Thursday, January 4, 2007

French opera house signs Sanjay Leela Bhansali

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Leading Bollywood director Sanjay Leela Bhansali has reportedly been signed by famed French opera house Theatre du Chatelet to create a stage production.

Bhansali's last period film Devdas, a story of a Bengali aristocrat doomed in love, was replete with grandiose sets and theatrical music, and the filmmaker said it was this movie that prompted the French company to approach him.

"It's an honour. It's a very exhilarating and exciting prospect to use my operatic vision on stage," he said.

There was no immediate comment from the Paris-based theatre.

The Indian filmmaker will join the likes of Yimou Zhang, director of House of Flying Daggers, and film director and actor Woody Allen who have also been invited by the theatre to produce operas.

Bhansali is one of Bollywood's most sought after directors after three of his four films, including Black --- an adaptation of Helen Keller's life made in 2005 -- became hits.

He took his time to agree to direct an opera because he wanted to be sure about the move as stage production was a completely different discipline.

"I'm already very nervous. It's a very lavish production, involving a huge cast and production values," the young director said.

The story of the as yet untitled opera is an old literary work by a French author of the 1920s. The production will keep Bhansali in Paris for three months from January till March 2008 when the opera goes on stage.

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