The storyline & characters
The screenplay of ‘Sholay’ was originally a 4-line story created by writer duo Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar. They first approached director Manmohan Desai with it, but he declined, saying he was working on ‘Chacha Bhatija’ at the time.
Some of the characters in ‘Sholay’ were based on the Salim-Javed’s friends and acquaintances. Jai and Veeru were Salim Khan’s college friends. Thakur Baldev Singh was the name of Salim Khan’s father-in-law.
There was actually a dacoit named Gabbar Singh in the 1950’s in the Gwalior area, who used to cut off the noses and ears of policemen. There was a real life Soorma, after whom Jagdeep’s character, Soorma Bhopali, was named. He was a forest officer from Bhopal.