The late actor, who played Soorma Bhopali in the blockbuster Sholay (1975), produced a hilarious spoof on the iconic Gabbar Singh in Ramsay brothers’ classic horror film Purana Mandir .
My Mayur Lookhar
Oh our horror movies of the yore. Yes, they gave us some chills, but the archetypal Ramsay horror flick had its share of comedy too. No we are not referring to the poor ghostly visuals, but often a Ramsay brothers production witnessed a comedy track within the film. This track had no real connection to the original plot, but it was simply implemented to lighten the mood, give you a break from the eerie chills.
Tulsi Ramsay’s Purana Mandir  saw a hilarious spoof on Gabbar Singh – Amjad Khan’s iconic character from Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay . Ramsay had no Gabbar but a Machhar Singh, played by actor Syed Ishtiaq Jafri, better known by his stage name Jagdeep. The veteran actor passed away on 8 July, 2020. He was 81.
Interestingly, Jagdeep had played the popular character Soorma Bhopali in Sholay. Purana Mandir saw a memorable spoof on Sholay. Gabbar Singh was turned into a Machhar Singh. Thakur turned into Murdaar Singh [Rajendra Nath] and the late Lalita Pawar gave Hema Malini’s Basanti an altogether different twist.
Remarkably, when Purana Mandira released, Pawar was 68, Nath 53, while Jagdeep was 45. In those days, a film was shot over a period of two-three years. So take away few years of their ages when the film was shot.
Though a dacoit, but Machhar spent most of his time stalking Basanti, while the un-armed Thakur sought revenge and ensure the safety of Basanti and other women in the village. Mind you, Thakur, too, had a crush on the old lady.
Machhar had a bounty of Rs15,000 on his head. Unfortunately, trivializing rape, stalking was a sad reality then. Ignore that aspect but this spoof evoked plenty of guffaws. Machhar means mosquito in Hindi. And like a mosquito, Machhar kept buzzing around Basanti. Anand [Puneet Issar] captures Machhar and gets his reward of Rs15,000. The outlaw is about to face the gallows, but the very man who caught Machhar also helps him escape the noose. Anand has no empathy towards Machhar but he senses a good opportunity to make some killing by capturing and then plotting Machhar’s escape. Each time he does it, each time he pockets Rs15,000. Machhar gets his freedom and a quarter from the bounty.
Well, the bounty has been doubled and so is the mode of the punishment. This time, Murdaar Singh has vowed to put Machhar in a cage with a black bear. As expected, the ”black’ bear led to a pun on Kaalia, – Viju Khote’s popular (side kick) character in Sholay. [Kaalia is a derogatory term used to mock people of dark complexion]
Well, unfortunately for Machhar, things don’t quite go as planned. At the end of this comedy sequence, Murdaar Singh and the audience are left with their jaws dropped.
Watch the funny Sholay spoof in Purana Mandir below.