Bollywood filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali's experience with extravagant productions like Devdas and Saawariya came in handy while directing an opera in Paris.
Padmavati, Bhansali's rendition of a 1923 opera ballet written by Albert Roussel, received a standing ovation at its premiere on Friday at the Theatre du Chatelet.
"I wasn't completely familiar with the opera but the films I had done before, the preciseness with which I had made them helped me immensely," Bhansali told Reuters in a telephone interview over the weekend. "Sometimes being a perfectionist is a boon."
There had been enough problems for the first Indian to direct an opera in Paris, including a cast that could barely understand English. Bhansali was forced to use a translator.
"Some could speak broken English and understood little and the rest did not know the language at all," he said. "I was so nervous initially that I wanted to run back to India."
Padmavati, the story of a Rajasthani woman fighting for her love and her pride, will be staged five more times in March.
Bhansali hasn't directed any film since the box-office debacle of Saawariya last year.
"I don't know if I can say that I'm on a break," he said. "It was so tiring for the past months…my mind has never gone through so much of creative exercise."