Koimoi’s loyal reader Anuj Radia has written an interesting write up on Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s movies and a quintessential similarity between them. Read it right here:

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“And they lived happily ever after…” Isn’t that quintessentially how the story ends? Well not exactly in the case of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s (SLB) movies! From KHAMOSHI to RAM-LEELA, Mr.Bhansali’s movies conclude poignantly, or includes a tragic twist in the story. So exactly what is it that makes us teary-eyed? Let’s find out!

1. Khamoshi (Silence) – The Musical (1996)

Salman Khan and Manisha Koirala in a 'Khamoshi' movie poster
Salman Khan and Manisha Koirala in a ‘Khamoshi’ movie poster

This was Mr. Bhansali’s first venture as a director after he previously worked as the writer and editor for Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s 1942: A LOVE STORY. The film is about Annie (Manisha Koirala), a Christian and the daughter of Jospeh (Nana Patekar) and Flavy Briganza (Seema Biswas), who are both- hard of hearing and mute. After many tragedies and difficulties faced by the family, Joseph disapproves of Annie’s boyfriend, Raj (Salman Khan) due to the religion differences. Annie is then placed in a predicament- whether to choose family over love. Despite the movie’s box-office failure, it received a much positive critical reception, and proceeded to win many awards in India.

‘Emosh’ moment: Too many heart-touching moments! In fact, one scene that gave me goosebumps was when Joseph’s son, Sam slips off the church roof after mischievously pulling the bell. Even after he fell, the screams of Joseph and Flavy cannot be heard. Only the bell keeps on ringing.

2. Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (I’ve given my heart, beloved) (1999)

Salman Khan, Ajay Devgn and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam movie poster
Salman Khan, Ajay Devgn and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam movie poster

Three-years-later after the emotional roller-coaster KHAMOSHI, Mr.Bhansali’s second directorial, HUM DIL DE CHUKE SANAM venture was a lot more colourful, humorous and of course more romantic. It release to both critical and commercial success.

The film is set in the backdrop of Gujarat, where Aishwarya Rai Bachchan portrays the vibrant and outspoken Nandini. She falls in love with a man from Italy, Sameer (Salman Khan), who has come to learn Indian Classical music. However, life takes a 90 degree turn, when the parents of Nandini disapprove of Sameer and she is forcefully married off to wealthy barrister, Vanraj (Ajay Devgan). Soon, Vanraj finds out about Nandini’s love. Thats when the honeymoon in Italy, becomes a hunt for his wife’s love! Ultimately Nandini meets Sameer, but decides she cannot leave her husband, thus stays with Vanraj. Despite being a berserk honeymoon, the break-up of Sameer-Nandini, definitely broke my heart (now that’s a tragedy!)

‘Emosh’ moment: one of the main ‘emosh’ moments for me is the picturisation of the Tadap Tadap song. The way the Aishwarya and Salman enact the separation is commendable. Everything, is conveyed through the eyes… The pain, the love and the separation. In fact, Aishwarya’s blue-eyes were so expressive, that the pain screamed through celluloid, and of course, through the hearts of the audience!

3. Devdas (2002)

Madhuri Dixit, Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a Devdas movie poster
Madhuri Dixit, Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a Devdas movie poster

DEVDAS, is the magnum-opus of all Sanjay Leela Bhansali movies and the crème de la crème of all tragedies in Hindi cinema. Adapted from Chattopadhyay’s novel, the film narrates the story of childhood sweethearts: Parvati aka Paro (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) and Devdas (Shah Rukh Khan) who separate due to an ugly family brawl. On one hand, Paro becomes the wife of an elderly aristocrat, on the other hand, Devdas dooms himself to alcohol. Soon enough, famous courtesan, Chandramukhi (Madhuri Dixit) falls in love with Devdas. As a result, she decides to heal Dev of his alcoholism. However, the memories of Paro continues to haunt him, and as a consequence Devdas falls to his death… And the red curtains fall since red was the prominent colour in the opening and closing credits of the film!)

