The epic friendship between Jai and Veeru, Basanti-Dhanno duo and the Indian cinema’s greatest villain Gabbar Singh will all come alive on the big screen in 3D format on Friday.

After 38 years, the 3D version of the 1975 multi-starrer Sholay , which featured actors Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Dharmendra, Hema Malini, Sanjeev Kumar and Amjad Khan among others will hit about 1,000 screens on Friday. This is the longest movie to be made in 3D.

Jayantilal Gada, Chairman of Pen India Pvt Ltd, presenter and distributor of the movie, said: “We have invested Rs 25 crore in converting the original Sholay into 3D. When I was approached, I really liked the idea. This will give youngsters a chance to watch the most loved movie on the big screen.”

The budget of the original movie was Rs 3 crore, while it grossed about Rs 15 crore four decades ago. Gada, who was also the DVD and VCD distributor of original Sholay , has been associated with the movie since 1995. The distribution had grossed record collections at Rs 7.5 crore.

Sascha Sippy, who is co-producing Sholay 3D along with Shezaad Sippy and cousin Shaan Uttamsingh, considers this as his passion project. “I wanted to present the movie to the newer audience. But since most would have already watched it on television and theatres earlier, a newer way to present it was through technology. Sounds and visual effects will be the differentiator,” he said.

Sascha Sippy, the grandson of the original producer of the fim, G. P. Sippy, has been in love with the movie since the age of four when he visited the sets of the movie. While the expectation was six-nine months, it took three years to complete the 3D conversion. Maya Digital Studios worked on the 2D to 3D conversion of the film. About 350 people worked to convert the film into the digital 3D format, under the leadership of UK-based computer animator Frank Foster.

According to Ketan Mehta, Chairman and MD of Maya Digital Studios, “The scene where Hema Malini tries to pluck mangoes was the most difficult scene for 3D conversion.” Technology is also being used to ensure the movie doesn't look blurred even without the 3D glasses. Hollywood DI, a US-based post production studio, also helped in additional technical consultation.

Dialogues such as ‘ Kitne aadmi the .., Yeh haath mujhe de de thakur , Jo dar gaya, samjho mar gaya , Chal Dhanno ’ to ‘ Basanti, in kutton ke saamne mat naachna’ are set to make audiences nostalgic.

Since the trailer was out on YouTube on November 7 last year, it got as many as 531,373 views by Thursday evening.

The action-adventure Hindi film directed by Ramesh Sippy was ranked first in the British Film Institute's 2002 poll of ‘Top 10 Indian Films’ of all time. In 2005, the annual Filmfare Awards named it the Best Film of 50 Years.

Though the actors of Sholay have not been actively promoting the 3D release, Hema Malini will be seen in a reality show doing her bit. The theatrical trailer was unveiled by Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar, script writers of the original movie.

Amid Sholay-based games such as Sholay: Bullets of Justice, the classic movie is also trending on social networking Web sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

There are Facebook pages that illustrate wall posts featuring Jai, Veeru and other characters from the movie. Twitter has tweets which say, “Apart from 3D glasses we need to also carry umbrellas with us... just in case.. when Gabbar says "AAK THOO". Others like, “If Arvind Kejriwal Directed #Sholay3D, it for sure would have this inclusion 'Kitne AAM Admi the..' ..& other parties will cry foul & report to EC” and “Samba sits on tila because he uses Vodafone network...”

Radio Jockey Malishka also tweeted, “Now watching the famous Gabbar scene with the whole theatre whispering the dialogues. AWESOME!!

Pinterest also has a special feature page by UTV highlighting the many famous scenes, Sholay Facts #, some candid moments from the sets during the making of the movie, a resume of Bachchan’s character whose education qualifications include masters in Con Artistry and diploma in sharp shooting, safe cracking and horse riding, among others.

When you think of the greatest Indian movie of all time, chances are you will think of this epic film.