Bhansali’s dilemma – whose roles to chop?


Nobody in Bollywood would like to be in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s shoes right now. The flamboyant filmmaker of such classics as Devdas (2002), Saawariya (2007), Guzaarish (2010)Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram Leela (2013) andBajirao Mastani (2015) is struggling to come to terms with his next release – the period drama Padmavati.

Sources tell Peeping that Bhansali is suddenly unhappy with the 180 minutes’ (3.30 hours) running time of the film. And he wants to trim it by at least 30 minutes. This might be a good idea and will present a Padmavati that is tightly edited and slicker. But from the point of view of the actors who have been working on film for the past year or so, this is bad news. And reports are that they are all worried about whose screen time will get chopped and by how much time.

This is the first time Bhansali, who is reputed for making grand and picturesque films, is getting cold feet over the running time of one of his films. The director is still in the process of making Padmavati and sources say his trusted editor Rajesh Pandey is working on cutting the film down to three hours. It is a challenging task given the positive response Bhansali’s trailer of Padmavati got recently. His fans too are super excited to see his presentation of Deepika Padukone as Rani Padmini, Shahid Kapoor as Maharawal Ratan Singh and Ranveer Singh as Alauddin Khilji. But now the behind-the-scenes drama is reportedly stressing out the cast.

Ranveer, Deepika and Shahid are believed to have individually met Bhansali to find out whose scenes he is planning to chop. Poor Bhansali is running out of time. He is trying his best to meet the December 1 release deadline. But the film is already 3.30 hours long and reportedly a sizeable chunk of the shoot is left. But for Devdas which was 3.05 hours, all Bhansali’s other films were under three hours. Goliyon ki Raasleela Ram Leela was 2.35 hours and Bajirao Mastani 2.38 hours.