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Bhansali tries his hand at directing French opera
After directing four monumental epics in Bollywood, Sanjay Leela Bhansali moves to Paris in 2008 to direct an opera.
Bhansali, whose "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam", "Devdas" and "Black" have defined aesthetic mainstream cinema in the last decade, has been signed on by France's opera company Theatre du Chatelet to direct an opera which will be staged in 2008.
The director says it's like a dream come true.
"The dynamics of the opera fascinate me. I always wanted to do theatre, more specifically the opera. The experience would rejuvenate me as a creative artiste and help me connect with creative spaces more openly. Besides, I'm accused of being theatrical by my colleagues in India anyway.
"The opera gives me the chance to carry every emotion to the highest scale. That's something I enjoy doing. I can't deny theatrical influences in my cinema. So, in a way this opera will give me the chance to return to my roots," Bhansali told IANS.
Bhansali, who is in the process of completing his latest cinematic opus "Saawariya", says he wasn't very sure when he got the offer.
"It's an honour not just for me but the whole country. I think my operatic mode of storytelling in 'Devdas' convinced the Theatre du Chatelet to approach me. I was very reassured that the film's design had worked.
"Very frankly, I was flattered but unsure whether I wanted to do it. After all, a staged opera is a discipline entirely different from cinema. Would I be able to pull it off? I'm glad I've agreed to do it. It's a very exhilarating and exciting prospect to use my operatic vision on stage."
Very selected filmmakers from the world over have been invited by what's considered the world's most prestigious opera company. Among the filmmakers thus invited are: Hong Kong's Yimou Zhang of "The House Of Flying Daggers" and Hollywood's Woody Allen.
The organisers of the theatre visited Mumbai several times before convincing Bhansali to do the needful.
"I wanted to be very sure if I wanted to do it, and then when I wanted to do it. My schedules for 'Saawariya' couldn't suffer. I'll be in Paris for three months in 2008 from January to March. I'll be putting the show together. Then in March 2008 when the opera goes on stage I'll return home.
The script is an old literary work by a French litterateur from the 1920s.
"I love its rhythms and music. I've been trying to catch up on as many operas as possible in between my schedules of 'Saawariya'."
The opera will be staged all over the world.
"I'm already very nervous. It's a very lavish production, involving a huge cast and production values. That unfolding of the whole spectacular opera with a live orchestra just thrills me. I'm very honoured. At the same time it scares me.
"I'm going into a totally untried genre. It's a lot of responsibility. It requires a lot of preparation. But I'm sure I'll pull it off."