An ode to love
Sanjay Leela Bhansali on why Devdas is more than a film.
"Devdas is more than a film. It is a tribute to my parents' love," states director Sanjay Leela Bhansali on the eve of the release of his Rs 500 million magnum opus.
"It is not just an interpretation of a novel but catharsis for me. I have felt these things time and again. I have made Devdas to give me a little peace," said Bhansali, in an interview on BBC's Face to Face with Karan Thapar.
"Devdas is the story of my father (Navin Bhansali) and mother (Leela Bhansali)," says Bhansali adding, "the starting point is when my father died of cirrhosis in the hospital."
"My mother loved him immensely but he never expressed his love for her. And when he was dying he came out of his state of coma and extended his hand to her. I realised it was just this one moment that my mother had lived for 25 or 30 years of her life. She never realised she was in love with this man who never expressed his feelings," says Bhansali.
In the film, when Devdas is dying outside Paro's house, he extends his hand towards her. "It is not important whether she reached out or not, but that reaching out was the process I wanted to elaborate," explains Bhansali.
A lot of changes have been made in his adaptation of the classic novel by Sarat Chandra Chatterjee. "It's how I react to the novel. As a director, I have taken liberties, but they are not blasphemous."
As he anxiously awaits for the release of Devdas and the response it will gather, Bhansali says he has been through a lot during the last two-and-a-half years of making the film.
"I have been on my knees, for things to be done, but with my head held high. If He (God) has seen me through all that, he will see me through this too. I am keeping my fingers crossed."
Bhansali, while talking about his earlier films, says the single string that runs through all his movies is 'love' -- that you love only once and never love again, which means if you have lost once, you have lost forever. "Devdas is all about that."
Bhansali is hoping Devdas will be recieved favourably by the audience. "It is catharsis I am looking for. Hope the audience loves it too."
ALSO READ: The Devdas Special