Sanjay Leela Bhansali completes 25 years in Bollywood, says ‘still a long way to go’

On Monday, filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali celebrated 25 years in the profession, saying he has cherished “every minute” of his time in Bollywood. Bhansali, who has established himself as one of the country’s most important directors in the previous two decades, made his directorial debut in 1996 with the drama Khamoshi: The Musical. Manisha Koirala, Salman Khan, Nana Patekar, and Seema Biswas starred in the film.

However, it was the love drama Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, released in 1999, that brought him national fame. With a star-studded ensemble, iconic melodies, and lavishly built sets, the film, starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Salman Khan, and Ajay Devgn, showcased his love for larger-than-life storytelling.

Bhansali Productions’ official account released a montage of his films on Twitter, highlighting his Bollywood career via his work. “Each passing day has signalled the start of a new chapter.” Without each of you, a thousand-mile voyage would not have been feasible.

“As we celebrate #25YearsOfSLB, we relive every moment of curating these handmade films just for you. Thank you for being a part of this incredible journey,” the tweet read.

Following the success of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Bhansali directed critically acclaimed blockbuster dramas such as the 2002 remake of Devdas, starring Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and Madhuri Dixit Nene; megastar Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukerji in Black (2005); and the 2010 romance drama Guzaarish, starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.

Bhansali introduced two fresh stars from the film industry in his 2007 romantic drama Saawariya: Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja.

He then adapted Shakespeare’s tragic romance Romeo and Juliet for the film in Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela in 2013, starring Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, before moving on to historical dramas such as Bajirao Mastani (2015) and Padmaavat in 2018.

The special anniversary video ended with the quote of the 58-year-old director. “I have enjoyed every minute of making films these 25 years… And still a long way to go,” he said.

Bhansali has worked as an editor and music composer on several of his films in addition to directing, scripting, and producing them. For his efforts in Devdas, Black, Bajirao Mastani, and his most recent film, Padmaavat, the filmmaker has won four National Film Awards.

Bhansali also sponsored Akshay Kumar’s action flick Rowdy Rathore and Priyanka Chopra’s 2014 biography Mary Kom, which received a National Award for most popular picture offering wholesome pleasure.

The filmmaker is now preparing for the premiere of Gangubai Kathiawadi, his forthcoming drama. Alia Bhatt stars in the picture, which is set for a theatrical release.

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