It has been a few years since Padmavat was released. Seeing what Sanjay Leela Bhansali did while making and releasing that film, we do not blame him for taking a much-needed breath with Alia Bhatt, Gangubai Kathiawadi again before sitting on the director’s chair for him. Today after the film’s teaser release, on the occasion of the director’s birthday, we send a quiet wish that there is only uproar on his next release on the ticket windows, and habitual criminals take their business elsewhere.
However, until another Sanjay Leela Bhansali is knocking Magnum ops, here is looking at his past work and makes a ‘SLB film’. Make no mistake now, they have a different style to their films. The Bollywood aficionado can recognize this heartbreak, when he tagged Kalank as a poor man’s Bhansali film. His fans would often describe his trademark style using terms such as ‘grandeur’, ‘big-to-life’, ‘fabulous’ and in some cases, even ‘full’.
Everyone I have seen, and I have seen them all (yes, Saawariya too) Bhansali has a strong visual beauty and he puts it front and center in his films. He knows that you are not going to listen to every word that his characters have said for two-and-a-half hours, so when you are distracted by not paying attention to the words, he makes sure you are arrested. Scenes and details of sets and costumes that probably needed a magnifying glass to be fully appreciated. The visuals make you feel like this is a ride through a museum that has life-like dioamas but upon closer inspection, it’s actually an actor pouring in his blood and sweat to get the perfect tear shot from his right eye. Get out
A common criticism of Bhansali’s films is that the story is not his strongest suit, but who told it? Filmmaking is an amalgamation of different art forms and as one would assume, not everything is always in the right place to make a perfect film and in his case, the thing that suffers the most is the story. Is it inspired by Romeo and Juliet Golione’s Rasleela Ram-Leela where people are signing orders for mass murders (how some of this illegality even requires paperwork?) Or is that really what we have heartened I agree that the second part of Vanaraja Bana? A mistake), or that awkward climax of Padmavat (which will never be the scene of Johar), Bhansali’s films eventually lose the plot, but it seems that by the end What keeps you interested? Yes, it’s those costumes and sets!
The music of Bhansali’s films has been a mainstay since the days of his Khamoshi and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. There was great music in Sanwaria, even to his reputation. So, like many greats who do not believe in delegation and swear by the fundamentals of micromanaging, Bhansali jumped to the deep end with Guzaarish and has since become musical men for all his films. And to his credit, it was probably the best decision he had ever made in his film career.
Another regular feature of a Bhansali film, or at least what we have seen in his last three films, is the ability of people to find something controversial that allegedly disturbs the pride of a community. A clip of a naked waist can cut your nose and even lead to the suspicion that the film may eventually hit the director.
Bollywood was a simple place when Bhansali did his early work and when technological advancements inspired us to see Padmavat in 3D, it has become a difficult place for someone who believes to be a relic of the past Being that makes him vintage, and not obsolete.