By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai: Sanjay Leela Bhansali confesses that there were “relationships that didn’t work out”. He admits that his life may be “unfulfilled”, but it isn’t “unhappy”.
“All the pain, suffering, love passion and conflict have made me what I am. I make passionate love stories because I don’t have love in my life. My art completes my life. My life may be unfulfilled. But it isn’t unhappy,” said Bhansali who turned 50 this year.
The maker of hits like “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” and “Devdas” doesn’s miss anything in life and adds that he has chosen the life he leads. “There were relationships that didn’t work out. I am basically a nomadic loner,” said the filmmaker and adds “Salman Khan is one person I’d always consider very close to my heart”.
Q: Earlier you were apprehensive about apportioning responsibility in your production house?
A: I am more adventurous now. I am more fearless as an artiste. I want directors from the outside to bring in their aesthetics into my production house. For example, Prabhudheva made “Rowdy Rathore” and my sister Bela made “Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi” for me, which I couldn’t have directed and which I am very proud of. I directed an opera in Paris in 2008. Now I want to do more of the things that I can do if I have a team around me. Today, I am working far harder than I did five years ago. I put in nearly 20 hours every day. And I am enjoying every bit of it.
Q: With “Rowdy Rathore” you have set a trend for cheesy C-grade titles like “Revolver Rani” and “Bullet Raja” and “Rajkumar Rambo”?
A: I’ve grown in Bhuleshwar (in Mumbai). I’d pass through the red-light area every day looking at those theatres with those eccentric names. I’ve grown up with the rowdies and the rajas all around me. I loved those movies of the early 1970s near Alfred Talkies. The humour in my life, even in my own family was filmy. It’s a wonderful thing to go back to these titles. I am very proud of ‘Rowdy Rathore’. The day I titled it “Rowdy Rathore” was the day the film’s fate changed. I love the sound of it. And I am glad other directors have started using these massy titles. Nothing cheesy about it. People erupt with ecstasy at such titles.
Q: Do you miss having that someone special in your life?
A: No, I have chosen the life I lead. There were relationships that didn’t work out. I am basically a nomadic loner. And I am not capable of moving ahead with the baggage of a relationship. I’ve seen relationships traumatize people. As a child, I’d helplessly watch relationships crumble around me. Every individual is a sum-total of his past experiences. Maybe that’s why I am wary of relationships.
Q: If you had to change anything in life what would it be?
A: Nothing. Nothing at all. All the pain, suffering, love passion and conflict have made me what I am. I make passionate love stories because I don’t have love in my life. My art completes my life. My life may be unfulfilled. But it isn’t unhappy.
Q: Is it possible to make good friends in the film industry?
A: I think so. But as a filmmaker I often find actors feel betrayed when you don’t cast them repeatedly and the friendship ends. That is very limiting and hurtful for any filmmaker. Also, there’s a tendency among some actors to make fun of the people they call their friends. But then cruelty is part of all human beings. But yes, people in the industry do stand by one another. As long as it’s not work-based.
Q: Are Aishwarya Rai and Rani Mukerji your friends?
A: They are very dear to me. So are Shah Rukh Khan and Manisha Koirala. And Salman Khan is one person I’d always consider very close to my heart. But to me friendship doesn’t mean sitting with people every day.