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Khamoshi: The Musical, Bhansali’s Film That He Would Love To Remake

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Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s  debut as a director  Khamoshi: The Musical was  a triumph of  artistry. But a boxoffice disaster .Looking back at this  sleeper classic one can see it was flawless in its  storytelling almost to the  end , when suddenly  the tragic end was changed  into a happy one.

Some say SLB’s first film about the beautiful vulnerable  Annie(Manisha Koirala) trying to cope with the possessive demands of her deaf and mute parents(Nana Patekar , Seema Biswas) is still his most honest work.

The truth is Khamoshi fell prey to dishonesty when the original tragic ending of Annie’s death had to be changed on distributors’ demand. The dark passionate redemptive  tale was rejected on the day it was released. Manisha immortalized herself with her porcelain looks and delicately nuanced performance. Salman sportingly slipped into a supporting role, just to give his friend a boost up in his directorial debut.

At  10  am  on   9 August  1996 producer  Sibte Hassan Rizvi Saab called debutant director  Sanjay Leela Bhansali to inform  him  that his  debut film Khamoshi:The Musical had flopped.Sanjay had no idea what  this meant. Sanjay’s  sister filmmaker- film editor Bela Sehgal ,  cinematographer Anil Mehta  and  Sanjay   trudged  down  to Liberty cinema to see what  was happening.

What  he  saw broke his heart. The scattered meager audiences at Liberty  cinema(Mumbai)  were restless. Some were even breaking their seats in frustration. The projectionist joined  in Sanjay’s  distress and   even showed one  reel upside down . Sanjay  rushed to the  projection room to fix it. His   dream had turned   into a nightmare. The film was  a boxoffice disaster  . Sanjay Bhansali   got great reviews for Khamoshi: The Musical. Everyone  he  met loved the  film. But  the audience  hated  it.

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“I  was shattered. I thought  my  journey as a filmmaker  had ended  even before it began,” recalls  Sanjay with a  shudder.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s debut film Khamoshi: The Musical  celebrated  its twenty seventh  year  on August 9. It effortlessly joins Guru Dutt’s Kagaz Ke Phool  and Raj Kapoor’s Mera Naam Joker as the trio of most honourable flops in the history  of  Indian cinema.

The  story  of  a beautiful  Catholic girl Annie, played by the ethereal Manisha Koirala, who must choose between looking after her deaf-and-mute  parents(played  brilliantly by Seema Biswas and Nana Patekar)   and her career as a singer.A heartbreaking tale of obligation and  passion,  Khamoshi: The Musical was marred by a false manufactured  ending where Manisha’s  Annie  lives.  In the original script the film ends tragically with her death.

Rues Sanjay,  “To this day I  regret changing the  end because of  external pressures. I  was  new and I was scared  that if I  didn’t comply I would be  sacked. So  yes, I would like  to re-do Khamoshi  with the correct ending.”

Over  the years  Khamoshi: The Musical  has acquired  a cult following,like Kagaz Ke  Phool and Mera Naam Joker.

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