Sanjay Leela Bhansali, one of the extraordinary mainstream directors of his generation with a mixed legacy to carry forward, celebrated 25 years in the industry yesterday.
He has a mixed reputation with a segment of intellects that experience his creation in its raw, vulnerable form as the other section might fail to understand the result in the first place.
Then come the critics who label his art “exaggerating” or “Overrated”. Born on Feb 24, 1963, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, is obsessed with intricate details when designing his opulent sets, composing music or visualizing a shot as it lies on the script, all the while pushing the actors beyond their comfort zone, exploring their potential beyond their present capacity.
Here’s a sneak peek into the brilliant mind that creates.
A Director that seems to ensure that the actors genuinely live the plethora of emotions with suffering, as the central theme that the writer attempts to convey ends up squeezing every bit of energy, leaving the actors wholly drained out at the very end.
In one of his old interviews with Simi Garewal, the director mentions a million chatters, chaos plaguing his mind burdened by his past reflected in his affluent sets and powerful characters- Particularly one of the most celebrated movies in the 2000s- DEVDAS.
The movie DEVDAS, a tragic love affair that, even after almost a decade, left behind an impression whose presence still seems to linger in the minds of its viewers, turning all the other movies pallid.
He also mentions in the interview his source of inspiration, Late filmmaker Raj Kapoor as he gets behind the camera visualizing every shot, with only a sliver of difference.
“Portrayal of Women” makes all the difference. While the Late Raj Kapoor portrayed women in a more erotic sense, Bhansali’s sensual portrayal of women with minimal nudity seems powerful.
The man that carries his mother’s name
Bhansali started as an assistant to Vidhu Vinod Chopra for the movie Parinda, 1989 and 1942: A Love Story, followed by his debut in 1996 with Khamoshi: The musical starring Salman Khan and Manisha Koirala.
The musical failed to generate commercial success; it aimed to seek, pleased the critics greatly.
With Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, 1999 gracing our screens, the combined determination of Bhansali and actors, especially Aishwariya Rai Bachchan and the crew, saw commercial success establishing the opulent, visually rich style omnipresent in Bhansali’s art.
This was just the beginning for Bhansali. In 2002, Sarat-Chandra Chatterjee’s novel presented itself as the evergreen movie we all know today- DEVDAS.
This paved the way for films like Black, 2005 starring Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee saw huge critical success followed by Saawariya, 2007 starring debut of two Kapoor’s- Sonam and Ranbir Kapoor that failed to create the buzz but successfully launched the star kids.
Bhansali made a comeback in 2010, with Guzarish exploring the lives of differently-abled people starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwariya Rai, marking Bhansali’s debut as music composer and showcased the potential of Hrithik Roshan.
Bhansali dominated the industry with Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone in Goliyon ki Rash Leela Ram- Leela, an Indian adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet following the same star cast in 2015 Bajirao Mastani, and in 2018 controversial Padmaavat.
He also gave a shot at producing the television show- Saraswatichandra, 2013.
Man with few words on tongue and volumes in his work is unstoppable as he continues to build timeless characters driven with a passion he makes films with.