After 8 years the most Powerful Actor & Director of Indian Cinema today, ShahRukh Khan & Sanjay Leela Bhansali, battle once again at the Box-office on a Friday. My Back-to-Back rendezvous with Bollywood on 18th Dec 2015 brought back the memories of the week when Om Shanti Om & Saawariya were released in 2007. An ardent fan of Bhansali’s craft, I could never graduate to being a true SRK fan. The only time I ended up praising his work was for Bhansali’s “Devdas”  in the past.
OSO was Grand and possessed all the elements required for a Blockbuster. SRK displayed his talent to excel outside the Prestigious “Yash Chopra” banner along with his newly acquired Six-pack Abs. It introduced the current “Heart-throb” Deepika Padukone. The “Karz” era was re-visited with Farah Khan taking charge behind the cameras. Saawariya on the other hand was experimental. The Blue theme & the Dreamy narrative in an imaginary city proved to be a rare cinematic experience for me. It remains, till date, the “Moulin Rouge” of my dreams. Its scintillating music was an orchestra redefined for screens. Ranbir Kapoor’s debut was awaited for long & he was presented like a “Dream Lover” straight out of “Operatic” Fairy tales. Sonam Kapoor was nothing but a fresh Lotus in this kaleidoscopic Pond of contemporary Rhapsody. Salman & Rani [in their supporting roles] were like true parents to these two anxious birds fresh out of their cages. But Bhansali failed to capture the attention of the mass audiences who rejected the Movie. OSO went ahead at the ticket counters and grossed all the success that was anticipated.
This week I proudly seated myself in the Cinema hall for the “First day First show” of Bajirao Mastani with a gleam of pride. I have grown up with the tales of “Mughle Azam” which I have repeatedly seen on the DVD’s and all this while I was awaiting a Fresh Historical Epic which I could view in my own era. A movie I could narrate as my individual/personal perception allowed me to. Bajirao Mastani is the story of a crusader for love; a fearless warrior amidst a society full of hatred & bigotry. It’s a tale of The Passionate Mastani – a princess; a soldier; a lover who equated Ishq with Ibaadat; who bore the humiliation & brutality for being the Maratha legend’s lover. Every single moment in the movie is like an immaculate recitation of a wonderful saga lost in history. Ranveer Singh excels & executes every pivotal scene like no other can. A die-hard Salman Khan fan like me failed to remind myself who the original choice for the role had been. Meticulous Cinematography makes the narration flawless. The costumes & Shringar have elevated the standards of Bollywood & the Art Direction [The Lamps, The Blood-soaked/barren landscapes & the grandeur of the Aina Mahal] is out of this world. The biggest challenge must have laid with Bhansali who has taken upon himself to present a story from a different era which has lacked familiarity. The movie is a tragedy indeed & the romantic theme seems fragile but when you compare it with the second release of the day “Dilwaale”, the terms “for the classes” & “for the masses” are clearly defined. Dilwaale is senseless. It’s a typical Rohit Shetty film which is a mere extension of his “Golmaal” series. His Goa fixation & mid-air blasts of branded cars, cacophonus balderdash of side actors, over-lapping sequences & a stereotype comic script ended up irritating me because I was drawn by the No. 1 onscreen pair of Bollywood- SRK-Kajol to the theatre. Their comeback was bland; perhaps the expectations were too high! They featured together in bits & pieces and there wasn’t a single power-packed scene which could carry their legacy ahead. They seemed lost in the buffoonery created by almost everyone around them [pink jackets & ponytails with branded-humour]. They did lighten up the sparks for the moments they looked at each other & when SRK out-stretched his arms for her but it was short-lived for all that was happening around them stole their branded Romantic chemistry.
The clash b/w these two Powerful Stalwarts is surely going to produce a verdict soon as the Box-Office collection will be calculated within this week but as biased as I may sound, My personal pronouncement favors Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Its “Star Wars” in India. I hope & wish & pray that the classes outdo the masses for once. Keeping the awards and the profits aside, the Indian audience need to appreciate the efforts put together by this “Showman” who has definitely provided growth to the country’s biggest stars- right from Amitabh Bachchan to Ranveer Singh, from Rani Mukherji to Deepika Padukone.
Speaking of yours truly, i promise to repeat my “First-day First-show” tryst with his next release. Sanjay Leela Bhansali sir, you are indeed the Showman of my times.