Sabyasachi walked out of Ram Leela after Bhansali failed to finalise his leading lady on time and refused to accommodate the designer’s inputs for his Juliet
There will be a small but significant change in the credit list of Ram Leela. Sabyasachi, who had been roped in to design for Deepika Padukone in the film, has been replaced by Anju Modi. The reticent Sabya, who rode to Bollywood on the hem of the signature skirts he designed for Rani Mukerji in Black and later for Aishwarya in Guzaarish, had reportedly let go of his muse Vidya Balan’s project to accommodate Bhansali. But creative differences between the two highly idiosyncratic personalities led to Sabya walking out of the project.
A source close to Bhansali told TOI, “When Bhansali wanted a costume designer for his ambitious film, Sabyasachi was the first name that came to his mind, as he has already worked with us in two projects. Sabya was also well-versed with Bhansali’s style of functioning and they shared a cordial professional relationship.”
Bhansali and Sabya met several times and the designer was briefed on the background of the characters. “Being the thorough professional that he is, Sabya had started work on the look of the leading lady. But then things started going awry,” said the source.
Sabya had visualised his Leela in a certain way, and that apparently did not match the director’s vision. “Bhansali had a very well-defined idea of how his Gujarati Juliet would look like and he was not willing to take inputs. This did not go down well with Sabya, who is used to generous creative spaces,” said the source.
When we contacted Sabyasachi, he admitted that there were “creative differences” between him and Bhansali. “But more than that, it was because there was no clarity on the lead heroine (after Kareena walked out, it was a while before Deepika was finalised for the role) and the shooting schedule kept changing. There came a point when the dates clashed with my Taj project in London. I am designing an uber-luxury Cinema Suite for the property. It was either this or that, and for me the Cinema Suite was priority,” he said.
According to Sabya, the decision to part was ‘mutual’. But sources insist otherwise. In fact, when TOI got in touch with Bhansali, he refused to comment on the issue. With just days to go before the shoot commenced, and no stylist on board, it was Sonam Kapoor who stepped in to save the day for her mentor. “She suggested Anju Modi’s name. Bhansali took her advice seriously, after all Sonam has a great sense of fashion,” said the source.
What also helped swing the deal in Anju’s favour was the fact that she had enough time to be on the sets of Ram Leela – something Bhansali insists for all his creative collaborators.