(YouTube Streaming, December 2019) I wasn’t too sure what to expect from Sholay—my understanding of pre-1990s Indian cinema at this point is fragmentary and overly coloured by the spectacularly dour nature of Satyajit Ray movies. To my happy surprise, Sholay ends up being a crowd-pleaser of the first order, blending genres and situations to create a deeply influential cornerstone of popular Indian cinema. The great Amitabh Bachchan has a young man’s role here, and the film is unusually accessible to western audiences with a good understanding of the western genre: In between train robberies and prison sequences and villagers that must be defended against bandits, if often feel as if we’re on a grand tour of other movies, but made sufficiently different by the Indian setting to be interesting. However, be prepared for a long sit. A very long sit: clocking in at somewhere around three hours and a half, Sholay is also representative of the often-excessive duration of many masala movies. But if you time your snack breaks correctly, the film is a joy to watch during its best sequences, and it’s still surprisingly accessible to modern North American audiences.