Bengaluru: Who knew that the towering granite cliffs, a mere 50 km from Bengaluru, would become such an iconic part of Indian cinema? It was here, in Ramanagara, 44 years ago, that the menacing dacoit Gabbar Singh, the 'Thakur' who lost his arms to him and the lively Basanthi made their way into Indians' hearts, as the cliffs provided the backdrop for the Bollywood blockbuster, Sholay.
The memories are fresh in villagers' minds and it appears they're likely to stay for a while too. The walls of Ramanagara railway station are covered with scenes painted from the film, a promotion effort by the Railways. It began with a drive to keep the walls clean and ended with the station paying silent tribute to the iconic film. The idea was very well-received by passengers, who want the effort replicated at other stations too, says a railway officer.
"The cleanliness drive is aimed at discouraging people from spitting and urinating against the walls of the station. Painting them with scenes from Sholay helps promote cleanliness and also gives the locales of the area a boost. Everyone knows about Sholay and it's time for the new generation to realise that it was shot in Namma Ramanagara," says a senior railway official.
The station's Sholay makeover has spiced up the locals' lives! Vinayaka, a resident, says, "Even now, famous line spoken by Gabbar Singh, like Arre O Sambha, kitne aadmi the and Tera kya hoga, Kaalia are repeated and remembered across the country. Now, the railways department is making sure the world knows Ramanagara's association with this memorable film."
So proud is the town of its association with the film that the hillock, Ramadevara Betta , where it was shot, is now popularly called Sholay Betta. The fabulous view from the hilltop is worth the 350-step climb as all locations made famous in the movie are visible from it....