Be it Khamoshi (1996), Devdas (2002), Black (2005) or Guzaarish (2010), filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s work has never gone unnoticed. While many director-producers of his calibre tend to underplay their achievements when it comes to winning awards, Bhansali is honest when he says these are important to him. The 52-year-old was recently conferred with two prestigious honours — the Padma Shri, and the National Award for his production, a biopic on boxer Mary Kom. He says it’s a good phase for him.
You have been on an award spree. After the Padma Shri, you also received a National Award. How does it feel?
It feels good to get awards. When a film like Mary Kom wins a National Award, you feel happy that your year was spent well, and you feel satisfied that you have told a good story. Now is a good phase for me. We are releasing an Akshay Kumar-starrer, we are working with the likes of Ranveer (Singh), Deepika (Padukone) and Priyanka (Chopra) in Bajirao Mastani. So, I am happy in life.
Does winning an award encourage a producer to make more films?
Winning an award does make me happy, but that is not why I produce films. I produce movies because I like them. It could be anything from an offbeat film to a commercial one. If the script appeals to me, I will produce it. Some get appreciated, some don’t. But if two films don’t work, that doesn’t mean I will stop producing films.
We’ve heard you are planning to make a foray into Marathi films. Is it true?
I always wanted to be part of Marathi films. I have finalised a script, and we are working on it. As a child, I used to watch a lot of Marathi films. Their audience is very receptive to good cinema; they don’t just want commercial stuff. Once the revenues come in, more people will come forth to make these films. I have been a big fan of this cinema, be it films made by V Shantaram, Dada Kondke or Kashinath Ghanekar.