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'Every Time I Was Attacked I Used My Pain And Suffering As An Impetus To Work Better': Sanjay Leela Bhansali On 3 Years After The Stormy Padmaavat

As the film completes 3 years, Sanjay Leela Bhansali opens up on the Padmavaat controversy and being physically attacked while filming the Deepika, Ranveer and Shahid starrer.

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'Every Time I Was Attacked I Used My Pain And Suffering As An Impetus To Work Better': Sanjay Leela Bhansali On 3 Years After The Stormy Padmaavat
Sanjay Leela  Bhansali still recalls with shuddering smile the trauma that he went through while making Padmaavat when he and the film were attacked by a right-wing group. “It was  crazy! Through all of it, I was more worried about my mother and happy that she was with me. I don’t know how I’d have survived without her at my side. She kept saying, ‘Mere bete ke saath aisa kyon ho raha hai? Woh itni achchi filmein banata hai’. My mother was my pillar of strength.”

But Sanjay never thought of giving up. “Never. Not at all.  Never! That would’ve been the end of me as a filmmaker. Every time I was attacked I used my pain and suffering as an impetus to work better. I  channelized all my anxiety into making Padmaavat. I think suffering has always been an incentive for my creativity.”

So was Padmaavat history or fiction. Or both? Explains the brilliant director, “It was based on the poem Padmavat by Malik Mohammed Jayasi. But it also had figures and incidents taken from actual history. I was fascinated by Rani Padmavati from my childhood. Her grace dignity valour and inner strength are very inspiring. I wanted to make a film about her life for a very long time. But before I could do the  film I got the chance to direct the stage musical version of Padmavati an opera  in two acts by the French composer Albert Roussel that I directed  in Paris in 2008.”

However, the film had nothing to do with the Opera. “Not at all. That Padmavati was a staged musical done on a lavish scale with elephants tigers and other animals on stage. It was an entirely different experience from the film. This is the first time I  explored evil in such dark deep detail. I had never before gone into this zone before. To  portray evil on this scale  was a  new and challenging  experience  for me.”

Ranveer Singh got incredible reviews for his villainous act. Was Bhansali at all unsure of his cast’s box office status after Ranveer’s Befikre, and Deepika Padukone after XXX and Shahid Kapoor after Rangoon? “Not at all! It made no difference to me whether they had successes or flops behind them. I wanted these actors and only these three actors. And I am so happy with the quality of the performances they have given in  my film.”

Image source: Instagram/deepikapadukone, Youtube/T-Series, SpotboyE archives
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