There exists only a handful of unconventional film-makers in B-town and, since the advent of the Dabangg formula of film-making, the number of such directors has dropped considerably. But one such director who has maintained his unique edge is Madhur Bhandarkar.
The narratives he creates in films like Page 3, Corporate and Fashion raise appalling questions on the ill practices followed in media, industrial and modeling industries. The characters he brings to life are raw, honest and pierce the hearts of his audience that thoroughly enjoys his creations.
In an interview with The Express Tribune, he sheds some light on his recent projects and film-making philosophy. Bhandarkar hails from a group of film-makers who believe they belong to “middle-of-the-road cinema”, which is neither too artsy nor too commercial. He says that it is his passion to reveal the truth that has made him become a film-maker of this genre.
“Be it Chandi Bar or Jail, I want to show the reality behind issues that exist in our society,” says Bhandarkar. “Had I not been a film-maker, I would have been a journalist. What fascinates me is the harsh reality that exists behind all the glitz and glamour and I consider exposing that a part of my job as a film-maker,” he strongly adds.
Bhandarkar is not a critic of commercial Indian cinema and believes that in a flourishing industry like Bollywood, every film should have a fair chance to get the audience’s appreciation. “The audience owns Indian cinema, so from hardcore commercial films like Singham to parallel films like Gangs of Wasseypur, they all deserve a chance to be watched and then appreciated or criticised by the audience. I am no one to judge that,” he adds.
His upcoming film Heroine, starring Kareena Kapoor as the main lead, has become the centre of attention for film buffs around the world. The film is based on the life of an actor and the suppressions and depressions she faces as a result of her career. After attacking the media, modeling and corporate world, Bhandarkar will be exposing his own industry this time.
“People have been telling me that you have explored and exposed a wide range of issues in society, but you have never looked behind the scenes in your own industry and hence came Heroine,” he says.
Surprisingly enough, Heroine is being released a year after Dirty Picture, another film based around the film industry produced by Bhandarkar which did extremely well – leading one to wonder if that is why he is choosing to make it. To this he promptly responds, “Dirty Picture was not even an inspiration [for Heroine] and it was a film that was based in a certain era of Indian cinema, whereas Heroine shows the reality of Bollywood today.”
“As far as business is concerned, my films do enough business to give me a decent return and I am fine with it because I don’t want to be a part of the 100 crore club,” he states, putting such speculations to rest.
In conclusion, Bhandarkar says that he is eager to visit Pakistan and catch up with his friends from across the border, but right now all his energies are focused on promoting Heroine, which releases across the world and in Pakistan on August 20. “I want my Pakistani fans to appreciate Heroine as they have loved and appreciated my other works and remember me in their prayers,” he merrily adds.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2012.