Actor Sachin Pilgaonkar has fondly remembered his work as a teenage actor in the 1975 blockbuster, Sholay, adding that director Ramesh Sippy actually gave him the chance to call the shots for a sequence.
“I was 17 years old when ‘Sholay’ was being made, but the work for the movie had started when I was 16. Before ‘Sholay’ happened, I was learning editing under the guidance of one of my gurus, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, a very renowned editor at that time, and we all know he went on to become one of the renowned directors. So, during ‘Sholay’, I would sit behind Ramesh Sippy sir’s chair and notice the way he directed, took each shot, cut, and edited them,” recalled Sachin.
“Meanwhile, Sippy sir observed me for a few days and finally asked me if I was interested in editing. I told him that I’d trained and worked for Hrishikesh sir for two years. I believe that it has been my sheer good luck that I had the chance to work with Hrishikesh da for ‘Anand’ (1971), the movie that I had cut the negatives for. Hishikesh sir used to say, ‘negatives Sachu baba katega’ (negatives will be cut by Sachin), he used to call me Sachu baba,” the Sholay actor revealed.
Sholay star Sachin Pilgaonkar added: “Then, Rameshji asked me if I could be one of the two people that he could trust for a certain action sequence of the film, as he could not be there for that part and wanted two representatives. I was overwhelmed and said, ‘How can I take such a big responsibility, I am just 17′. He said, ‘Age doesn’t matter and I see no relevance. You have been in this industry since you were four-and-half years old, I don’t look at you as 17 but as a 27-year-old professional’.”
The sequence in Sholay involved Sanjeev Kumar, Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan. “They were on the train, handcuffed. Only that part was shot by Rameshji and the rest of the action sequence was shot by Amjad (Khan) and I. I remember there was an action sequence where I felt that a bunch of logs exploding would really look good and have an impact on the screen. Rameshji really liked the sequence and patted my back. He has been so genuine and large-hearted,” said Sachin.
He remembered how stalwarts back in the day such as Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Meena Kumari, Balraj Sahni, Ramesh Sippy, and Guru Dutt gave opportunities to youngsters and always guided them.
The actor shared the anecdote while shooting for the Ganesh Mahotsav special episode on “India’s Best Dancer”.