Sanjay Leela Bhansali: Friends vanish when you fail

Sanjay Leela Bhansali in an interview talks about success and failure on his 53rd birthday yesterday

Q. You have always been controversy's child. There were a lot of protests over 'Bajirao Mastani' (2015) because of its historical connect. Are you going to not attempt that genre for a while?
A. Yes, because I just feel that a lot of people were protesting without even having seen the film. I was glorifying history, not bringing it down. How can you protest without knowing what it really is? It's traumatic to have cases and complaints lodged against you, especially while you are shooting. But, thank god, nothing stopped us from shooting the film. I think people dealing with historical movies will always have to deal with this.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Q. How do you deal with the criticism and failure?
A. Every human being is equipped with shock absorbers. Of course, you become lonely at that time. Friends around you just vanish when you fail. Post failure (referring to the debacle of 'Saawariya' (2007), I had people from my own office get up and leave, but some stood by me. Luckily, I was given an opportunity to direct the opera in Paris during that time; it was a game changer for me. I feel one should leave failures behind, dust oneself up and get back to work.

Q. You seldom let your guard down. No one knows what is happening in your personal life...
A. I feel that's something I don't need to talk about. Some things should not be discussed in public. People know me for my work and there's a perception about me being rude on the sets, which is not true. You cannot make a romantic film unless you yourself are romantic. You have to be a lover to make a romantic film. As far as my relationships go, you will never get to know.

Q. You somehow always seem to get that reference to context just right with movies; they always have a universal appeal. How do you find that connect?
A. To be deprived of all beauty in the chawl where I stayed... it had no colour on the wall, no furniture; there was only a small kitchen. However, I was an imaginative child and all that I was deprived of or aspired for then find reflection in my films. For me, making films is more than telling a story with many references to my life. 'Bajirao Mastani' and 'Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam' (1999) are the most beautiful films that I have made.

Who will be SLB's hero?

There is a lot of buzz around Sanjay Leela Bhansali's next and names of several actors, including his current favourite Ranveer Singh, have been doing the rounds.

Ranbir Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor
Ranbir Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor

However, our sources have spotted two industry biggies, Ranbir Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor, at his office on a couple of occasions and suggest that something might be cooking in SLB's filmi pot. We hear the filmmaker is ready to announce two projects, including a romantic drama which is a remake of an European film.

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