ZEE5 The Sholay Girl movie review: A passionate bow to Reshma Pathan

Bidita Bag and Reshma Pathan at the THE SHOLAY GIRL premiere (image courtesy : ZEE5)
Bidita Bag and Reshma Pathan at the THE SHOLAY GIRL premiere (image courtesy : ZEE5)

ZEE5 The Sholay Girl movie review: A passionate bow to Reshma Pathan

THE SHOLAY GIRL movie review is here. The biopic on Bollywood’s first stunt woman Reshma Pathan, started streaming on ZEE5 on Women’s Day – March 08 2019. Starring Bidita Bag in lead, the biopic is directed by Aditya Sarpotdar. Lets find out how inspiring is the biopic on Reshma Pathan in THE SHOLAY GIRL movie review.

Any unforgettable moment
Yes, during the climax when the real life Reshma Pathan walks accepting the applause from people gathered around her, acknowledging the gesture with a graceful nod, the moment is undeniably haunting and unbeatable. Today the world knows who saved Basanti aka Hema Malini in the evergreen cult masterpiece SHOLAY from Gabbar’s evil men, it was not Dhanno, it was that fearless, brave and supers strong Reshma from the slums of Aamchi Mumbai that gave moments of pride, arch light, love and honour to our greatest heroines and remained unseen/unheard.

The story of THE SHOLAY GIRL
It’s the real life story of Reshma Pathan – Bollywood’s first stunt woman double played by Bidita Bag. It traces the journey of Reshma – the oldest of three siblings from a street stunt performer in Mumbai to the famous Sholay Girl who performed the iconic horse cart scene in SHOLAY where Hema Malini yells – chal dhanno, aaj teri basanti ki izzat ka sawal hai’ minus one wheel and one leg – the other one terribly injured while performing the same stunt before in reality. How Reshma enters the male bastion of stunt man, fights for her survival in Bollywood and makes her own mark forms the crux of this passionately uplifting story that definitely needs to be told.

Screenplay by Faizal Akhtar, Shrabani Deodhar and Aditya Sarpotdar make sure that the biopic is in sync with the reality of Reshma and the fiction of cinema. When stunt director Asim (Chandan Roy Sanyal) spots the extraordinary qualities of Reshma who is jumping and leaping around for char aana (a quarter of 1 rupee), He becomes her mentor and introduces her to the world of Bollwood cinema where she can showcase her talent, earn more, fulfill the desires of her family but cannot claim and talk about her contribution. Life of a stunt artiste is filled with danger and Reshma willingly agrees. A line in the movie says, “ hum who aag hai jisse koyla tap kar sona banta hai or nikharta hai duniya ke saamne, sab sone ki baat kartein hai, aag ka jikar koi nahi karta’ (rough translation : we are the fire that burns coal into gold and make it shine brightly in front of the world, making everyone talking about the glow of the gold but no one talks about the fire that made it possible).

This amazing contrast, the hard truth about Reshma in particular and stunt artiste is general is brought convincingly hitting the right chord and infusing respect for the woman who risked her life at every shoot, every day for her family and the superstars of her time.

Bidita Bag’s performance in THE SHOLAY GIRL
No matter what happens to Bidita Bag after THE SHOLAY GIRL, the actress leaves a lasting impression that will haunt for years. As Bollywood’s first stunt double Reshma Pathan, Bidita lives her character with complete honesty where she excels like a pro who is always eager to learn and explore. Be it breaking glasses, running on fire, by says, “ Ha guruji’ with a smile to her mentor Asim and when it comes to bash those rowdy neighbors who pass lewd comments, she turns the merciless destroyer.  Excellent.

Chandan Roy Sanyal performance in THE SHOLAY GIRL
The gifted actor Chandan Roy Sanyal is known to getting into the skin of the character like a chameleon and here he uses his characters persona as a prop to add nuances to his role. Effortlessly done.

Aditya Sarpotdar’s direction in THE SHOLAY GIRL
Aditya Sarpotdar makes sure that the biopic pays respect to Reshma Pathan and values her contribution. Aditya Sarpotdar approaches this one with dose of reality and fiction in equal measures. The director is bang on target by opening the movie with Ramesh Sippy’s 1975 cult evergreen masterpiece SHOLAY and then peeps into the reality from the lens of fiction. The director succeeds in making THE SHOLAY GIRL a uplifting saga that runs on emotion, fear, class struggle, gender inequality, exploitation in reel and real marvelously and ends this tribute as a passionate bow to Reshma Pathan.

The problems faced by the industry and the exploitation of junior artiste/stunt artiste, work condition, the lack of professionalism, the ‘star’ culture, bias, favoritism etc, are just touched upon and not gone further deep to make a cinematic statement. The makers prefer to follow a feel good approach. Plus the running time of 106 minutes is less to project the real life of someone like Reshma Pathan and the worlds around her.

Final words
THE SHOLAY GIRL is a brilliantly performed passionate bow to Reshma Pathan – Bollywood’s first woman stunt double. The story of a woman ( the invisible hero) who added all glory to our favourite heroines and preferred to be mum in telling her story.

Rating 3.5/5

Movie Cast & Crew
  • Actor: Chandan Roy Sanyal
  • Actress: Bidita Bag
  • Director: Aditya Sarpotdar
  • Release Date : 08 Mar 2019
  • Movie Duration : 1 hrs 46 minutes