Sholay as we all know is the biggest blockbuster Hindi cinema has ever seen. Released in 1975, the movie created box office history and its actors and characters are well known even today. Characters like Thakur, Gabbar, Jai, Veeru, Basanti, Kaalia, Sambha, Soorma Bhopali, Jailor etc. are household names and a stand up artist is considered incomplete unless he has some of these characters in his acts.
Sholay has affected the lives of every Hindi cine-goer and the actors and characters are popular even today
But apart from these mega characters, there were quite a few lesser characters made immortal by character actors and junior artists. These actors and characters were small yet so overpowering that it was very difficult for most of these artists to come out of their ‘Sholay’ character in films they did later. Some of them still continue to play their respective characters even today, 35 years after the film release.
A. K. Hangal played the character of Blind Imaamsaheb who loses his son Ahmed played by Sachin. A.K. Hangal has repeated his Imaamsaheb act in several other films after Sholay and almost copyrighted the blind-father act in Hindi Cinema. Keshto Mukherjee, Asrani and Jagdeep played Hariram Nai, Jailor and Soorma Bhopali respectively and they went on to repeat their acts in many of the film later to come.
Satyen Kappu played Raamlal , helper to Thakur, assisiting Thakur in virtually everything he does. ( Numerous jokes on that – not to be printed) . Mcmohan’s Sambha act and Viju Khote’s Kaalia act still haunts them in almost all of their subsequent films. Leela Mishra played the perfect Mausiji and repeated her loving chachi, mami, bua, maa act in films to come. Jalal Agha danced and played banjo in the most famous son of the film and was known more for that than any of his innumerable films to follow.
Little know artist Mushtaq Merchant was the luckiest actor of all, he got to do 2 different roles in the film. First as the train driver and then as the Parsibawa whose Bike the Jai-Veeru duo steal. Mushtaq went onto play many such insignificant characters in almost all his films and repeated the parsibawa act quite a few times. Small time comedian Birbal played role of a prisoner with half cut moustache. Even he repeaed this half moustache act in many of the films to come.
Apart from the above there were many small characters in the film made memorable by small time actors and character artists. I still remember Om Shivpuri playing the Policeman, Helen as the Gypsy Dancer, the actor playing the arms supplier Heera, Iftekhar playing Jaya Bhaduri’s dad and many more.