Shah Rukh Khan played an iconic character, Devdas, with a spoilt, drunken yet sophisticated veneer in Devdas for Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The magnum opus also got some grand publicity at the Cannes Film Festival.
But this relationship, between perfectionist filmmaker & a supremely loved superstar muse, soured in 2007; when Bhansali’s ‘Saawariya’ revved up for a Diwali release clash with SRK’s home production ‘Om Shanti Om’.
Not many know that Shah Rukh hadn’t reacted to SLB as much as to the studio backing his expensive film with debutantes Ranbir Kapoor & Sonam Kapoor. In an interview to TOI, Shah Rukh had stated that ‘as producer, it is my duty to destroy any competition to my film’.
Bad blood built up between Bhansali & Shah Rukh, who launched a month long unique marketing campaign that culminated in a grand premiere at the Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, London. Bhansali’s esoteric film, off hand titled ‘blue film’ flopped, putting at risk both Ranbir & Sonam Kapoor’s futures.
More than anything else, the film bled money. And it showed off a rather angry side to SLB, taking on critics for being unable to ‘understand’ his film!
A couple of years later, SRK & Saif Ali Khan converted moments from ‘Saawariya’, including a towel drop shot, into skits for the FilmFare Awards. Needless to say, the very serious Sanjay Bhansali wasn’t amused.
Cut to 2012, when Bhansali averted an epic clash yet again. ‘Ram Leela’ was set to release with ‘Chennai Express’ but was postponed, as once again, the Rohit Shetty- Shah Rukh Khan combination with a highly entertaining Deepika Padukone looked too risky to take on.
After that, SRK also attended a party held for Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and the hatchet was buried.
However, now, the race to get December 18 2015 as date of release will heat up. Again, Eros International, the studio producing ‘Bajirao Mastani’ at an epic 130 crore plus budget, is refusing to budge. It’s trailer will release along with ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’.
Shah Rukh Khan & Kajol return onscreen with ‘Dilwale’- a loose remake of ‘Hum’. Rohit Shetty directs this entertainer, which also includes the super popular Varun Dhawan. Clearly, an epic love story is risking some division of audience interest by taking on this film.
It remains to be seen which film or production banner blinks first. Interestingly, Eros had co produced & distributed SRK’s ‘Om Shanti Om’ in 2007. They know what a relase date clash feels like first hand. Why risk another one?
Guess that’s another story in itself!