The film was not only praised for the high-octane performances, but also the marvellous soundtrack composed by Ismail Darbar- which projected the poignance of Dev and Paro’s separation.

‘Emosh’ moment: the scene which gave me goosebumps, has to be the climax… When Aishwarya runs Usain Bolt-style to save her dying Devdas. As she gets closer, the speed of the music increases, until it reaches the crescendo. Finally, when she is about to reach the doorstep, the doors shut tight and then… BAM! The lovers are separated forever.

4. Black (2005)

Rani Mukherjee and Amitabh Bachchan in a Black movie poster
Rani Mukherjee and Amitabh Bachchan in a Black movie poster

BLACK, in my opinion, is one of Mr.Bhansali’s most accomplished work. The actress Rani Mukherjee portrayed the role of Michelle McNally, a girl who could not see, hear nor speak. Her life was engulfed in darkness, and was therefore declared as ‘black’. However, when Debraj Sahai (Amitabh Bachchan) enters as her teacher, he brings a ray of hope and light in Michelle’s life. Towards the end, Michelle’s condition improves as she communicates through sign… But Debraj suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. That’s when the student becomes the teacher. Consequently, the movie became a commercial and critical success. It won many accolades mainly for the novel concept, the emotional quotients and award-winning performances of the entire cast and crew .

‘Emosh’ moment: The entire film was poignant, yet touching. Whilst watching the film, I spent the time wiping my tears… So a box of tissues is definitely required!

5. Guzaarish (Request) (2010)

Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a Guzaarish movie poster
Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in a Guzaarish movie poster

After the not-so-successful SAAWARIYA (2007), Bhansali’s venture GUZAARISH, was based on the world’s most sensitive and polemic topics, euthanasia. Starring Bollywood biggies, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan, the expectations were sky high.

The movie is about a magician, Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan) who becomes quadriplegic as a result of a trick gone wrong. With the aid of his lawyer (Shernaz Patel), mother (Nafisa Ali) and nurse (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) he appeals to the court for euthanasia. After a lengthy physical and mental battle, Ethan’s request is finally granted. Unfortunately, this movie was a commercial failure…. But a critical success. Both Hrithik and Aishwarya were praised for their performances.

‘Emosh’ moment: one of the strong points of the film is that the audience felt that suffocation of Ethan Mascarenhas. Kudos to Mr. Roshan for essaying such a challenging role!

As for the Emosh moment, the scene at Mrs. Mascarenhas’ funeral… Ethan’s tear rolls down and sings Louis Armstrong’s ‘what a wonderful world’- a song that his mother sang during difficult times. Only Hrithik and Bhansali can create an emosh moment like that!

7. Ram-Leela (2013)

Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh in a RAM-LEELA movie poster
Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh in a RAM-LEELA movie poster

SLB’s latest venture, RAM-LEELA, is the official adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. This time, it’s a lot more romantic, a lot more raunchier and a lot more tragic, Of course! Instead of the Capulets and the Montagues, There is the Rajdadis and Saneras. When Ram Rajadi (Ranveer Singh) and Leela Sanera (Deepika Padukone) fall in love… A play of bullets begin. Ultimately the star-crossed lovers fall to their deaths… As the story goes!

Famous for the fresh pairing of Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, the film became a hit after their high-octane performances.

‘Emosh’ moment: Whilst studying Romeo and Juliet… I never felt emotional at all. However, Bhansali’s adaptation does not lack any sentimental moments! One of the moments that left me startled yet emotional was when Leela was getting dragged away from her beloved Ram. The sequence was directed brilliantly by the director! It gave me goosebumps and some tears too! *sob* *sob*

On the whole, SLB being Bollywood’s masterpiece director knows how to make us cry, and engage fully with the audience- That’s the beauty of his direction. Although his films do not mainly have ‘happy endings’, his movies are always anticipated by the audiences… As such, his next venture, Bajirao Mastani starring Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone is scheduled to release in 2016. Will Bajirao Mastani too have ‘Not-So Happy Ending’?

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