Sanjay Leela Bhansali is one of the top filmmakers in Bollywood, and actors aspire to work in his films. However, there was a rift between him and Kareena Kapoor Khan, who once vowed never to work with SLB, even if she had no other projects.
The sourness between them began during the making of “Devdas” when Bhansali was looking for an actress to portray Paro, and Kareena entered the scene. Kareena alleged that she was finalized for the film, and Sanjay even gave her a signing amount, but later he signed another heroine for the role.
“Sanjay tested me for Devdas, gave me a signing amount and then took someone else. That was wrong. It hurt, especially since I was at the start of my career. But it’s okay because the day he dropped me, I signed Subhashji’s (Ghai) ‘Yaadein’. Sanjay hurt me. Even if I have no work, I’ll never work with him,” she expressed to Filmfare in 2002.
In response, Sanjay Leela Bhansali clarified his side of the story in an interview with Filmfare, “She also told me about ‘Dil De Chuke Sanam’ several times. That’s when I told her that I hadn’t seen her work and that before casting her, I needed to see what she was capable of. We fixed up a photo-shoot with the right costumes. Since Babitaji and Karisma Kapoor were also at the shoot, I made it clear to all of them that the shoot wasn’t a confirmation that I would cast Kareena. They were okay with that at the time.”
“After going through the photographs, I told Kareena that I felt Aishwarya Rai was fabulous and perfect for Paro; she has the aristocratic looks I required. Kareena didn’t say a word then, but some days later, I found her lashing out at me in print. She accused me of backing out after having given her the signing amount and contract. Believe me, this is not true.”
“She also said I didn’t know how to make films. Kareena is a fabulous girl who’s doing very well in life. However, I’d like to inform her that I do know how to make films. She has tried to tell me that she was misquoted, but I’d like her to know that I’ve heard those tapes. Recently, we met at Sikander Kher’s birthday party. I told her that if I have a suitable role for her, I’ll cast her. Till then, I’ll brush up on film-making,” concluded the director.
“Devdas” is considered one of the best films of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, starring stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai, and Jackie Shroff in lead roles.