Scene: SLB is at Costa Coffee, drinking coffee, earphones in place, watching Ishaqzaade on his tablet device.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali has been toying with the idea of adapting something for Bollywood again. “It’s too alluring, this star-crossed lover nonsense- people eat it up!”, he thinks. As he mulls things over, figuring out set designs and costumes, the colors come together in his head to form the idea: a Garba infused musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, where the colors, gun- violence and possibly the male lead, are all on steroids.
“I will make one of the antagonists female, and it will be so refreshing, what a tangent from mainstream Bollywood! Also I can mess around with the camera work- focus and refocus and shift focus and make things look Instagrammed in their natural state of being. It’s Sierra time, bitches!”
Deepika Padukone walks in, surly and clearly upset at not being the first choice for the role. “SLB, I have been looking for this opportunity my whole career! I know you make over-the-top dramatic movies, and I want to be in something that is so clearly dramatic that I can hide my caricature-type acting in the heavy script.”
SLB: Oh the script is amazing! We have a whole bunch of sets designed, and we’re going to spend a lot of money, and so the script is almost done. I thought it would be most organic if everybody just winged the dialogues. You know, just say whatever comes naturally to them at that moment.
DP: Perfect, that way I can make a statement with my deadpan emoting. It’s this new thing I’m trying where I’m not acting to such an extent, that people think I am actually acting.
Ranveer Singh arrives, fully clothed and muscles un-oiled. He hops over several sofas and slides into the couch next to Deepika, showing off his agility and energy.
RS: You know from a distance you looked like Anushka Sharma, so I decided to drop by and see if they will sign me on to whatever movie discussion you are in right now. Turns out it is you, Deepika! Big fan. You were fabulous in Billu!
DP: I wasn’t fully in Billu but thank you, I was in that one song and I worked very hard for it. I trained for years to learn to walk and dance like a sexy alien, something that has never been done before. Many aliens came and told me that I reminded them of themselves.
SLB: Hello, you are so agile! What is your name?
RS: Hi SLB, big fan. Yes I am very agile, my name is Ranveer Singh. I don’t know much, but whenever I know anything, I commit. I just c-o-m-m-i-t-t-t-t- (breaks into pirouettes)
SLB: Do you like salad dressing? Let’s take these clothes off your body and coat you in some dressing. (excitedly) This is coming along rather well! I’d like to sign you on for my movie. So far we have all the set designs, Shakespeare, Ishaqzaade, Issaq, Broadway, and let’s not forget: ALL my previous movies for reference.
RS: I love your previous movies! They’ve all had great music and dance.
SLB: Yes and so will this one! I am making the music myself. Don’t worry, I will make it very distinctly reminiscent of Hum Dil De Jhuke Sanam at all times, like you know– familiar and comforting?
RS: Perfect, I’d love to dance on Dhol Baaje. Best dance song or what, you guys? Your movies are also really emotional and I am really into emotions right now. I was recently in this movie, called Lootera..
DP (cutting him off): SLB, are we going to talk about costumes already, or what?
SLB: They will be beautiful and colorful, Deeps. Like the symbolism in our movie. Romeo-Juliet, Rameo-Leeliet. Ram-Leela, ending on the day of the Ram-Lila. We’re not going for breathless, we’re going for claustrophobic. Call me self-indulgent or even complacent and stupid but what we have is ridiculously beautiful.
DP: How sweet, you think I’m beautiful? Speaking of that, why are there so many beautiful and talented women in your cast list? Don’t you think they will overshadow me?
RS: Well you know, from my experience in Lootera, I’ve learned that a movie is a team effort, where everyone plays an important role, and..
DP: Sanju bhai please give him some dance rehearsal to be at?