Like him or hate him, Sanjay Leela Bhansali is one of the top directors in Bollywood today. His movies like Devdas and Black have been critically acclaimed worldwide. The recent blockbuster Bajirao Mastani got fourteen Filmfare nominations, winning nine of them, including Best Director, Best Film, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Production and Costume Design. SLB’s movies are known for their star cast, elaborate sets, grandeur, and the style of narration. Even a movie with a plot that might be critically panned will surely still be a visual treat for the audience. On his 53rd birthday, let’s take a look at his his best (and worst) movies:
In case you haven’t watched any Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie yet, this list should tell you which ones are worth a watch.
The film was inspired by the life of Helen Keller and starred Rani Mukerji as a blind and deaf girl, with Amitabh Bachchan as her teacher. The performances of the lead actors were highly praised by critics and the film was selected as one of the best movies of 2005 by Time Magazine (Europe).
Verdict: A must-watch for all kinds of movie-goers.
2. Khamoshi: The Musical
This musical drama, starring Manisha Koirala, Salman Khan, Nana Patekar and Seema Biswas, marked SLB’s directorial debut. Although not a box office success, the movie was critically acclaimed and won many Filmfare and Star Screen awards.
Verdict: One of SLB’s very best and a memorable musical.
3. Bajirao Mastani
This film, which was in the making for 15 years, emerged as one of Bollywood’s highest grossing films. Critics were awed with the direction, cinematography as well as the performances of Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone.
Verdict: A masterpiece on love and war.
Based on Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel of the same name, Devdas boasted of a massive star cast – Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit. This movie was critically appreciated and also nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Language.
Verdict: A tear-jerker for those who enjoy tragic love stories.
5. Goliyon Ki Raasleela: Ram-Leela
SLB was the director, co-producer, co-writer, co-editor and co-composer of this romantic thriller starring Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone. The movie was well-received worldwide and yet another critical success.
Verdict: Worth a watch for romantic movie lovers.
6. Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam
This romantic drama was SLB’s second movie and first box office hit. The movie was hailed for its production, cinematography, music and performances by Salman Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Ajay Devgn. The movie went on to win several national awards, including Filmfare, Star Screen, IIFA, Zee Cine and Zee Gold.
Verdict: The emotional content can be a bit too much for masala lovers.
This movie, starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai was Bhansali’s first as a music director. The movie received mixed reviews from critics and was a box office failure. It won several awards for its cinematic excellence and performances of the lead actors though.
Verdict: Ideal for big city dwellers; one of Hrithik’s best performances.
Said to be SLB’s worst movie till date, the film starred newcomers Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor, with cameos by Rani Mukherji and Salman Khan. The movie flopped at the box office and was panned by the critics too.
Verdict: Watch it for its beautiful set design.
Besides these, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has also produced movies like My Friend Pinto, Rowdy Rathore, Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi, Mary Kom and Gabbar is Back. Unlike his directorial films, these films lack the pain and trauma of an SLB film. His films are emotional and ideal for romance lovers.
— By Delnaz Divecha