An Indian director, screenwriter, and music composer, Sanjay Leela Bhansali is well-known for his work in Hindi cinema. He is a filmmaker with a meticulous eye for detail, and his elaborate sets are not only visually stunning but also quite expensive. He has received several honors, including a BAFTA nomination, eleven Filmfare Awards, and four National Film Awards.

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Sanjay  Leela Bhansali _©Joshua Navalkar.

He received the fourth-highest civilian honor, the Padma Shri, from the Indian government in 2015. His films are distinguished by their larger-than-life scale, luxury, and grandeur. Bhansali’s film sets have gone down in the golden history of Indian Cinema for being aesthetically outstanding, a feat that only he can dare to execute. While most directors these days are going towards realistic topics for movies that don’t represent vibrant institutions and universities.

Nature of the architect :

Bollywood is a fantastical world where actors might unexpectedly change scenes and find themselves in the breathtaking Himalayas. A movie’s heart and soul are its picturesque locations in exotic locales. The world of film is extravagant, fantastical, and bigger than life. After all, man is known for making fantastic films. The delicacy of Sanjay Leela Bhansali is not well known.

Because of his meticulousness, his elaborate settings are not only stunning to look at but also quite expensive. Let’s look at the lavish and pricey set designs produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, a naturally talented architect. He doesn’t ever skimp to save expenses. Each of his projects would be masterpieces as a designer, filled with intricate features and local intricacies.

Padmaavat :

According to Architectural Digest, Chittor Fort was supposed to serve as the movie’s backdrop. However, because of the protests and destruction, SBL was compelled to rebuild the fort in Mumbai. The designers were inspired by vintage Rajasthani miniature paintings. Bhansali invested over Rs 215 crore in the film’s set.

He resided on the set to preserve all the traits and revive the royalty that once existed in those times. He shares the architect’s perspective of examining every function’s purpose within a structure. He thought about how climatology functioned in a palace and attempted to imitate it. His attention to detail is comparable to Antoni Gaudi’s since even Gaudi was diligent.

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The set of chittor fort   _©GQ India

Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela :

Everything was perfectly shown to capture the true grandeur of Gujarat, from the magnificent Havelis to the bustling streets where people lived; nevertheless, all of this was supposedly shot in Mumbai. One of the most expensive sets created at Mumbai studios is the vast courtyard of the haveli, where Deepika is dancing and singing Nagaada Sang Dhol.

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The set of Ram leela   _©GQ India

Before creating the sets, Bhansali and the production designer reportedly discussed references and looked at places for two to three months.

The jharokhas, the small streets, the locations of panchayat meetings, and the usage of terraces in such areas were all drawn out and examined. Everything was questioned about the ornate façade of Gujarat, the furniture, and the scenery. Antoni Gudi spent much of his time living on the site of the building he created, sometimes discussing little aspects and concentrating on producing perfection. Even Bhansali takes a similar approach, breathing new life into the design and focusing on making his dreams a reality.

Bajirao Mastani :

Sanjay Leela Bhansali is a master at creating aesthetically stunning films renowned for their meticulous attention to detail and jaw-dropping depictions of each scene. One of the most talked-about elements of the movie was the beautiful Aaina Mahal. The location, which was allegedly created using over 20,000 carefully chosen beautifully crafted mirrors from Jaipur and 13 chandeliers, was inspired by the design of Mughal-E-Azam. 23 stunning sets were created after around 8 to 9 years of research, according to Architectural Digest.

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The set of Aina mahal   _©GQ India

The film’s most significant set, Shaniwar Wada, was made using 45,000 boards, while the walls were constructed using hand-carved wood. The scene was built in 45 days by 550 employees and around 13 assistant set designers.

Devdas :

The meticulously constructed film locations. Even though the film was produced more than ten years ago, everything about it was beautiful, from Paro’s haveli to Chandramukhi’s kotha.

The set of Paros haveli   _©EROS India

According to reports, Chadramukhi’s kotha, constructed around an artificial lake, cost about Rs 12 crores. Paro’s chamber was decorated with 1.22 million pieces of stained glass. The structure, a three-dimensional set with a temple city and a man-made lake surrounding it, was inspired by the Dilwara Temples in Rajasthan.

The set had 60 precisely carved domes and a 6-foot (1.8 m) chandelier, with festive gold serving as its primary hue.

To Conclude

He would be the ideal example of a maximalist architect with an eye for the finer details. He claims that growing up in a compact, “claustrophobic” home ignited his fascination for architecture, which is evident in the production design of his films. With meticulous attention to detail, he would become a renowned architect. To achieve that perfection would take a lot of effort, but it would be an experience to remember.

Reference :

Nast, C., 2022. 5 of the most expensive and magnificent film sets by Sanjay Leela Bhansali that look like a dream. [online] GQ India. Available at: <> [Accessed 20 August 2022].

  1. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 19 August 2022].

Verve Magazine | India’s premier luxury lifestyle women’s magazine. 2022. Dreaming in Colour: Interpreting Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Spellbinding Visual Universe | Verve Magazine. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 21 August 2022].

Forbes India. 2022. Black And White: How Sanjay Leela Bhansali Straddles Different Worlds – Forbes India. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 20 August 2022].



Sakshi Jain is a fifth-year architecture student at the Mysore School of Architecture in Mysuru. She believes in creating experiences and exploring - big and small - which explains her love of language. With a rekindled love of reading and a desire to travel, she intends to go places and share her experiences.