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Sanjay Leela Bhansali: I'm obsessed with Madhuri Dixit

Last updated on: May 27, 2011 13:12 IST
Sanjay Leela Bhansali with Shilpa Shetty and Farah Khan

Filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali is all set to judge the Indian version of music mogul Simon Cowell's singing reality show, The X Factor. The Saanwariya filmmaker will be accompanied by singers Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal.

In conversation with Rajul Hegde, the director talks about his stint as a reality show judge, his X factor and his favourite actress.

Why did you stay away from television after Jhalak Dikhla Ja?

Jhalak was a wonderful experience but it was important for me to get back to films since I am a director too. After Guzaarish I had some time before my next film, so I decide to do this show. I thought it'd be a good idea to do a reality show after four years. Besides, people might get bored if they see me in every other show.

What is X factor according to you?

I don't know how to define it. Finding that quality in singing is going to be challenging. The winner willl have to be a complete performer, someone who is able to express effectively through their songs.

I want to see a performer. In India, Kishor Da (Kumar) was a complete entertainer, he had that X Factor. He did what he felt like doing and everything just came from his heart, his singing, dancing, acting

'I'm still discovering my X factor'

Last updated on: May 27, 2011 13:12 IST
Priyanka Chopra, Madhuri Dixit and Malaika Arora Khan

What is your X factor?

I am still discovering it. I feel it's my hard work. I work like a dog. I know I have something in me but as I said am still finding it. X factor is for another person to see into me but not for me to see in myself.

Will the X Factor contestants get a chance to sing for your film?

Yes. If someone really touches my soul why not! I have worked with a lot of newcomers, be it Vibhavari in Guzaarish or Monty, Shail Hada or Ismail Darbar. New people bring new energy. They don't come with excess baggage and they give you a lot more. If the person is good then I would take them.

Were you careful about making remarks and giving feedback while judging Jhalak?

Oh yes! I feel it is important to respect contestants on national TV, celebrity or not. You don't have to be rude. I had to judge Rati Agnihotri (senior actress) and a fellow director like Mahesh Manjrekar, so had to be careful with what I said. When you treat someone with respect and dignity, there is a lot of fun to it. Bad behaviour on TV is quite nauseating and putting off.

'Madhuri loved Guzaarish'

Last updated on: May 27, 2011 13:12 IST
Madhuri Dixit on Jhalak

Did you watch Madhuri Dixit on Jhalak?

I waited for two-and-half years during Khamoshi to ask her to read the script but I couldn't get through to her. So I made the film without her. During Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam also I tried but it did not happen. Then I ensured that in Devdas Madhuri was there.

When we were doing the film she called saying she was getting married and asked if I still wanted her in the film. I told her that it didn't matter if she was getting married or having kids, I still wanted her to play Chandramukhi.

I waited for four years as a director to see her dance as Chandramukhi, whereas in Jhalak Dikhla Jaa the contestants got to see her every two minutes. I was very upset with this. I felt it was unfair. She is such a great artist. She lights up each one of her performances and that is her X factor. I've wanted to direct her in all of my films, right from Khamoshi. I am obsessed with her. No other director is as obsessed with an actress (smiles).

Do you keep in touch with her?

With our busy schedules, it's difficult to meet on a regular basis. But yes we did speak on the phone. She saw Guzaarish and called me to say that she loved it. It meant a lot to me.