Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a highly acclaimed Indian film director. He is an alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India. Bhansali has adopted the middle name “Leela” as a tribute to his mother, Leela Bhansali.
Bhansali began his career as an assistant to Vidhu Vinod Chopra and was involved in the making of Parinda, 1942 A Love Story and Kareeb. However, both had a fall out when Bhansali refused to direct Kareeb and instead made his directorial debut outside the Chopra camp with Khamoshi: The Musical, the commercially unsuccessful, but critically acclaimed narration of a daughter’s struggle to communicate with her deaf mute parents.
His next film was a triangular love story, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, which established his individualistic stamp for visual splendour and creating auras of celebration and festivity. The film was a great success and won numerous awards. His next film Devdas was Bhansali’s ode to the well known novel of the same name.
Upon its theatrical release in India, the film surfaced as the highest grossing movie. It also won major Bollywood awards and was India’s official entry to the Oscars. The musical received a significant reception at Cannes, where it premiered.
Then came Black, which Time Magazine (Europe) selected as the fifth of the 10 Best Movies of the Year 2005 from across the globe. Black broke a record at the 2006 Filmfare Awards, winning eleven awards. After having four successes, Bhansali experienced his first major flop in Saawariya, which was met with sharp criticisms and simultaneously poor collections at the box office. His next directorial venture was titled Guzarish starring Hrithik Roshan & Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.