Filmmaker Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay, which was released in 1975, is perhaps the most popular film in the history of Indian cinema. The film starred actors Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra and Amjad Khan in lead roles. But did you know that a scene from the film, in which Gabbar Singh (played by Amjad) kills Ahmed (played by Sachin Pilgaonkar), was cut by the Central Board of Film Certification citing ‘extreme cruelty’. Also Read: Dharmendra calls himself only bad actor among ‘talented’ Sholay team: ‘To me it was just a picnic’
A picture of the scene was also shared by a cinephile Instagram account on Wednesday. In the photo, Gabbar is seen holding a hot iron rod as he grabbed Ahmed by his hair.
In the deleted scene, Gabbar is seen resting when one of his henchmen tells him, “This guy is from Ramgarh. He was going to the station and we found him on the way.” Gabbar then yells, “Aray sunn rahe ho tum log? Yeh Ramgarh walon ne gaon chodh kar jana shuru kar diya hai (Did you all listen? The people of Ramgarh have started vacating the village now).” Ahmed replies, “Aap mujhe jaane dijiye (Please let me go).” Gabbar then asks Ahmed if he knows him. “Do you know me? I am Ramgarh’s father,” he says.
Gabbar asks him to bow down in front of him, but Ahmed tries to hit him. An angry Gabbar then says, “Tadpa tadpa ke maarunga (I will give you a painful death),” and kills Ahmed by stabbing him in the eye with a hot iron rod.
Reacting to the scene, which was cut from the film, one person commented, “Good they deleted it. Would have killed the movie’s subtlety.” Another fan wrote, “This scene has shown in countdown show in Doordarshan, by Sachin, call Ek Do Teen, and even Sachin spit on Gabbar face.”
In 2018, at the 16th Pune International Film Festival (PIFF), Ramesh Sippy recalled how in the 50s and 60s, The Censor Board had more power than the film’s director. He said, “These days, the board has begun to call itself the board of film ‘certification’. Lekin pehle they were the censors, and how! Those were the days of Emergency. Our hands were tied; we could show almost nothing. And going purely on merit, what the censors objected to in Sholay was that it had a lot of violence. But I argued. Do you see actual blood and gore anywhere in the film? It is in the context of the story, I told them. We wanted the impact, we said. And they caught me there, they said, ‘yes, it is the impact we are talking about’.”
Ramesh also talked about how he had to change the ending of the film. Sholay ends with Gabbar Singh being handed over to the police instead of being killed. Ramesh added that Central Board of Film Certification told him “we will tell you how to end the film.”