It has been 22 years since the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s debut film, Khamoshi: The Musical starring Salman Khan, Nana Patekar and Manisha Koirala in lead. Although the film wasn’t a commercial success, it was critically acclaimed and till date is considered as one of the best film by both Salman Khan and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The failure of Khamoshi at the Box-Office had put Bhansali in depression and the industry had started to label him as an “Art Director”, however it was Salman who backed the director and signed on for his next film Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. The film proved to be one of the biggest hits of 1999, and established Bhansali as a director in the Hindi film industry.
Unlike Khamoshi, the film got acclaim from both the critics and audience and the results were visible in the Box-Office collections. Just like Khamoshi, even in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Sanjay Leela Bhansali presented a different side of Salman Khan, which was loved by the audience. The success of HDDCS came as a relief to Bhansali following which he moved on to his next film, Devdas, which was the official remake of the Dilip Kumar classic of the same name. The director got few of the biggest stars of that time on board i.e. Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai, and as expected, the film proved to be an extremely successful film at the Box-Office despite the high costs. The director who was once called an “Art Director” suddenly became one of the biggest names in the industry after back to back success in the form of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas.
Devdas was followed by Black, which marked the hat-trick of hits for Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The film starring Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukerji in lead was praised by the critics for delicately handling the premise, whereas the audience fell in love with the performance of both Rani Mukerji and Amitabh Bachchan. But like they say, what goes up comes down and that’s exactly what happened with Bhansali. Black was followed by Saawariya and Guzaarish, wherein both the films failed to strike gold at the ticket window. While Saawariya was the first Sanjay Leela Bhansali film that failed to get even critical acclaim, Guzaarish followed a path similar to Khamoshi wherein critics loved the movie and praised the lead actor, Hrithik Roshan’s performance but the audience were not really interested to watch the film.
Like always, after the failure of two films, the media almost wrote off a director named Sanjay Leela Bhansali. But he fought back and rose like a phoenix. After Guzaarish, Bhansali made Ram Leela with Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, and the film proved to be a humongous success. Unlike the previous few Sanjay Leela Bhansali films which were colourless, this one was bright full of colour lively love story and was accepted by the audience with open arms. Ram Leela was followed by Bajirao Mastani, which proved to be one of the hit of Bhansali’s career. The film was his dream project which he had planned in early 2000’s with Salman Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Kareena Kapoor. Eventually, it got made in 2015 with Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra. Bajirao Mastani also played an essential role in establishing Sanjay Leela Bhansali as a BRAND. The success of these two films got him back in the game like never before, and soon after Bajirao Mastani, Bhansali started gearing up for the next film, titled Padmaavat. As expected, he yet again signed two of his favourite actors i.e. Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone in the film, which proved to be a monstrous hit. The film proved that cinema is a director’s medium, it was Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s vision backed by the star-power of the leading actors that contributed to the success.
After Padmaavat, the director is now said to be working on his next film allegedly titled Inshallah and there are strong reports in the media that the film will mark the reunion of the Bhansali with Salman Khan 11 years after Sawaariya in which Khan had an extended cameo. The movie is said to be a modern-day love story, however we have not heard anything from the officials as of now. Here’s wishing lots of success to Sanjay Leela Bhansali!