I always try to strike a balance, director Madhur Bhandarkar tells New Indian Express Editorial Director Prabhu Chawla during Teekhi Baat on IBN 7 even as superstar Kareena Kapoor fields some sharp questions. Excerpts:
Madhur, you seem to have the instincts of an investigative reporter
Bhandarkar: If not a film-maker, I surely would have been a journalist.
You wanted Aishwarya Rai as the heroine.
Bhandarkar: No, first we offered the movie to Kareena Kapoor , but dates were an issue.
(to Kareena) Did he come to you?
Kareena: That time, I was shooting for five films, including Bodyguard and Ra.One.
I saw your first film Chandni Bar. There was a philosophy behind it. Heroine, it seems, is commercialised.
Bhandarkar: No. Eleven years ago, the budgets were different; so were the themes. Plus, I have evolved since then. Even I want to have more audience.
How has Kareena changed in the past eight years?
Kareena: I have been offered the best roles. I have always concentrated on acting. After Jab We Met, I am looking forward to Heroine.
Your role models were Madhuri Dixit and Sridevi. Their films are evergreen. Jab We Met was good to remember, but the other films were like a bubble. Now when a film is released, people talk about the money made.
Kareena: That is industry talk, whether is Rs 200 crore or Rs 300 crore. I am interested in acting. That is why I always try to strike a balance. I have done many critically acclaimed films.
Coming to films done by Madhuri, even our kids can watch them. They are evergreen. On the other hand, films today are forgotten very soon. They are like instant food.
Kareena: There are attempts to change this. But one actor alone cannot change things.
You said that you would continue to work like Zohra Sehgal — till you are 90.
Kareena: Yes, that is my passion. Kareena Kapoor will always be Kareena Kapoor.
In your films, a woman always dominates.
Kareena: Do you hate men?
Bhandarkar: Nothing like that. I did Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji with Ajay (Devgn). I have a very good equation with him as well. Like somebody asked, why not a hero instead of heroine. Telling the story from a heroine’s point of view sounds good.
Is it not a coincidence, in seven out of 11 films, the heroine dominates? Do you think that you have to promote women?
Bhandarkar: It’s an old trend. Definitely, there were many roles scripted for Nargisji, Rekhaji, Srideviji, Madhuriji. Today, times have changed, business worth `100- 200 crore is done in the opening days. If an actor has to reach many people, he has to be like Salman or Shah Rukh or Aamir.
With fashion, you could reach out to a large audience. It wasn’t the same with Corporate. With Kareena Kapoor, Heroine, will go much ahead.
Bhandarkar: It depends on the script.
Has it become necessary to reveal these days?
Kareena: You must ask viewers. Why do they want item songs?