But I and Javed sahib were so confident of the movie’s success that in response to the negative reports we had published an Full Page advertisement in all the trade magazines declaring that the movie will gross Rs. 1 crore business in each territory of India!”
Readers may wonder was Salim Javed’s predication true? Salim Khan replied, ”Actually our predication too was wrong….. because the movie did not do 1 Crore business … but it did more than 2 Crore business in each territory of India!!!” According to a website the gross revenue of SHOLAY was Rs. 15,00,00,000/- and if calculated with today’s cinema ticket rates it would be a whopping Rs 162,97,00,000/- !!!
Another interesting fact that will come as a bombshell for the readers is that at the Filmfare awards SHOLAY was nominated in many categories but DID NOT WIN a single award in the popular category!!!
The only award it could fetch was in the technical category for M. S. Shinde as Best Editor. But ironically at the 50th Filmfare Awards, SHOLAY won the ‘Best Film of 50 Years’ award. Interestingly SHOLAY also was declared ‘Film of the Millennium’ by BBC India through internet polls in 1999.