I don't have jitters at all: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
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I don't have jitters at all: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

The director is keeping a cool-as-kulfi profile on the eve of the release of Saawariya.. but he does take potshots at Om Shanti Om in this interview with V Ananth.

entertainment Updated: Nov 05, 2007 15:27 IST
V Ananth
V Ananth
Hindustan Times

Sanjay Leela Bhansali is keeping a cool-as-kulfi profile on the eve of the release of Saawariya.. but he does take potshots at Om Shanti Om in this interview with V Ananth.

The media is chortling about this.. but okay, so are you seeing choreographer Vaibhavi Merchant? Any marriage plans?
Neither am I seeing Vaibhavi Merchant nor am I thinking of marriage. I'm happy as a bachelor, thank you. At times, I want to ask some film journalists to write the screenplay for my films. I'm also baffled by reports saying that I have signed a three-film deal with Sony. I haven't signed any such deal.

I can almost hear your pre-release jitters for Saawariya.
Excuse me..it's odd but I don't have any jitters at all. I am quite chilled out..I have jitters only before starting a project..during the pre-production. <b1>

What's you take on success and failure?
My very first film Khamoshi was the biggest flop of my career. Thanks to Khamoshi, I've become immune to success and failure. Black has reinforced my belief in myself. Look at Black, Iqbal, Page 3 and Gangster..they all clicked though they weren't mainstream cinema at all.

Got to ask you this boss..isn't the release of Om Shanti Om on the same day as Saawariya giving you the heebie jeebies?
Look, I'm human. I'm not God. Though I want Om Shanti Om to be a hit, I wish Saawariya is a ten-times bigger hit. Shah Rukh Khan and I are not running a 100 meter race. Farah Khan and Shah Rukh Khan have their kind of audience and I have my mine.

Om Shanti Om won't be competition for Saawariya.. my own film Black will be. Like Shah Rukh Khan will have to compete with the success of his own Main Hoon Na and Chak De! India.

I haven't yet seen Main Hoon Na or Chak De! India.. because I was busy with Black and then Saawariya. Frankly, I wasn't excited enough to watch those films.

Are you at least planning to watch Om Shanti Om?
To tell you the truth, I'm not excited enough.. I don't want to see Om Shanti Om.

It's said that you lose patience on the sets and yell at your actors.
My biggest virtue is that I have a lot of patience. I don't do a rush job of my films. Fifty years later, I don't want to be remembered as a sloppy, dishonest director.

It's said that you don't give any leeway to your actors!
On the contrary, I give my actors a lot of leeway to improvise. When you interview me, I cannot ask you to write it in the way I would like you to. Ranbir and Sonam have talent but didn't know how to act when they started assisting me on the sets of Black. I have this suspicion that they joined me as assistants with the agenda of becoming actors eventually. <b2>

You have not clarified whether you yell at your actors or not on the sets.
Yes, I do yell. There are times when I have shouted at them. I'm not running an acting school.. I had to extract work out of both of them..I had to mould them..make them discard the excess baggage of their pedigree. Both are disciplined and will go a long way.

Are you planning to cast Adnan Sami in your next film to be directed by your sister Bela?
If you already know this, why ask me?

So, is Saawariya lifted from Dostoevsky's White Nights?
I confess that I have been inspired by Dostoevsky's novel White Nights.

Is Saawariya a tribute to Raj Kapoor?
If only Raj Kapoor were alive.. or only if Ranbir had been born 20 years earlier, he would have certainly launched a film with his grandson.

Some feel that you want to be an epic director, like say Kamal Amrohi believing in grand sets and old world romance.
I'm flattered to be compared with Kamal Amrohi. And you know something? The first time I saw Pakeeza, I'd fainted, lost consciousness in my seat..it transported me to another world.

First Published: Nov 05, 2007 12:11 IST