Sanjay Leela Bhansali – an acclaimed film maker


By Faz Zia

Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a critically acclaimed film maker; a director with a vision to do something extravagant and different, alongside also being a producer, screenwriter and a music director. A man of many talents who never disappoints us with what he delivers; interestingly and unknown to many, his production house Bhansali productions has adopted the middle name”Leela” as a tribute to his mother Leela Bhansali.
Apart from his film Black, all of his films are full of colours and beautiful sets, you can tell straight away that this is Bhansali’s film. He has received several awards including four National Film awards, not forgetting his widely acclaimed romantic drama “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” in 1999 which was a complete hit alongside “Devdas” which was nominated in the Best Foreign Film category at the BAFTA’s. in 2015 the Indian Government honoured him with Padma Shiri which is the fourth highest civilian award in India. Within 2015, “Bajirao Mastani” released and emerged as one of the highest grossing Indian film of all time and undoubtedly went on to grab all of the awards.
Bhansali is currently shooting another historical film “Padmavati” which is retelling the story of the life of the legend Rani Padmavati, a legendary Hindu Rajput queen. She is also the wife of Rawal Ratan Singh, the Rajput ruler of Mewar. Their perfect life took an unfortunate turn when Allauddin Khilji (the Turkic ruler of the Delhi Sultanate) lustful eyes gazed upon Queen Padwavati. Allauddin laid siege to the Chittor Fort in Rajputana motivated by his desire to capture Padmavati who is said to have committed jauhar (self-immolation) to protect her honour.
However this Bhansali film has not had a smooth journey to release; previously his film “Bajirao” too had run into trouble with certain groups who took issue with his depiction of Peshawa Bajirao. This time on the set of Padmavati which was shooting in Jaipur Sanjay Leela Bhansali had been attacked by the members of Kerni Sena group and they slapped him and vandalised the sets of his film and accused Bhansali for “distorting history.” According to them, the film is like a love story between Padmavati and Khilji which is not acceptable and is not in the history. Bhansali assured that there is no intimate scene between the two characters.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali receiving National Award from President Pranab Mukherjee.

Padmavati is played by the talented and beautiful, Deepika Padukon and Khilji by the renowned actor, Ranveer Singh; after the attack all the film fraternity came out to support Bhansali. Even PM Modi tweeted that “art can’t have any restrictions or limits”. Karan Johar tweeted “I am appalled at what has happened with Sanjay, this is the time for all of us as an industry to stand by our people and fraternity.” On the celebratory day of Diwali, four membes of the Kerni Sena and one member from Vishwas Hindu Parished had been arrested for allegedly vandalising the Padmavati rangoli.
There has been ongoing support from the industry and more than 180 crore has been spent on Padmavati and it’s up for release for 1st December 2017. However the film can’t be released in Rajasthan and is still jumping over hurdles. Shahid Kapoor who also features in the film said that this film “will celebrate Indian culture and it would make every Indian proud.”
Let’s hope that this much anticipated film can release without any more troubles on the 1st December 2017.