Monday, 24th February, 2020


Curtains and candles budget for Bhansali’s next movie 3 times higher than Mangalyaan’s cost: CAG

13, May 2015 By Pagla Ghoda

Mumbai. According to a study published by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, the curtains, candles and bangles budget for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s next movie “Priyatama Bawri” is expected to be 3 times higher than Mangalyaan’s total project cost which ISRO billed to Indian government. Not only that, the cost of jewelry and special effects to be used in opening item number of the movie alone will cost more than the landing cost of total rocket-fuel burnt during launch of Mangalyaan.

Bhansali’s “Priyatama Bawri” is an epic-saga and a true love story based in Medieval India. Priyatama is an otherwise ordinary village girl who dances at royal post-funeral dinners for a living until she is spotted by a prince who falls in love with her.

Giving more details to reporters at a promotional event for the film Bhansali said, “The first scene. King has died. Grand funeral planned. A priest is chanting funeral mantras loudly. 10,000 of King’s subjects standing on one side with 10,000 mashaals (medieval torches) in their hands giving the whole orange tinge to the otherwise blue sky. 2000 of his soldiers, all dressed in bright yellow gallant costumes and shiny weapons. 300 widows of the King dress in plain but sparkling-white sarees sitting at one side, crying and wailing, but their sounds are diffused into the space due to loudly blowing air. Prince is standing in front of the huge pyre of woods, tears in his eyes, but a determination of revenge from the tribals who killed his father. As you see I have paid attention to the minutest details, possible and that sir, costs good money.” Bhansali said in one breath.

Bhansali's accommodation for spot boys.
Bhansali’s accommodation for spot boys.

When asked about the much awaited item number, Bhansali took a deep breath, took a pause and began, “First of all please don’t insult it by calling it an item-number. It is a beautifully shot, rich artistic dance and song sequence which almost goes on throughout the 1st part of the movie. This song features curtains and candles everywhere, curtains after curtains after curtains, red curtains, green curtains, golden curtains and beyond that again red curtains. I have already placed an order for 40,000 different type of curtains with the textile merchants association for the opening song sequence itself. Because the first 5 minutes of the song will just focus on curtains opening and closing one after the other, as the Prince enters the dance chambers with 75 of his counsel-men. There would be a slow buildup of background music and a melodious sound of ghunghroo which will set the tone.”

“And then the grand entry of Priyatama will be even more exotic. She would be hiding her face with her arms, full of golden and red bangles; in her background would be 200 dancers in bright maroon anarkali suits with same set of bangles in golden and maroon. Also the whole scene will be lit with 300,000 red and 200,000 yellow candles strategically placed among each other. I plan to light-up the whole scene only using candles but for additional support I’ll keep 5000 very strong halogen lights, dimmed to my requirements, to give the scene a natural look,” Bhansali stopped for breath and used his nasal inhaler to calm down.

“One thing which I want to clarify is that, I am not your run-of-the-mill art movie director who portrays a story of a shabby, poor writer sitting in a dark room wearing a torn kurta, smoking a classic milds cigarette and typing on broken typewriter with lethargic speed. I am Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the director of the directors, my every scene as to be as grand as possible, characters larger than the life itself.”

“If I am shooting a war scene I would need atleast 10,000 horses each massaged and polished with top-notch massage cream products procured specially from Scotland. If I am shooting a rebellion I will shoot it with 100,000 extras each dressed in an appropriate costume carefully designed by top designers in the industry. And I will also have 10,000 additional extras waiting at the sets 24 x 7 in case I need them,” Bhansali concluded sharply and suddenly went into severe concussions due to lack of breath.

He was immediately rushed to a nearbymedical room where pre-calibrated oxygen cylinders were already waiting for him. 5 minutes later he was all normal and was seen smiling, joking and shaking hands with some senior journalists, businessmen and film industry veterans.

While the total cost of this movie project “Priyatama Bawri” is still not clearly approximated as a lot of movie props and costumes are still under procurement, the detailed 100 page analysis report which CAG sent to media also had the Income Tax Department marked in cc.