Sanjay Leela Bhansali is diversifying. From larger than life films and emotional tales, he is treading a new path with projects like Rowdy Rathore and My Friend Pinto to keep pace with Bollywood's new and young thinkers who he says are bringing new ideologies to cinema.
"I want to do a lot more things. I want to be part of this young generation that thinks of cinema in a different way. There are some young filmmakers who are doing great work nowadays. Every person is getting new ideologies to cinema, a new take on looking at films. It's very interesting to keep in touch with new people," the 48-year-old said.
All three of his forthcoming productions justify his desire to try his hand at fresh things.
Rowdy Rathore, featuring Akshay Kumar, is an action-packed film, while "Shirin Farhad" with Boman Irani and Farah Khan, is the love story of a Parsi couple and "My Friend Pinto", slated for release Oct 14, is a comedy.
Asked if it was easy to switch off the director in him and only produce films, the filmmaker said: "I'm a very selfish director. The director in me is always very alive.
"First when I was listening to the scripts, I was thinking why am I not doing work on my own directorial? But when I finally decided to produce it, I made a conscious effort that I will not interfere. That's why I chose scripts which weren't of my genre so that I can supervise and guide from a distance," he added.
For now, he is looking forward to the release of My Friend Pinto, which has been directed by debutant Raghav Dar, and features Prateik and Kalki Koechlin in the lead roles.
"It was a script that was filled with smiles, filled with unusual characters, created with an unusual perspective, which had humour in the strangest of circumstances. I just found the whole take fabulous and fascinating," said Bhansali, who was behind films like "Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam", "Devdas", "Black" and "Guzaarish".
It was a challenge to move out of his comfort zone to produce a film of this genre, he added.
"It moved me a lot on the basic premise -- learn to respect a friend. Also this is a film I would have never made. I'm not capable of making it. It's not my genre. But I enjoyed producing it. We are paying a tribute to Kundan Shah in this film because Raghav is a great fan of his," he said.
Just like many who have praised Prateik's acting mettle, Bhansali too is impressed with the 24-year-old son of actor Raj Babbar and late actress Smita Patil.
"Prateik has grown up; he is a man now who can take responsibilities. He doesn't have to piggyback on other people, making special appearances. He is very talented, comes in without an image and fits the character. The innocence on his face and the way he talks just suited the character.
"He is extremely spontaneous and he has a pedigree. He is like his mother. You can't move your eyes from him when he performs," said Bhansali, who is hoping to get back to direction at the earliest.
He has finished scripting his next film and will decide on the cast and crew next month.
"I'll start shooting in June next year and will announce the cast next month," he informed.