Sanjay Bhansali turns 51

On Feb 24, Sanjay Leela Bhansali turns 51 without fanfare. Says the director, “Last year my sister arranged a big surprise 50th birthday party. This year I am in a quiet space. I just want to think and write. I never believed in birthday parties. During childhood, my sister and I had no birthday parties. We would take a packet of sweets to school and distribute it to our class-mates. That was it. We never had birthday parties. Nor were we allowed to go to parties. Now it has become a habit to be on my own on my birthday.”

SLB feels more creatively fulfilled now than he ever did. “I feel I am at that stage of my life when all my hard work, all the knowledge and experiences that I’ve gathered over the years have come to fruition. I feel more fulfilled and complete today than I did when I was 40.”

Post the grand success of Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, SLB feels rejuvenated. “I’m more adventurous now. I am more fearless as an artiste. I am working with various kinds of talent. I directed an opera in Paris in 2008. Now I want to do more of the things that I can do if I have a team around me. Today I am working far harder than I did five years ago. I put in nearly 20 hours every day. And I am enjoying every bit of it.”

At the moment SLB is producing a massy masala movie called Gabbar. “I’ve grown up in Bhuleshwar. I’d pass through the red-light area every day looking at those theatres with those eccentric names. I’ve grown up with the rowdies and the Gabbars all around me. I loved those movies of the early 1970s near Alfred Talkies. The humour in my life even in my in own family was filmy. It’s a wonderful thing to go back to these titles.”

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