Happy birthday Sanjay Leela Bhansali: Dreamer, visionary, controversy’s favourite human being, history-distorter, myth-spinner, tortured poet, lover of all historic events – Sanjay Leela Bhansali, born on 24th February, 1963 has been labelled all that and more.
Bhansali imagines everything in technicolour, such historical legends for him are ripe subjects for the big screen. Padmavati brings back the hit Bajirao Mastani pair and off-screen lovers, Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh. Shahid Kapoor plays the ruler of Mewar who married Padmavati.
What makes Bhansali the numero personality in the historical epics segment is that there are so few filmmakers in Bollywood willing to take the risks involved in the making of such magnum opuses.
Ashutosh Gowariker springs to mind, but he clearly lacks the larger-than-life passion, obsession and imagination required to make a Devdas or Bajirao Mastani.
Bhansali’s epics have won him plenty of loyal following over the years. Still, his films witness extreme reactions. If it’s a hit, it’s straight out of the park. Critics, on the other hand, have never been too impressed with the showman, dismissing his cinema as an example of indulgence and extravaganza. But even those who don’t think too highly of him admire his sheer craftsmanship in the work he has been famous for. It’s create a contradict line for him.
Glimpse of some Bhansali’s grand interviews
The best glimpse of Bhansali often lies in his music. His mother was a dancer. Bhansali, talking to Tehelka, said that he used to own a radio as a child and waited for months to hear his favourite song. “With every song, I imagined how I’d shoot it. What’d Helen do if I were doing that song?” Finally, when he got to make his first film, Khamoshi: The Musical in 1996, it was all about music as the chief cause of both tragedy and joy. (Were Parichay and Koshish an influence?)
There’s so much to admire in Bhansali as a filmmaker and music-maker. Through him, for one, the tradition of Bollywood music is alive and kicking.
There’s something lunatic and exciting about the way Bhansali goes about filmmaking. Where you see decoration, the director sees details he has so lovingly crafted, even depicted as his speciality. He’s a director of the big scale, who don’t make films to nourish your mind – but to blow it.