Perspectives on Violence on Screen: A Critical Analysis of Seven Samurai and Sholay

© Media Watch 10 (3) 702-712, 2019
ISSN 0976-0911 E-ISSN 2249-8818
DOI: 10.15655/mw/2019/v10i3/49695

Perspectives on Violence on Screen: A Critical Analysis of Seven Samurai and Sholay

Shipra Gupta & Swati Samantaray
Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, India


This paper traces the portrayal of violence in cinema through the ages taking into consideration two films from two disparate countries and cultures – the Japanese Seven Samurai by Akira Kurosawa and its remake, the Indian blockbuster Sholay by Ramesh Sippy which was set in two different eras. This paper critiques the representation of violence in the two films and the reasons that led the films to become blockbuster hits. It takes into account the technical innovations used during the making and the resultant effect it had on the spectators. It also discusses the aspects which show that they are similar yet different from each other. Although Sholay has taken inspiration from Seven Samurai, its aggressive, dominant villain Gabbar is a well-rounded character and light has been thrown on his sadistic means. The samurai’s Bushido code of combat has been discussed concerning Kambei and the other samurai and how they remain loyal to it until the very end.

Keywords:    Bandits, guns, mercenaries, revenge, samurai, swords, violence


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Shipra Gupta is a Research Scholar in the School of Humanities at Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT-Deemed to be University), Bhubaneswar, India. She obtained both, her Masters and M.Phil. in English literature from Utkal University, with specialization in American literature and film studies, respectively. Her academic interests include media and culture studies, and trans-cultural adaptations.

Swati Samantaray (Ph.D., Utkal University, 2008) is an Associate Professor in the School of Humanities at Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT-Deemed to be University), Bhubaneswar, India. Her field of interests are mysticism, eco-criticism, feminism, existentialism, folklore, dystopia, diaspora literature, the literature of the marginals.