Sanjay Leela Bhansali's birthday: Celebrating filmmaker's strong-willed, unapologetic female characters
"A simple guy with a complex mind" is how Simi Garewal described Sanjay Leela Bhansali on her show, Rendezvous. The maverick filmmaker is a master at weaving stories that captivate audiences, and, he's known for his narrative style, elaborate set designs, and buoyant soundtracks. As SLB turned 60 on Friday, we take a look at some of his most powerful and fierce female characters.
Kashibai & Mastani in 'Bajirao Mastani'
The ace filmmaker has a knack for creating strong and memorable female characters, like none other, and Kashibai (Priyanka Chopra) and Mastani (Deepika Padukone), are prime examples of this. Although Kashibai may seem one-dimensional and predictable, she actually has many layers. Meanwhile, the warrior princess Mastani, despite facing opposition from society, remains steadfast in her love and proves her worth on the battlefield.
Gangubai in 'Gangubai Kathiawadi'
You can't help but fall in love with how Alia Bhatt has portrayed the character Gangubai, the madam of a brothel in Gangubai Kathiawadi, who eventually rises to power as the district's leader. Unlike his contemporary filmmakers, Bhansali has an eye for details, and in this film, you will find hand movements and facial gestures, that at times drive the whole narrative.
Paro & Chandramukhi in 'Devdas'
The larger-than-life sets and classic soundtracks of this timeless love saga are still etched in the memories of audiences. With this film, Bhansali introduced two female characters that defined the enduring, emotional side of women, beautifully. On one hand, Paro stands tall and doesn't get overshadowed by her feelings, and on the other, Chandramukhi, despite being ostracized by society, remains loyal to her love.
Padmavati in 'Padmaavat'
The maverick filmmaker creates a whole different universe when he takes up a period drama. Even with oozing star power, he manages to give voice to individual characters. Padmavati is yet another example of a powerful female character that comes with complex and multi-dimensional features. The legendary queen, known for her beauty, intelligence, and bravery, defies all stereotypes and challenges societal norms.
Annie in 'Khamoshi- The Musical'
Released in 1996, the film marked one of the best performances of Manisha Koirala to date. In the '90s era, it was a rare sight for a heroine to drive the whole narrative, but in this film, Annie, the caring daughter of a deaf-mute couple became an extremely relatable character. Apart from her unconditional love for her parents, she has insecurities, ambitions, and desires.