Sanjay Leela Bhansali clocks 25 years in Bollywood: There have been many challenges but I have loved every bit of it
Sanjay Leela Bhansali has, over the past 25 years, constantly reinvented himself, since starting his journey with Khamoshi: The Musical in 1996. Post that, he moved to more grandeur projects with films such as Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999), Devdas (2002), Black (2005), Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013), Bajirao Mastani (2015) and Padmaavat (2018). While there may have been some hiccups along the way, the National award-winning director has taken them all in his stride.
“The journey has been incredible, with many challenges along the road, but I’ve loved every bit of it. I’ve been fortunate to receive immense love for my work from the audience. But, I don’t think any of these nine films would have been possible without the team I’ve worked with — from technicians to the talent. They have been instrumental in making my vision come alive on celluloid,” he shares.
Not just filmmaking, Bhansali also turned a music director for his films in these past years, and got a National Film Award for best music direction for Bajirao Mastani.
“I think music is the soul of a film. It translates emotions in the most beautiful way. I’m obsessed with music, so turning music director was just a natural course for me. It wasn’t a planned decision but just pure serendipity,” he explains.
One of the most celebrated filmmakers, Bhansali, 58, asserts he has evolved with the changing times.
“I’ve constantly upgraded myself. As technology for making films has evolved, I’ve also become a better filmmaker with it. For example, the newer technologies and VFX effects are now a part of my movies and add the larger-than-life quotient, but the core of storytelling doesn’t change,” he shares.
Though Bhansali has had many high points in his career, he says he can’t pick one from his 25-year journey.
“Every film so far has been the high-point of my career and I’ve made each one of them with a lot of love, passion and complete commitment. There have been some successes and some haven’t been as successful. However, every moment that we’ve created on screen is truly special to me,” he muses.
And now, the filmmaker is looking forward to the next chapter of his life as he gears for the tenth film of his career — Gangubai Kathiawadi starring Alia Bhatt.
“Right now, my full attention is dedicated towards it. I hold the film very close to my heart. Having made it over the period of two lockdowns, we, as a team, didn’t have an easy time. But we’ve still loved every minute of it. I can’t wait to present it to the whole world,” he ends.