Devdas Completes 15 Years: 15 Lesser-Known Facts About Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Labor of Love

A file photo of Shahrukh Khan from Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas.

A file photo of Shahrukh Khan from Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas.

As the mega movie completes 15 years, we bring to you 15 lesser known facts about 'Devdas'

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Devdas was a dream project of Sanjay Leela Bhansali which released in 2002, starring Shah Rukh Khan as Devdas, Aishwarya Rai as Paro and Madhuri Dixit as Chandramukhi. The film was the third film adaptation and the first coloured film adaptation of Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay's 1917 novella Devdas.

This beautifully creative vision of Bhansali won the maximum number of awards and was also the official entry for Academy Awards. As the mega movie completes 15 years, we bring to you 15 lesser known facts about 'Devdas':

The role of Devdas was first offered to Salman Khan, but he declined and thus, the role eventually went to Shah Rukh Khan. Undoubtedly, Shah Rukh gave one of his career's best performance in Devdas and took home Filmfare Best Actor Award in 2002.

The role of Chunni Lal was offered to Saif Ali Khan, Govinda and Manoj Bajpayee before Jackie Shroff was signed. Interestingly, Manoj refused the role on the grounds that he was playing lead roles in all his films and doing a supporting role would hurt his saleability.

A producer by the name of K Chopra had the rights of the title Devdas. Initially, he was not willing to let of-of the rights. Sanjay Leela Bhansali at one point was going to name the film Aaj Ka Devdas. Finally, K Chopra gave up the rights for a hefty price.

The popular song Dola Re Dola took a week to write because Sanjay Leela Bhansali thought that it had to be perfect as he was uniting two of Bollywood's biggest stars (Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan).

During the 'Dola re Dola' dance, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's ears started to bleed due to the heavy earrings she was wearing, but continued with the dance, not telling anyone until after the shoot. Some great professionalism must say.

The sequence where Paro's mother Sumitra is made to dance at a social gathering was inspired by a recurring nightmare of Sanjay Leela Bhansali where his mother was being humiliated.

In the song Kahe Chhedd Mohe the outfit worn by Madhuri Dixit weighed 30 kilogrammes. She had lots of problems with the dance choreography, but she eventually completed it.

Kathak master Birju Maharaj choreographed Kaahe Chhedd Mohe especially for Madhuri Dixit.

Despite refusing the first two films of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Kareena Kapoor screen tested for the role of Paro.

Yogen Shah

Ismail Darbar and Sanjay Leela Bhansali spent two-and-a-half years to compose the music. Each song, being complicated in their structure, had to be mixed eight to nine times, but the recording took only ten days.

Paro's delicate stained-glass house was erected from November to June - safe, non-monsoon months, Bhansali reckoned. During those months, there were four unprecedented rain showers, which caused the colors in the stained glass to fade, and they had to be retouched regularly. Moreover, trolleys were used over the floors of the house, which led to a lot of chipping.

The set of Chandramukhi's kotha was constructed around a lake. Consequently, the water in the lake kept drying up and gallons of water had to be regularly filled in. Moreover, the bridge built across the lake had a tendency to sink at all the wrong times.

Musical duo Chase and Status sampled the song 'Silsila Yeh Chahat Ka' for their song 'Eastern Jam', while

Snoop Dogg also sampled the same song for his song 'Snopp Dogg Millionaire'.

The film was included in Time Magazine's top 10 movies of the millennium worldwide.

In 2002, Aishwarya Rai walked the Cannes Film Festival red carpet for the first time representing Devdas. In 2017, the actress walked at the 70th edition of the film festival, representing the film again as part of L'Oréal Paris Open Air Cinema.

Image: Reuters Pictures
Image: Reuters Pictures

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