Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali has been in the news for too many reasons of late. Last week, he won a National Award for his 2015 movie, Bajirao Mastani. Before that, rumours started doing the rounds about his next venture. Apparently, he is in talks with Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh for yet another movie. Other reports also suggested that he is going to produce a biopic on lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi.
Another set of rumours claimed that he was considering remaking Khalnayak (1993), and had even met filmmaker Subhash Ghai (who produced and directed the 1993 film) for that. But he denies that news straight off, saying, “I am not remaking Khalnayak.” Here, Bhansali tells us more.
Are you also working on a film with Fawad Khan?
This is not true. I have never approached or even spoken to him. He is a wonderful actor. But, as far as my next [project] is concerned, I will only know what I am doing in a few weeks. As of now, I am putting things in order, as I only make films that come from my heart.
Apparently, your production house is in talks with Irrfan Khan and Deepika for a film on the life of Ludhianvi, and his lover, poet Amrita Pritam.
We will let you know about this in a few weeks. In fact, I will also announce the other films I will be producing this year.
Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan attended your party recently, and you have worked with them in the past. Do you plan to work with them again?
All friendships aren’t about work [in Bollywood]. I maintain relationships and friendships with many people in the industry, but that doesn’t mean I have to keep working with them.
You are perceived to be one of the toughest directors to work with. Has that ever affected your personal relationships with actors?
If I know what I want from my actors, and if I request them to do a scene again and again, till I get what I want, how is that being tough? Why should a director give up, and take the next shot [even if he is not convinced with the last one]? If excellence comes at a cost, and means I have to “be tough”, then yes, I am a tough director. If working with patience to create a scene is being tough, then yes, I am [tough]. Otherwise, I am patient and loving, and I carefully construct my actors’ performances while making a film. Yes, I don’t give up till I get what I want. And my actors understand that, so there is no problem.
Priyanka Chopra and Deepika are going to make their Hollywood debuts soon. Where do you think Hindi cinema stands today, internationally?
There is a lot of interest in Indian work today. Our films have become better technically and content-wise. There is a lot of variety and range in our work now. It is being appreciated all over the world. I feel when there is good content, it gets noticed. We have started making wonderful stories, and ones that are technically beautiful too. In one or two years, I think we will have a deep impact on international cinema, and will be noticed in a bigger way.
This year, you won a few awards as a music composer for Bajirao Mastani. Are you open to composing music for other filmmakers’ movies too?
The question is will they let me compose music for them? I enjoy composing, but I know that there is much better talent out there. I understand the situation and characters of my films better, so I am able to make music for them. But that doesn’t mean I will compose the music for every film I make.