1. Sholay (1975)
Alternative title: Flames of the Sun aka Embers
Director: Ramesh Sippy
Running time: 199 mins
Starring: Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Amjad Khan
Company: Sippy Films
Sippy pulls off every conceivable cinematic trick set to plan Bambaiya (Bombay cinema's mise-en-scene) to tell the story of two runaway thieves defending a village against dacaits (bandits). It was a case of the extraordinarily popular dacait film meets Sergio Leone. The cinematography was spectacular as were the crisp dialogues written by Salim-Javed and delivered with inimitable panache by all concerned. The film ran for years and the fans are still reciting the lines. Never had dustbowl India looked as glamorously menacing as during Helen-RD Burman's effortless cabaret of Mehbooba mehbooba set in the ravines of the Chambal. The film established Bachchan's reputation as India's No. 1 'angry young man' ushering in an era of leather jacket-clad superheroes swinging between motorbikes and horses. But the showpiece of the set was Amjad Khan's Gabbar Singh whose terror, it is rumoured, is still invoked by mothers to put their children to sleep.