Basanti of `Sholay’ gets a namesake in NepalFebruary 16th, 2009 - 9:33 pm ICT by IANS
Kathmandu, Feb 16 (IANS) Decades after she won rave reviews playing Basanti, the chatterbox village belle with unparalleled skill in driving her horse cart, Bollywood icon Hema Malini has received an unexpected tribute.
It comes in the form of a similar cart that has just started service in Sunsari district in the Terai plains along the India-Nepal border that has been named after her film persona.
“Basanti, the tongawali of `Sholay’, is still on much as people’s lips today as she was in the past,” Nepal’s leading daily Kantipur said Monday in a front page report.
After its tuktuks and micro-buses, Nepal now has Basantis too, a new maverick three-wheeler meant for public transport that has begun its run in the southern district ravaged by the Kosi river last monsoon.
Barring the blue colour, Sunsari’s Basanti resembles the tonga driven by Hema Malini in the 70s classic film “Sholay”.
While car czars are bound to look down on the contraption, conservationists would welcome it since it is made of motorcycle parts salvaged from the scrap heap.
Unlike Hema Malini’s unforgettable cart, Nepal’s Basanti runs on petrol.
It is the poor man’s steed in the Terai where passengers have to pay only NRS 10. Earlier, they had to use cycle rickshaws to cover the same distance when it cost them five times the amount.
Sixteen Basantis have started plying on the broken road connecting the district headquarters Inaruwa town with Bhandabari village with the permission of the village authorities. The drivers have been trained to ride these feisty three-wheelers.
With the world going through a period of recession, the daily said locals were keen to have more Basantis on the road since they mean low investment and higher profit.
But how did the new public transport come to be named Basanti? After all, in the film, the horse was called Dhanno.
However, despite spirited performance, Dhanno obviously did not have the same charisma as yesteryear’s “Dream Girl”. Hema Malini’s persona in “Sholay” remains evergreen in people’s memory, be it in India or abroad, whereas many have forgotten Dhanno.
“Sholay came to our mind,” says Mahadev Shah, a local. “We discussed the way Basanti had driven her cart and it was decided unanimously that the new vehicle should be called Basanti.”
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Tags: blue colour, classic film, conservationists, contraption, czars, district headquarters, hema malini, horse cart, kantipur, kathmandu, kosi river, motorcycle parts, namesake, rickshaws, scrap heap, spirited performance, steed, three wheeler, three wheelers, unparalleled skill