7 Best Sanjay Leela Bhansali Movies To Watch

Sanjay Leela Bhansali movies reflect the essence of Bollywood. Here are 7 of his must-watch films that you will love and admire, particularly the visuals.

7 Best Sanjay Leela Bhansali Movies To Watch f

"Black takes you on an uplifting journey of the human spirit."

Sanjay Leela Bhansali movies are unique as they usually feature spectacular songs, vibrant visuals and an element of drama.

Bhansali is one of the most successful and well-known filmmakers of the Bollywood film industry.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali was born to a Gujarati family in Bhuleshwar, South Mumbai on February 24, 1963.

Bhansali is famous for directing super hit films, featuring A-list stars, including Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai.

In recognition of his work and outstanding contribution to Bollywood, Bhansali has won many awards.

We take a look at 7 top Sanjay Leela Bhansali movies, which most Bollywood fans will appreciate and cherish.

Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam (1999)

20 Classic Romantic Bollywood Films - Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Stars: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Ajay Devgn, Salman Khan

Set in India and Hungary, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam falls into the comedy, drama and musical genre.

The story revolves around the beautiful Nandini Darbar (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan), who has to pick between Sameer Rosselini (Salman Khan) and Vanraj (Ajay Devgn) to marry.

Sameer teaches Nandini to fall in love, whilst her family chooses Vanraj as a potential groom.

The English translation for this film is I Have Given My Heart Away, Darling. This is the theme throughout the movie as Vanraj embarks on a journey to reunite Nandini with her lover.

An IMDb user reviewing the film, highlights the visuals of India, stating:

“The Movie has captured the breathtaking beauty of Rajhastan and Gujarat and you can also view the cultural settings of India.”

The soundtrack to this movie is very good, varying from excitement to having an emotional emphasis. Popular songs from the soundtrack include ‘Nimbooda,’ ‘Chand Chhupa Badal Mein’ and ‘Tadap Tadap.’

This film won ‘Best Movie’ and ‘Best Director’ at the 45th Filmfare Awards (2000), Zee Cine Awards (2000) and 1st IIFA Awards (2000).

The exquisite performance of Aishwarya was recognised, as she received ‘Best Actress’ across many film awards.

Watch ‘Nimbooda Nimbooda’ from Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam here:


Devdas (2002)

12 Great Bollywood Movies Set in West Bengal - Devdas 2002

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit

Romantic-musical drama Devdas will take viewers on an emotional rollercoaster ride. Sanjay Leela Bhansali takes inspiration from Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay’s novel, Devdas (1917) for this film.

Devdas had a special screening at the prestigious Cannes Festival in 2002.

The centre point of this well-written story is between childhood lovers Devdas Mukherjee (Shah Rukh Khan) and Parvati ‘paro’ Mukherjee  (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan).

When the family of Devdas refuses to let him marry Paro, his life spirals out of control.

Thus, Devdas turns to alcoholism to seek comfort. The elegant courtesan Chandramukhi (Madhuri Dixit) enters the life of Devdas to help comfort and love him. But Devdas refuses to entertain her advances.

The soundtrack has great songs that capture a lot of emotion, through audio and visual representation.

Popular songs include ‘Silsila Ye Chahat Ka’, ‘Dola Re Dola’ and ‘Hamesha Tumko Chaha.’

Visuals for ‘Dola Re Dola’ are elegant, with the set and clothing choice complimenting each other. Aishwarya and Madhuri have a strong on-screen presence, dancing to some breathtaking choreography.

Highly applauded by the critics, Devdas won ‘Best Film’ and ‘Best Director’ at the 48th Filmfare Awards.

Shah Rukh and Aishwarya had great chemistry in the film. Excellent performances from the two saw them winning ‘Best Actor’ and ‘Actress’ at the 48th Filmfare Awards.

Watch a scene from Devdas here:


Black (2005)

12 Best Rani Mukerji Movies That are a Must Watch - Black

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Stars: Amitabh Bachchan, Rani Mukerji, Ayesha Kapur

Sanjay Leela Bhansali sparked the idea of Black, whilst making his debut film, Khamoshi: The Musical (1996).

This drama film is about Michelle (Ayesha Kapur/Rani Mukerji) who unfortunately is not able to see, hear or talk. Debraj Sahai (Amitabh Bachchan) portrays a teacher who is in place to bring light into Michelle’s dark world.

Complimenting the script and execution of the movie, a reviewer on IMDb expresses:

“It is brilliantly scripted, made and executed, and it is also profound and complex.”

Sanjay Leela Bhansali movies are known for featuring many musical numbers to express a story. However, Black only has one song.

Praised by the critics, Black bagged eleven categories at the 51st Filmfare Awards in 2006. Describing the movie as “an uplifting journey of the human spirit,” critic Jaspreet Pandohar of BBCi Films mentions:

“Black takes you on an uplifting journey of the human spirit. With it Bhansali proves that neither he nor the better Bachchan, need a Hollywood film to produce an Oscar-worthy film.”

At the Box Office, Black became the 9th highest-grossing film of India in 2005

Watch the trailer for Black here:


Guzaarish (2010)

7 Best Sanjay Leela Bhansali Movies That You Must Watch - Guzaarish 1

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Stars: Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

Guzaarish is a romantic drama film by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, but of a different kind.

