While growing up, their one-room apartment in Gulla Wadi Chawl, Mumbai, was rather bare. But siblings Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Bela Bhansali-Sehgal had enough love, bonding and dreams to keep them warm! From that one room to the glitz and glam of Bollywood has been a lovely reward. “We have lived together, dreamt together and achieved together,” says Bhansali. Today, on Raksha Bandhan, Bhansali, one of India’s biggest filmmakers and his editor/director sister Bela, take us through their experience of sibling love.
Bela: Those days, we didn’t have enough to sustain us, but we cherish them even now. Circumstances could have made us bitter, but thank God they didn’t. My childhood memories include Sanjay giving me chocolate on Raksha Bandhan, but then eating it all by himself! We used to do a small puja at home and I put a tika on his forehead. I do the same even now, though I’m married and we don’t live together.
Sanjay: My childhood memories of Bela and my mother are my biggest strengths. As Bela said, we had only love to see us through that period. We stayed in that one room but there was so much love that we didn't miss the big things.
Sanjay: We couldn’t afford a square meal, let alone gifts! I didn’t earn enough. Even my first salary, about Rs 1,000 that I earned from working in Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s movie, Parinda, as a choreographer, wasn’t enough to gift her something worth remembering. A peck on her cheek was my readymade gift for her.
Today, I have enough money, but I don’t have the time to go out and look for a suitable gift for my sister.
Bela: He is my younger brother, so I never looked at it that way. I’d rather give him everything I have, including my life. If he brings me a sister-in-law, it will be great!
Sanjay: My day starts with ‘Baby, I love you’ to her and ends with a promise not to see her face again! Our relationship is very honest and real.
Bela: Sanjay has been very caring since our childhood. He would oil my hair and even comb it. He wanted me to look good all the time.
Sanjay: We fight like cats and dogs, but we know we cannot live without each other. Mom tells us now that Bela was very jealous of me when I was a baby. She removed me from the cradle and slept in it herself, while I lay crying on the ground!
Bela: Fights are a strong part of our lives but they are only temporary. We do not carry them on for long. He is a very strong-headed and private person, but I can be equally stubborn.