'Sholay' was screened on DVD without subtitles, rues Hema

Jul 30, 2007 Subhash K. Jha

Mumbai, July 31 (IANS) The scarcity of proper prints to honour Bollywood stars at international retrospectives has a come to light once again. Ramesh Sippy's historic potboiler "Sholay" almost couldn't make it to the retrospective of Hema Malini's films at the Bangkok International Film Festival.

Remembering the unfortunate incident, Hema told IANS: "They screened 'Sholay' on a DVD and without subtitles. Nobody could get a hand on the print. So they just blew up the DVD print and projected it on the screen.

"Nowadays, every Hindi film is immediately subtitled. I guess it wasn't so easy back then. We need to do something about this right away."

In 2005, Bollywood icon Amitabh Bachchan had to abandon the idea of taking "Sholay" for a retrospective to the Lincoln Centre in New York. He, however, had refused to allow the film to be screened on a DVD.

It's generally felt that the authorities need to get more alert over the ready availability of films for such retrospectives.

"My brother handled the whole thing here while the embassy in Bangkok monitored everything from there. Our Indian ambassador Lata Reddy in Bangkok took very keen interest in my retrospective.

"It was very difficult to locate the prints of my films. Now that the Hindi film industry is becoming popular all over the world, we need to have a bank of every artiste's films ready for international events. The authorities should take every artiste into confidence and select 10 of his or her best films."

The 10-day film festival started on July 19 in Bangkok. The Thai papers are crammed with complimentary reports on Hema's sojourn.

"The reports were very flattering. All part of my past glory," she laughed. "A retrospective means I'm part of the past, right?"

The festival was organised in a centrally located multiplex.

"But I left Bangkok after 'Sholay'. Indians came from all over South Asia. And they seemed quite excited to see me. There were many big stars from Asian cinema."

Now she's back in Chennai.

"I went to meet my daughter in Pondicherry where she's shooting for a film called '123'," said Hema who might have another retrospective in Moscow in September.

"The Russians are very fond of my films like 'Alibaba Aur Chaalis Chor' and 'Seeta Aur Geeta'. I wonder if I'll be able to get the prints!"

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