Film-maker Sanjay Leela Bhansali is on cloud nine. He has won the National Award for Best Director for his magnum opus, Bajirao Mastani (2015).
Here, Bhansali talks about the film, how such awards encourage film-makers to do better work, and more.
* How does it feel?
The National Award is the jewel in the crown. I was trying to make the film for 12 years. I felt this time, Bajirao and Mastani’s souls blessed the film, and that’s why the movie happened. I guess their blessings came to us, which is why the right casting happened, budget came on, the infrastructure was in place and I shot the most difficult scenes, effortlessly. I feel the 12 year delay was a test of my vision. I didn’t lose sight of my goal all through my three attempts of making the film. So many people tried to make the movie before me. There must have been something inexplicable that the film didn’t work out then.
* You have won a few National Awards before. Do you still feel excited about the honour?
Yes, absolutely. Devdas (2002) and Mary Kom (2014) won Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment, while Black (2005) won the Best Feature Film in Hindi . But getting the Best director is too prestigious and precious to me. It’s something my mother and I always wanted to get. I can never get bored of winning the National Award. I have waited for 20-22 years of being in the industry to get this one.
* Have National Awards helped your career?
When you get acknowledgement from the country, it is an honour. But your next film has nothing to do with the award. It will have its own challenges and issues.But, such awards give you the encouragement and responsibility to do better work.
* Do you consider Bajirao Mastani your best work?
I wouldn’t know about that. But the film has given me a lot. I was in a very inspired state when I made it. All the movies that I have made are very special to me.
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