The man who finds solace in silence in the midst of greatness

From Khamoshi to Padmaavat, how Sanjay Leela Bhansali uses silence with grandeur (Photo credit: IMDb, Youtube / Viacom18 Studios)

We can’t crown Sanjay Leela Bhansali as the best filmmaker of our time, but you will certainly have to agree that he is one of the best dreamers we could meet. A man whose name reflects opulence and grandeur, a man who painted our screens with dreams he saw. The Bhansali universe is a poetry that radiates love, desire and links.

Every time Raj realized that Sakina was not his and silently walked away, our hearts broke. Not to mention that Balraj climbed the oceans to meet Nandini Prem, or when Leela & Ram fought for love in this piece, we all saw love, desire and stunning visuals all at the same time. It’s not only the words that struck us in Bhansali’s universe, but the silences speak louder, his first film Khamoshi indeed has a mute man with the most expressive personality.

Today, as Sanjay Leela Bhansali celebrates his 58th birthday and prepares to release the teaser for his highly anticipated film Gangubai Kathiawadi, I am listing 5 moments from his films that spoke to me on different levels.


Sanjay Leela Bhansali debuted with a gem called Khamoshi with Manisha Koirala, Salman Khan, Seema Biswas and Nana Patekar. While the movie was full of touching moments, the one that stuck with me forever is the birth of Annie. She was born into a deaf and dumb couple, and she can speak and hear, what will a dumb man do to express his happiness? He runs and runs on the beach, waving his hands in the air, telling the world his daughter can talk. The silence is deafening and magical.


It was in 2002 that SLB added the word Magnum opus to our vocabulary by creating one with its version of Devdas. Starring Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Madhuri Dixit Nene, the film is Calcutta of Bhansali’s vision. If there is ever a compilation of the best climax scenes, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas will make a cut. Paro fills the diya she lit for Devdas as he breathes his last outside her door. She gets to know her and runs with her lost pallu, a sight that Hindi cinema will always cherish. And the moment the theme song comes into play! I’m waiting for someone to make a tragic climax that can beat this one.


Black is Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s most subtle and heartbreaking drama to date. Loosely based on Hellen Keller, it starred Amitabh Bachchan, Rani Mukerji in the lead roles. Black is silence, as SLB himself says, but not in the mind of his Michele who lives in his own chaos. Do you remember when she told her teacher to kiss her? Now, if the next moment and the gaze haven’t pierced your heart, then what will. In order not to forget Michele’s graduation speech, I have to admit it, I cried.


Raise your hand if you agree; Guzaarish is the second most underrated Bhansali film after Saawariya. Too ahead of its time, written by Bhavani Iyer, Guzaarish played Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan in the lead. We often talk about Udi and how beautiful Rai is, but have you ever noticed Hrithik’s face at the end. He falls in love again, but this time he knows it, love. With the wife he spent 12 years. As she dances, breaking the monotony around her, Ethan captures the moment when Shail Hada’s “aalap” takes over.


The newest of all, Padmaavat is the greatest of SLB movies. What stayed with me was to be Jauhar’s last 15 minutes. Sanjay Leela Bhansali for the sake of silence kept them completely without dialogue. There was just emotion and a Padmavati (Deepika Padukone) walking towards the high pyre and a haunting smile on her face. Rani Sa in the background has been designed so that you can feel the goosebumps.

I was introduced to cinema with a film by Bhansali, this story is for another day. But if you’re ok with my compilation, let us know in the comments section below. Until then, let’s enjoy the beauty and the tragedy while we love in our concrete world.

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