Condemned Inshallah of Sanjay Leela Bhansali had remained in the news since it was announced. For starters, it was Salman Khan return home in the Bhansali domain. Although any rational mind would shudder at the prospect of calling the supposed couple of the 53-year-old superstar in front of Alia Bhatt, younger for him for 27 years, a coup d’etat, he had put the cash registers ringing in the Expert trade minds The film is still news even though what could have been a great Khan-Bhansali meeting, unfortunately, is now archived.
Although it is interesting to see how someone like Bhansali felt the need for a star at this stage of his career or Khan’s innate inability to change gears, it is not the first time that a superior star and a filmmaker have separated due to different perspectives. The first instance that comes to mind would probably be the separation of Subhash Ghai and Amitabh Bachchan in the late 1980s during the creation of Devaa. By the time they both collaborated, Bachchan’s reputation as the one-man industry and Ghai’s credentials as the child prodigy were firmly rooted. It would have been interesting to see what the two would have invented. It is rumored that Ghai was not very happy that Bachchan allegedly shared his “silence” for the film with the people in the industry, and suspended it.
Despite having worked together in two of the most memorable films of their respective careers, Bhansali and Salman are still very unlikely collaborators. Bhansali Khamoshi’s debut: The Musical (1996), and later his innovative film, Hum Dil Chuke Sanam (1999) were the first cases in which the actor inside Khan had a fair chance to show off without sacrificing the star ratio. Although Khan was the first superstar on list A who put his weight behind Bhansali, the filmmaker moved to greener pastures after the success of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Khan specialized in the type of characters and cinema that was unique to him (read Bhansali would not be surprised imagining), while Bhansali ended up becoming the biggest attraction of his productions (read: there is no place for ‘other’ stars), and The two paths never met. In this context, his attempt to meet after a gap of almost two decades for Inshallah was worth it.
The most recent instance on the list would be the inability of Mani Ratnam and Aamir Khan to appear on the same page for a movie set in India prior to partitioning. Tentatively titled Lajjo, the film was a musical based on the works of the Urdu writer Ismat Chughtai. Ratnam had taken Anurag Kashyap on board to work on the script. Lajjo was also supposed to be the first film that linked Kareena Kapoor Khan and Aamir.
There are rumors that Khan had agreed to make the movie without even listening to the second half, and changed his mind when Bhansali finally narrated what he had in mind. This is not the same Bhansali, who waited happily for months in the hope that Madhuri Dixit would accept to play the role that Manisha Koirala finally played in Khamoshi, or he could not think of Devdas (2002) without Shah Rukh Khan. Bhansali could have agreed to get Salman for his new movie about Ranveer Singh, who played the lead role in his three previous films, but he wasn’t going to fulfill Khan’s whims. Apparently, the deal failed because Khan wanted to co-produce the movie. It is also speculated that Khan wanted specific changes in the script, while Bhansali chose to keep his weapons.
In the late 1970s, Nasir Hussain decided to set aside his masterpiece Zabardast even after firing a little because he did not want to antagonize the leader, Dilip Kumar. The movie featured Dharmendra and Rishi Kapoor along with Zeenat Aman and Amjad Khan, but Hussain and Kumar couldn’t see the tone of the movie. JP Dutta also filed his Bandhua, which featured Amitabh Bachchan in front of Madhuri Dixit after a rumored confrontation with the leader.
Following Bhansali’s history, the chances of Inshallah being revived are quite high, but not so much, as Salman continues to lead. In the past, the filmmaker had initially thought of Bajirao Mastani with Salman Khan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and later Kareena, but he eventually ended up making the film with Ranveer and Deepika Padukone. For a time there were rumors that Shah Rukh Khan and Bhansali collaborated and who knows that the loss of one Khan could be the gain of another.