`Ram-leela` a liberating experience: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Mumbai: Sanajy Leela Bhansali is feeling liberated ever since his `Ram-leela` hit the screens and wowed the critics and audiences alike. And why not, this success has come to him after six years and two duds - `Saawariya` and `Guzaarish`.
Bhansali is in a celebratory mood and shares his excitement in a tête-à-tête:
Q: `Ram-leela` opened to stupendous reviews and roaring audiences. How are you feeling?
A: It feels...liberating! I`ve finally slept peacefully the whole night. The last few weeks have been traumatic. The protests left me shaken and drained. But now that the film is being so appreciated, I`ve blocked out all the troubles. When your work is being seen and appreciated, you feel all the effort has been worth it. I am happy to see the audience is getting the nuances in the narration. The passion of the entire vast and crew has paid off.
Q: `Ram-leela` comes after the failure of two of your films...
A: Yes, we had worked with equal passion on `Saawariya` and `Guzaarish`. Both the films are as precious to me as `Ram-leela`. But somehow our efforts did not connect with the audience in my last two films. That broke my heart. I got back to direction determined to get back my audience. I needed "Ram-leela" to reach out to the the widest possible audience. Not that I made `Ram-leela` to prove anything. I made the film I enjoyed making and I hoped audiences would share my pleasure.
Q: This time your work has been appreciated by critics across the board?
A: I`d be lying if I said critical appreciation is not important. Interpretation and de-construction are important to any work of art. If there are is an art behind making a film, viewing films is also an art.
Q: Somewhere this film seems close to the environment you grew up in?
A: The Bhansali clan is extremely robust, frank and colourful in their language. I grew up hearing my aunts say the most outrageously uninhibited things as though they were the most natural thing in the world. I realised the language I heard in my childhood is the spoken idiom of today`s youngsters... There is just that sense of candour and directness in the way the youngsters talk. And audiences have warmed up the celebration of physicality in the love relationship. As a filmmaker it`s very liberating to explore the union of body and mind in a love-relationship. It`s no longer enough to show a boy and a girl looking at one another when they fall in love.
Q: And yet your lovers Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh don`t really sleep together in the film?
A: That`s the irony, which took me away from the original Shakespearean play. For me, it was important to show that the lovers could only be united completely in death. I wanted to hold back the consummation of their love.
Q: How hard was it for you to make Ranveer and Deepika convey the sexual tension?
A: I just had to explain to them what I wanted. They had never played such unabashed characters. Once in a while Deepika would get taken aback by her character`s uninhibited behaviour. But she would convey exactly what I wanted. Both of them are marvelous actors. They made the expression of love so effortless and magical. They have conveyed the purest form of love.
Q: For the first time you shot a film almost entirely on location?
A: Going out and shooting was a big challenge. It was also so interesting to shoot so many different kinds of architecture. Putting my lovers in a real space was very liberating. I was reacting to spaces very differently this time. But even parts of `Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam` and `Guzaarish` were shot on actual locations.
Q: What about the guns and violence?
A: I loved it. It`s very important for a filmmaker to get out of his comfort zone. Violence is such an integral part of `Romeo And Juliet`. My action director Sham Kaushal always wondered why I asked him to be part of my films. The most violent thing that has happened in my cinema so far was a slap. This time Shyam has justified his pay cheque.
Q: Final thoughts?
A: Relief, joy, great satisfaction. `Ram-leela` has been an exhausting liberating experience. I am so much consumed by the film. I am so happy by the way people have reacted. Everyone from Karan Johar and Rishi Kapoor to Asha Parekhji and Javed Akhtar saab loved it. I am not even thinking of what film I will do next. Right now I am happily jobless.