The plot of the film is about the paralysed Ethan Mascarenhas (Hrithik Roshan), who is an ex-magician turned radio presenter.

Sofia D’Souza/Mascarenhas (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) is Ethan’s nurse who takes care of him. Her dedication to Ethan and his health ensures that he remains in a stable condition.

As a result of his pain, Ethan seeks legal permission to end his life. The storyline of the film has similarities with the Spanish movie, The Sea Inside (2004).

The film has several shots using visual effects, courtesy of Prime Focus. Guzaarish features many heart-warming dialogues throughout the movie. In one of the scenes, Ethan expresses:

“Life is very short, my friends. But it is long enough, if you live with all your heart.”

Hrithik and Aishwarya won Critics Choice for ‘Best Actor’ and ‘Best Actress’ at the 2011 Zee Cine Awards.

Watch ‘Sau Gram Zindagi’ from Guzaarish here:


Golyion Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (2013)

Ranveer Singh & Deepika Padukone: A Love Story Timeline - Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela (GKRR)

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Stars: Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh

Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela is a romantic film of a tragic nature. Ram-Leela is a modern take on William Shakespeare’s, Romeo and Juliet by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.

This movie set in a fictional village in Gujarat, Ranjaar. The plot centres around love, lust and a family conflict of interest between Ram Rajadi (Ranveer Singh) and Leela Snaera (Deepika Padukone).

Appreciating the art of this movie, critic Priya Joshi of Digital Spy states:

Romeo and Juliet has been a staple for Bollywood adaptations, but Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela is by far the most artistically ambitious and evocative rendition of this timeless tale.”

The soundtrack features a variety of songs. Popular tracks from the film include ‘Nagada Sang Dhol’ and ‘Laal Ishq.’

The vocals of Arijit Singh for ‘Laal Ishq’ hit to perfection.  The voice of Arijit seems effortless, rightly complimenting the calming instrumentals.

Ram-Leela scooped three categories at the 2018 Filmfare Awards, with Deepika picking up ‘Best Actress’

Watch a scene from Golyion Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela here:


Bajirao Mastani (2015)

Ranveer Singh & Deepika Padukone: A Love Story Timeline - Bajirao Mastani

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Stars: Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh, Priyanka Chopra

Bajirao Mastani is an epic film of historic and romantic nature. Sanjay had originally made an announcement of this film in 2003. But with the cast changing several times, there was a delay.

The film is about general Bajirao I (Ranveer Singh) who is married to Kashibai (Priyanka Chopra). Despite being in wedlock, Bajirao falls in love with princess Mastani (Deepika Padukone).

Bajirao Mastani features many popular songs. ‘Deewani Mastani’ is a standout track for many reasons. The beautiful Amer Fort in Rajasthan, India was the location for some of the outdoor scenes.

The choices of attire ooze elegance, the set is exquisite and the choreography done by Deepika is stunning. Critic Kathy Gibson of Access Bollywood compliments the fine work of Designer Anju Modi, expressing

“Designer Anju Modi’s costumes and jewelry pieces are so stunning as to merit a museum exhibit.

“The film’s sets are lavish, the dance numbers beautifully choreographed.”

This movie saw Sanjay Leela Bhansali winning ‘Best Director’ and ‘Best Film’ at the 61st Filmfare Awards.

Watch ‘Deewani Mastani’ from Bajirao Mastani here:


Padmaavat (2018)

Deepika - Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Stars: Shahid Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh

Set in the 13th Century, Padmaavat is an epic masterpiece, which has drama and romance in it.

The story is about the elegant Padmavati (Deepika Padukone) who marries Maharawal Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor). They go onto rule a fortress and become King and Queen of Mewar.

Sultan Alauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh) is informed about the beauty of Padmavati. He goes on a mission to pursue Padmavati at all costs.

Padmaavat has the name Sanjay Leela Bhansali written all over it, with the beautiful sets and architecture.

The soundtrack of Padmaavat has eye-catching musical numbers. ‘Ek Dil Ek Jaan’ is sweet, calm and soothing. The lyrics by AM Turaz are gentle, particularly the line:

“Ek Dil Hai, Ek Jaan Hai, Dono Tujhpe Qurbaan Hai.” [I have one heart and only one life/soul, both of them I am ready to sacrifice for you.]

The electrifying energy of Ranveer is present in the song, ‘Khalibali.’

Ranveer portrays Khilji with ease throughout the movie, especially his expressions and remorselessness.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali claimed ‘ Best Music Director,’ along with Ranveer Singh winning ‘Best Actor’ (Critics) at the 2019 Filmfare Awards.

Watch the song ‘Khalibali’ from Padmaavat here:


Other honourable Sanjay Leela Bhansali movies include 1942: A Love Story (1994), Khamoshi (1996) and Sawaariya (2007).

Bhansali made his directorial debut with Khamoshi, earning him ‘Best Film’ (Critics) at the 1996 Filmfare Awards.

Even though Sanjay Leela Bhansali movies have a long duration, the aforementioned films are made for exceptional viewing. They will make you fall in love, appreciate the visuals and admire the timeless songs.

Himesh is a Business and Management student. He has a strong passion for all-things Marketing related as well as Bollywood, football and sneakers. His motto is: "Think positively, attract positivity!"

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