Sanjay Leela Bhansali PROFILE
Consider this. A degree in film editing from the FTII under his belt, and having choreographed and presented dance ballets for the small screen (he studied Odissi dance for three years under the tutelage of the famed Natbar Maharana), Sanjay Leela Bhansali is definitely a multi-faceted personality. Add to this, his competency as a scriptwriter (he wrote both ’Khamoshi’ and ’Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’), and his sensitive handling, as a debutante director, of a difficult emotional subject in ’Khamoshi’, Sanjay has emerged as one of the prominent members of the new school of film making which will carry the torch for the film industry in the new millennium. The pointers were always there. His diploma film at the film institute (FTII), ’Angikam’, received rave reviews and just as it was presumed that a bright filmmaker was arriving. After joining Vidhu Vinod Chopra as his chief assistant, he was given the onerous responsibility, and the credit, as the director of songs in ’1942: A Love Story’ by Vinod. Music also played a vital part in his directorial debut, ’Khamoshi’, but the driving force of the script was definitely the emotional depth in the relationship between the deaf-and-dumb parents and their only child. Sanjay Leela Bhansali had even the most cynical moist-eyed with the film.
That was arguably a commendable feat in a scenario of formulaic and clinched fare that was prevalent at the time of its release. Also, in a brave move, Bhansali cast Nana Patekar against type as the deaf-mute father of Manisha Koirala.Through a series of compelling images, Bhansali told the story of a deaf-mute couple, their normal daughter with aspirations to be a singer, and her love affair with a happy-go-lucky guy who helps her realise her dream. Unfortunately for Bhansali, the film curiously bombed at the box office - though ’Khamoshi’ has acquired a cult following among movie buffs, who saw in it, the sincerity and skill of a debutante director. Despite its failure, some of Bollywood’s biggest names were keen to work with Bhansali. However, the director waited for the appropriate story to materialise in his mind and when it did, he approached Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan, both of whom were smitten by it. Bhansali also signed Aishwarya Rai, though he had not seen any of her previous films, but was convinced that she would essay the role of the main protagonist competently under his tutelage.