One may not crown Sanjay Leela Bhansali as the best filmmakers of our times, but you will definitely have to agree that he is one of the best dreamers we might ever come across. A man whose name reflects opulence and grandeur, a man who has painted our screens with dreams that he saw. The Bhansali universe is poetry that beams love, longing and bonds.
Every time Raj realised Sakina is not his and silently walked away, our heart broke. Not to forget Balraj scaled oceans to make Nandini meet Prem, or when Leela & Ram fought for love in that room, we all saw love, longing and stunning visuals all at the same time. It is not just the words that hit us in the Bhansali universe, but the silences speak louder, his first film Khamoshi indeed has a mute man with the most expressive persona.
Today as Sanjay Leela Bhansali celebrate his 58th Birthday and gears up as he released the teaser of his much-awaited flick Gangubai Kathiawadi, I list down 5 of the moments from his films that spoke to me at different levels.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali made his debut with a gem called Khamoshi starring Manisha Koirala, Salman Khan, Seema Biswas and Nana Patekar. While the film was full of soul-stirring moments, one that stayed with me forever is when Annie is born. She is born to a deaf and mute couple, and she can speak and hear, what will a mute man do to express his happiness? He runs and runs across the beach, waving his hands in the air, telling the world that his daughter can speak. Silence is deafening and magical.
It was in 2002 when SLB added the word Magnum opus to our vocabulary as he made one with his version of Devdas. Starring Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Madhuri Dixit Nene the film is Calcutta from Bhansali’s vision. If there is ever a compilation of best climax scenes, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas will make a cut. Paro is filling the diya she lit for Devdas as he breathes his last in front of her gate. She gets to know and runs with her pallu lose, a sight Hindi cinema will always treasure. And the moment the theme song kicks in! I am waiting for someone to make a tragic climax that can beat this one.
Black is Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s most subtle yet heart-breaking drama till date. Loosely based on Hellen Keller, it starred Amitabh Bachchan, Rani Mukerji in lead roles. Black is silence, as SLB himself says, but not in the mind of his Michele who is living in her own chaos. Remember when she tells her teacher to kiss her? Well, if the moment after that and the gaze didn’t pierce your heart, then what will. Not to forget Michele’s graduation speech, must admit, I cried.
Raise your hands if you agree; Guzaarish is the second most underrated Bhansali film after Saawariya. Too ahead of its time, written by Bhavani Iyer, Guzaarish starred Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan in the lead. We often talk about Udi and how magnificent Rai is in it, but do you ever notice Hrithik’s face by the end. He falls in love all over again, but this time he knows it, love. With the woman, he has spent 12 years. As she dances, breaking the monotony around her, Ethan seizes the moment as Shail Hada’s ‘aalap’ takes over.
The most recent of them all, Padmaavat is the grandest SLB film. What stayed with me had to be the last 15 minutes of Jauhar. Sanjay Leela Bhansali for the love of silence kept them completely dialogue-less. There were just emotion and a Padmavati (Deepika Padukone) walking towards the pyre head high and a haunting smile on her face. Rani Sa in the background was made so you could experience goosebumps.
I was introduced to the cinema with a Bhansali film, that story is for some other day. But if you agree with my compilation, do let us know in the comments section below. Till then let’s enjoying the beauty and the tragedy while we love in our concrete world.