The audio-visual hangover of Gabbar Singh played by nonpareil actor Amjad Khan in ''Sholay'' (1975) is immortal—Gabbar aaj bhi zinda hai, insists the movie director, Ramesh Sippy. How right Sippy is, as recently Akshay Kumar playing an anti-hero social crusader character in the movie titled ''Gabbar is Back''.
Stalwart actor Dharmendra who played the romantic toughie Veeru in that cult classic film, had way back in the past, shared with this correspondent that he was toying with the idea of remaking ''Sholay'' with his son Sunny Deol playing the role which he portrayed and Abhishek Bachchan as Jay. But then he was faced with a crucial casting crisis—as to who from the young generation would be perfectly right to play Gabbar's monumental character.
Ultimately the plans fizzled out. But what may be observed is that it seems a near impossible task to get a gen-now bankable actor, to match up to the sadistic glory of the dreaded dacoit gang boss.
Hats off to superstar Amitabh Bachchan for his historic foresight in visualising the phenomenal popular potential of that dreaded negative character even before ''Sholay'' commenced shooting. That's because the ''angry young man'' of ''Zanjeer'' Big B, “pleaded with both Salim Javed and director Ramesh Sippy to let me play ''Gabbar''. But director Ramesh who was earlier considering Danny Denzongpa for that classic role, used his filmy acumen and eventually singled out Amjad Khan. The rest as they say is history.
Three decades later, when the adventurous director Ram Gopal Varma dared to cast Amitabh Bachchan in the modern bandit avataar of ''Gabbar'' called Babban Singh in his Aag (supposedly an urban rehash of ''Sholay''), the movie elicited a tepid negative box-office response. But in the process, Amitabh seems to have finally fulfilled his dream, although by default, of donning the dreaded bandit get-up on screen.