By Subhash K Jha
BOLLYWOOD: Unarguably one of Indian cinema’s greatest films, Sholay released in 1975 is all set for a new release in the 3D format.
Producer Jayantilal Gada is responsible for taking Sholay to a new level. But without the director’s consent.
The technological conversion has not gone down well with this monumental film’s director Ramesh Sippy who has not only decided to dissociate himself completely from the project but also opted to take the producers of Sholay 3D to court .
Speaking for the first time on the issue, the softspoken Ramesh Sippy said, “My logic for taking the matter to court is very simple. No one asked me before converting my film to a new format. No one took me into confidence. There was no attempt to contact me. I read about it in the papers. I had no choice but to go to court.”
Sippy says he has no inclination to see Sholay converted into 3D.
“3D was available to me when I made Sholay. When I started work on Sholay, I had the choice of making it either in 3D or 70mm Stereophonic Sound. I chose the latter format. If I wanted to make Sholay in 3D, I would have done so.”
The filmmaker known for his landmark motions pictures, including Seeta Aur Geeta, Sholay, Shakti and Saagar, further adds, “I am against anyone doing anything to my film without my knowledge or consent. And the truth is I’ve gone to court on the issue. Therefore saying anything more on the issue would not be appropriate at this point of time.”
While Ramesh Sippy has decided to stay away from all activity related to the the release of Sholay 3D, Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar – who wrote Sholay – have been seen promoting the film.
Ramesh Sippy diplomatically skirts the issue saying, “I think the decision of participating or nor participating should be left to them. I honestly think it is up to them.”
The master storyteller has reconciled himself to the 3D version of his film being released ultimately. “I guess it will see the light of day. But before that I hope the court assures me that the new format is not detrimental to what I had made. My main objection is to not having been consulted or taken into confidence. I mean, copyrights and all that are matters to be dealt with in court. But there is a basic ethic where a director’s work cannot be tampered with without his knowledge.”
Ramesh Sippy has not entirely lost hope.
“For all we know, they may have done a great job …I don’t know. They will make money out of whatever they’ve done with my film. I never interfere with the business aspect of any film. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be taken into confidence. Until I see the final product, I don’t know what they’ve done.”
Ramesh Sippy is hurt and offended by the lack of initiative shown by the 3D-conversion force in getting him on board.
“Nobody tried to ask my opinion on the 3D. Forget the business side, this is unethical. Ultimately it’s the honorable court’s decision. But whatever the legal outcome the pain of someone superseding my creative decision over my work cannot be taken away. Sholay is my work. It’s my creation. You can’t take it away from me. The passage of time has revealed its staying power. The fact that 40 years later someone can convert it into 3D says it all.”