In a recent development, veteran Bollywood filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali has signed with Hollywood agency WME (William Morris Endeavor), sparking rumors of the director’s potential plans to explore opportunities in Hollywood. The news comes just months after Bhansali attempted to stage an international awards campaign for his last film, Gangubai Kathiawadi, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and was also one of the most popular Indian films on Netflix ever.
Bhansali is no stranger to international recognition, having received a BAFTA nomination for his film Devdas in the Best Foreign Language Film category after premiering at the Cannes Film Festival. Moreover, Bhansali is currently working on his most high-profile international project, the period drama series Heeramandi, which was announced last year. The project got another big promotional boost recently when Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos flew down to Mumbai to interact with Bhansali.
“Shifting to digital, I’ve made it even bigger. Heeramandi is the biggest project that I’ve made, it’s so huge in scale. I had to do something special … to make him [Sarandos] proud,” Bhansali stated at an event.
Indian filmmakers have been increasingly exploring opportunities in Hollywood in recent years, with RRR director SS Rajamouli signing with the Hollywood agency CAA, while the film’s stars Jr NTR and Ram Charan have engaged in conversations with Hollywood filmmakers for potential roles. Other Indian filmmakers who have made waves in the West include Shekhar Kapur, Tarsem Singh, and Mira Nair.
It remains to be seen what projects Bhansali may undertake in Hollywood, but fans and industry insiders alike are excited to see what the talented director has in store for his international fans.
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