Justalkin Episode 53: Kalank, Devdas and more; films that were visually beautiful
What looks like a Sanjay Leela Bhansali Movie, sounds like a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie, but isn’t a Sanjay Leela Bhansali movie? Kalank! This is Justalkin brought to you by in.com. A lot of comparisons were drawn between Kalank and other Bhansali movies even though they took efforts for that not to happen. Set in 1945, Kalank is a partition drama which needed everything to match the theme, and the makers reportedly spent 15 crores on the sets alone, recreating Delhi’s mohallas and a Mahal all within Mumbai’s film city. Let’s take a look at other Indian films that had beautiful sets.
In Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s take on the epic, the sets were created with a lot of attention to detail and even more passion. Paro’s room required 12 million pieces of stained glass. Chandramukhi’s kotha was constructed next to a lake because it was supposed to be on the banks of the Ganges in Benaras. One of her costumes weighed 30 kilos but she still managed to dance gracefully donning it. They had massive problems on sets, like unexpected rains fading out the stained glass, the lake near the Kotha drying up constantly, and a massive fire that broke out destroying most of the props. But Sanjay Leela Bhansali overcame all of that and released the film.
A movie that became the Karni Sena’s obsession. Padmaavat had already been made into a Tamil film, a TV series and an opera before Bhansali decided to make a movie of it. Set in 14th century India, it revolved around three characters who each demanded three different styles. Ranveer Singh’s Alauddin Khilji had Persian and Afghan influences, Shahid Kapoor’s Rajput King demanded Rajput ones and Deepika Padukone’s Padmavati required influences form Sri Lanka. It took forty people eight months to make Khilji’s armour alone. Since a lot of scenes kept having to be reshot, the budget shot up to 215 crores. But the colour schemes and lighting and sets more than speak for themselves.
One of the biggest projects to have ever been undertaken in India. Baahubali came out in two parts, and what made it appealing to all of us were the visuals. Even outside of the film, a 50,000 square foot movie poster was made breaking all records. With Jurassic World experts on board for VFX, the budget shot up to 85 crores for that alone. 110 acres of Ramoji Rao film City were taken up, with crew members even pitching in grow maize on fields there for shots. The sets are not open to the public and since it still exists, maybe we’ll see a spinoff soon.
4. Bombay Velvet
Bombay Velvet’s soundtrack and visuals are incredible. They recreated Bombay from the 1960s in Sri Lanka, transported 10,000 KGs of costumes, 25,000 KGs of material that they needed for the sets, sourced guns from Germany, had 200 vintage cars brought in, and every day there would be 600 crew members on set! With a massive project like this, Anurag Kashyap used Tupperware and whiskey bottles to explain scale models of the sets.
Mughal-e-Azam came out in 1960 but is still considered one of the greatest film making adventures in India. At a time when it cost 10 lakhs to make an entire film, 10 times that money was spent on ‘Pyaar kiya toh darna kya’, the set for one single song. The replica of sheesh mahal took two years to conceptualise and finish, with the extra budget being allocated for other elements like water features and palaces. With costumes from Delhi, footwear from Agra, jewellery from Hyderabad, crowns from Kolhapur and weaponry from Rajasthan, this was a movie that united all of India in its production.
Parineeta is the adaptation of a book but producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra and director Pradeep Sarkar advanced the time frame to Calcutta in the 1960s, and decided to shoot it in the city although it would’ve been cheaper to shoot it on set in Mumbai. They recreated places like Flury’s and Moulin Rouge, with right sets for other Calcutta experiences like Durga Puja and eating Puchkas on the streets. One of the biggest expenses was the green car that Saif Ali Khan drives. This movie showed Calcutta at its best.
Mahanati, or Nadigar Thilagam in Tamil, follows the story of one of India’s biggest female superstars, Savitri. Since she plays the role of a film star, 42 film sets were recreated to shoot this one film. With the story spanning four decades of her life and the set changing every 10 minutes, even the props had to progress in time. This was a really ambitious project that combined a heartfelt story with stunning visuals.
8. Ram Leela
Ram Leela is set in Gujarat, so Sanjay Leela Bhansali and his team spent three months in the Kutch region just observing, but ended up shooting 90 percent of the film on set due to technical reasons and the difficulty of shooting stunts outdoors. Each scene required different lighting and colour styles, from Leela’s room to the porn film parlour. With some scenes being shot over three to five hours the attention to detail was really high. So after the movie was complete, Sanjay Leela Bhansali must’ve thought the change in name was a small sacrifice, and it came to be called Goliyon Ki Ras-Leela Ram Leela.
Some movies require way more effort than the others when it comes to set design, but we love watching the grandeur on screen! Here’s to hoping many more of these.Read More