High pitch and heightened emotions – welcome to the universe of Sanjay Leela Bansali, where feelings are capitalised and characters thrash about in agony or ecstasy, whatever the case may be.
The passion that animates every single character in every single Bhansali production carries over to the surrounding objects and props. Curtains tremble, chandeliers shake, typewriters, lights and swords get agitated, and even the costumes seem to come alive in Bhansali’s films.
Bhansali relies heavily on symbolism to convey the emotional state of his characters. Thus a towel that hangs precariously to Ranbir Kapoor’s waist in Saawariya (2007) conveys the ardour and recklessness of his character, Raj. A shaking sword in the climax of Bajirao Mastani (2015) reminds Bajirao (Ranveer Singh) of his second wife Mastani.
In Devdas (2002), the most melodramatic of Bhansali’s movies, nearly every piece of furniture and, indeed, the whole house itself, seems to be participating in the ups and downs of the relationship between the titular hero, his childhood sweetheart, and the golden-hearted prostitute who shelters him. When Aishwarya Rai’s Paro runs in vain towards Devdas, her sari is communicating the tremors of her heart.
In this video, we analyse Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s emotional furniture, and look at the moments in which household items and inanimate props display nearly the same level of histrionics as the characters.