Happy Birthday, Sanjay Leela Bhansali: 15 little-known facts from his films

Shreya Katkar
Monday, 24 February 2020

On the occasion of his 57th birthday let’s look at some of the lesser-known trivia from his filmography in chronology:

Born February 24, 1963, Sanjay Leela Bhansali is one of the most acclaimed filmmakers in the Bollywood. A director, screenwriter, producer and music composer, Bhansali is a recipient of numerous awards like National Film Awards, Filmfare awards, etc. He also has a BAFTA nomination to his name.

On the occasion of his 57th birthday let’s look at some of the lesser-known trivia from his filmography in chronology:

Khamoshi: The Musical (1996)
1. Helen’s cameo: Khamoshi: The Musical was the first film directed by Bhansali. Helen accepted the role in this film because her stepson Salman Khan made a special request.

2. Manisha-Nana pair: Nana Patekar played the role of Manisha Koirala’s father in this film. Five months earlier, in the same year, Agni Sakshi had released where Nana played Manisha’s abusive husband.

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999)
3. Salman’s strange habit: Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam is a romantic drama film that was loved by many. In this film, Salman Khan is seen to have a strange habit of talking to his deceased father, looking at the sky. Bhansali had lost his father at a young age, and he had this habit himself, where he communicated to his father by looking at the sky.

Devdas (2002)
4. Dola Re: Devdas was a super-hit. The coming together of Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit was looked forward to. The iconic song of ‘Dola Re’, featuring both the superstars took two long weeks to be filmed.

5. Music: Music director Ismail Darbar and Bhansali devoted two-and-a-half years to compose the film’s music.

Black (2005)
6. ‘Benim Dunyam’: The much-acclaimed 2013 Turkish film, Benim Dunyam was a remake of Black. The film was directed by Turkish director Uğur Yücel.

7. Ranbir-Sonam at Black? Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor made their Bollywood debut with Bhansali, in Black. However, it’s little known that both were Bhansali’s assistant directors during the filming of Black.

8. A Filmfare record: Black had won 11 Filmfare Awards. This stood as a record for
most Filmfare Awards won by a film for 14 years till Gully Boy bagged 13, earlier this month.

Saawariya (2007)
9. A Russian short story: The film was inspired by White Nights, a Russian short story, penned by Fyodor Dostoevsky.

10. Sony Pictures: It was the first-ever Bollywood film to be produced and released by a Hollywood studio – Sony Pictures.

Guzaarish (2010)
11. The other titles: Did you know that the title ‘Guzaarish’ wasn’t accepted in the first draft? The other titles considered for the film were ‘Beqarar’ and ‘Hamari Jaan Ho Tum.’

Goliyon Ki Rasleela: Ram Leela (2013)
12. Deepika’s heavyweight ghagra: The ghagra that Deepika Padukone wore in ‘Nagada Sang Dhol' weighed around 30 kilograms. Before the shoot began, Deepika experienced massive pain on her shoulder and back but decided to be a good sport and wore a medical brace to complete the shoot on time.

Bajirao Mastani (2015)
13. Ranveer Singh wasn’t the first choice: Bhansali's epic historical romance film Bajirao Mastani was a visual treat. Ranveer won several awards for his performance.However, Salman Khan and Ajay Devgn were approached for the lead role of Peshwa Bajirao before Ranveer.

14. Thanks to Bhansali’s cook: The famous 'Pinga’ dance step was borrowed from Bhansali's cook and house help.

Padmaavat (2018)
15. The Ghoomar ghagra: The extravagant outfits and grand set designs were the major talking points for the super-hit film. For the filming of the song, Ghoomar, Deepika wore a lehenga worth INR 20 lakhs (approx.) that weighed 30 kilograms!

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