Sanjay Leela Bhansali looks beyond grandeur,and gets ready to try romcoms and potboilers.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali likes all things grand. From costumes to sets,grandeur and scale have defined his cinema. His association with Rowdy Rathore,as producer,has made one thing certain — he isn’t averse to rural locales,masala plots and over-the-top characters. “I have always enjoyed masala cinema and that’s what we have grown up on,” says Bhansali and points out that his works,Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas were mass entertainers and a large chunk of people remember him especially for them.

Bhansali,who has produced all his previous directorial ventures,felt a strong urge to promote other talent during the making of Guzaarish. He was keen to expand his production house with the purpose of exploring and interacting with new talent. “Earlier,I made one film in two years. I wanted to get more adventurous. As a production house,you make six movies a year. It just feels good,” he says. He also wanted to produce those films,which as a director he probably wouldn’t make. Thus,he started by producing Raghav Dar’s slice-of-life comedy My Friend Pinto. If the movie’s dismal performance troubled the filmmaker,he does not show it. “It did not reach out to the audiences as much as it should have. But I stand by it and I would like Raghav to direct another film for us,” he says .

For the moment though,the focus is on Prabhu Deva and his crowd-pleasing potboiler,Rowdy Rathore,which Bhansali holds in high esteem. Also,the movie has,for the first time,teamed Bhansali with Akshay Kumar. “I have always worked with actors who fit a certain part. This time,when I watched the original Vikramarkudu,I couldn’t think of anyone else but Akshay. If destiny permits,I would even like to direct him some day,” he says. Meanwhile,Bhansali has his hands full with other ventures. He plans to re-release Devdas in 3D,commemorating the completion of 10 years of his magnum opus. There are also plans of making one of the most-expensive television serials,Saraswatichandra. He will also produce his sister Bela Bhansali Sehgal’s Shirin Farhad Ki Toh Nikal Padi. Bhansali seems most excited about this romantic comedy,based on the lives of an older Parsi couple.

It was my sister who inspired me to become a filmmaker,” says the director-producer. Bela introduced him to filmmaking,took him to the Xavier Institute of Communications for a course,and later got him to work with Vidhu Vinod Chopra. She even edited all his films till Saawariya. “Now,I am more than happy that my sister is making a film,” he says,with childlike enthusiasm. He also recommended Farah Khan’s name as the lead actor. “After the various fights and controversies that have happened in the media between us,Farah thought this offer was a revenge. But she was convinced when she read the script,” he says.

With the production house in full swing,it would only be logical that Bhansali starts work on his next directorial venture . “I am starting work in July,” he says of his Kareena Kapoor-Ranveer Singh-starrer Ram Leela. The unusual pair is already adding to the excitement. “I don’t enjoy working on anything when there is nothing unusual. Ranveer and Kareena make for a great pair. I met them together and was convinced about their chemistry,” he says. With Ram Leela,he plans to bring back the genre of Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam — 10 songs,dances,emotion,comedy and romance. “It is going to be a full-blown mainstream film,” he says.