Recalling his own brush with censorship, Sholay director Ramesh Sippy told the audience at the Pune International Film Festival (PIFF) how he had to change the ending of the iconic film because the Censor Board did not quite take to the end envisaged by him. Sippy (70), who was awarded the ‘PIFF Distinguished Personality Award’ at the festival, made the revelation while being interviewed by Dr Jabbar Patel, during a PIFF Forum at the Raj Kapoor Pavilion.
The Kapoor brothers — Randhir, Rishi and Rajiv — inaugurated the Forum on Friday.
When an audience member asked Sippy about his views on the censorship situation in the country, the director spoke about his own experiences with the Censor Board, before Sholay was released during the Emergency, in August 1975.
“I had shot a different ending for Sholay, where Gabbar is killed by Thakur. But they (the Censor Board), didn’t allow that. They were not happy about Thakur killing Gabbar with his feet. I was also caught in a sticky situation… how else would Thakur kill him? He couldn’t have used a gun since he had no arms. They were also unhappy about too much violence… they said ‘you have to change the end’. I wasn’t happy, but I did that,” said Sippy.
The veteran director also cautioned that adding sex and violence to films, unnecessarily, didn’t work at the box office. “Those who copy others tend to do that. But it doesn’t work,” he said.
Sippy also accused the media of sometimes “misleading” and “creating a controversy to sell papers”.
On the Indian film industry today, Sippy said, “I don’t agree with those who say today’s films lack good content. There are many directors who are making excellent films… take Rajkumar Hirani for example. Today’s youngsters have a lot more exposure than we did… technology has advanced and it’s helping filmmakers.”