ZEE5’s The Sholay Girl: Movie Review
Actors: Bidita Bag and Chandan Roy Sanyal
Director: Aditya Sarpotdar
On the occasion of Women’s Day, 8th March’ 2019, ZEE5 decided to release THE SHOLAY GIRL, which is a biopic on Bollywood’s first stunt woman Reshma Pathan who played Body double to Hema Malini in the movie ‘Sholay’ as Basanti during an epic scene (more on that later). The role of Reshma Pathan is performed by Bidita Bag and the film is directed by Aditya Sarpotdar. Bidita Bag has previously worked in movies namely, ‘Babumoshai Bandookbaaz’, ‘Once Again’ and ‘Page 16’. Coming back to the title, in the evergreen masterpiece Sholay, there is a scene where Gabbar’s men follow Basanti, she asks Dhanno to run ferociously and that scene was enacted not by Hema Malini, but by fearless Reshma Pathan who rose from the slums of Mumbai to become India’s first stunt woman.
Who is The Sholay Girl?
The movie narrates the real-life story of Reshma Pathan who was the oldest sister of three siblings and was Bollywood’s first stunt performer. During the 70s, the concept was stuntwoman was relatively new. Also, being a stuntwoman was not an easy task as the male domination was predominant and the being a stuntwoman was underrated. The Iconic horse cart scene in movie SHOLAY was performed by her and she had faced terrible injuries in one leg while performing a stunt. The movie narrates the fight for survival by a strong and fearless stunt woman in the male-dominated industry and how she made her mark by performing various stunts courageously. Reshma Pathan played body double to Hema Malini in the famous scene where Hema Malini had goons following her and she yells-“Chal Dhanno, Aaj Teri Basanti ki Izzat ka Sawal Hai”. She performed the stunt on one leg on the horse cart that had only one wheel. This passionately uplifting story will engulf all the viewers with its emotions and it is a tale that certainly needs to be voiced.
Taking inspiration from Reshma’s life, the screenplay of The Sholay Girl by Shrabani Deodhar, Faizal Akhtar and Aditya Sarpotdar do justice to the real story. Reshma Pathan was spotted by Stunt director Asim, who performs stunts on streets only for 25 paise, but he becomes her mentor and helps her become a stunt woman in Bollywood so that she can earn more by showcasing her talent. The job is fameless and thankless and most of the times filled with unexpected dangers but Reshma agrees to do the stunts without any fear. The Sholay Girl clearly portrays the hard work and harsh truth of the lives of stunt artists and hits the right cord by making the viewer’s respect the woman who risks her life during every shoot.
Bidita Bag has done justice to her role as The Sholay Girl and leaves an everlasting impression. Bidita lives the character of Reshma with great ease and holds our attention when she is on screen. We hope to see her on screen more often. Talking about Chandan Roy Sanyal, he gets into the skin of the character. As the stunt director Asim who discovers Reshma, his character is a major driving force in Reshma’s journey. Basically, he is a treat to watch on the screen, like always.
Director Aditya Sarpotdar’s direction:
The director values the contribution of Reshma Pathan to the film industry and pays respect to the woman through this biopic. He approaches the movie with a combination of fiction and reality and shares moments from many prominent Bollywood from the yesteryear. This gives eagle-eyed viewers a lot of scope to find those movies. Also, he succeeds in infusing issues like poverty, exploitation and gender inequality organically into The Sholay Girl and ends the movie with a passionate bow to the fearless stunt woman.
Talking about the technical aspects, the cinematography of the movie is good, bringing back the 70s era with great ease and we can feel the nostalgia of those Golden times of Hindi cinema while watching the movie. Also, the background scores are good and fit well with action sequences performed by Bidita Bag. Emotional scenes are also edited well with the right music in place, touching our hearts in the process.
In short, The Sholay Girl is a must watch and worth a subscription for ZEE5. So, go ahead and watch it today. We promise you will admire the courage of this valiant stunt woman.