Exclusive: Sanjay Leela Bhansali to remake ‘Baiju Bawra’?


Sanjay Leela Bhansali has decided! Well, almost. Last month, we told you the flamboyant filmmaker was sitting on three or four projects and wondering which one to make. They included a gangster drama, a two-hero family saga, a musical historical and a modern day love story. Now is in the position to tell you what film SLB will probably go in for first.

It’s the musical historical. has exclusively learned that SLB is planning to remake Vijay Bhatt’s 1952 mega hit Baiju Bawra which remains a perennial musical milestone in Hindi cinema. Starring Bharat Bhushan and Meena Kumari, Baiju Bawra had a 100-weeks run at the box office at a time when the film industry tried its best to discourage Vijay Bhatt from making a film based on classical music.

The National Award-winning filmmaker, naturally, will make the classic on a grand scale and will include all the high production values with stunning visuals and the epic qualities he brings to his directorials. SLB had always wanted to remake Baiju Bawra at some point in his career and indications are that the old classic could just be the film he takes up next.

[caption id="attachment_213206" align="aligncenter" width="900"] Stills from Baiju Bawra[/caption]

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The black-and-white classic was a fictionalized version of the life of Baiju Bawra, an unknown singer, and his legendary vocal duel with Miya Tansen who was one of the greatest classical vocalists of the time and regarded as one of the nine jewels (Navaratnas) of Emperor Akbar's court. The film revolves around the historic contest between these two great singers who, according to legend, were able to hypnotize crowds and make the God weep with their songs.

The original 1952 musical went on to become not only the second biggest grosser of the year but was also the eighth biggest hit of the 50s. This film is believed to have all the elements that SLB is passionate about — a singing hero and villain, a demure heroine, a riveting duel between two legendary characters, a revenge plot and a tragic end, all this packaged with a real message that an artist must first overcome his ego if he is to achieve knowledge or mastery over his craft.

[caption id="attachment_213259" align="aligncenter" width="630"] Sanjay Leela Bhansali[/caption]

The American-Indian writer Krishna Shah had announced a remake of Baiju Bawra in 2010 with the title Baiju—The Gypsy. Aamir Khan was supposed to play the title role and A.R. Rahman would compose the music, but things didn’t work out and the film was put on the backburner. Shah later expressed the desire to sell the script to a director passionate enough to translate it on the big screen.

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