After exposing the realities behind the corporate and the fashion world, Madhur Bhandarkar is all set to blow the lid off our film industry. From day one, his 'Heroine' has been the news, first for the actress initially chosen to be in the film, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and then for his choice of Kareena Kapoor instead. Bhandarkar didn’t always have it this easy.
After the initial struggle, he worked as an assistant to Ram Gopal Varma in 'Rangeela' (1995), attempted a TV career, and made a directorial debut, Trishakti, which bombed at the box-office. But once 'Chandni Bar' (2001) happened, there was no looking back. 'Page 3', 'Traffic Signal' and 'Fashion' were big hits, with some calling him an investigative director. More from him on why Heroine is not limited to Bollywood and why he enjoys making stories on women:
You must have done a lot of research before making 'Heroine'. Would you have made a good journalist?
Well, if not a filmmaker I think I would have been a journalist. I love doing research and like to know everything about everything.
Some designers and film critics dismissed 'Fashion' as clichéd. How realistic is 'Heroine'?
I have always liked to work on real subjects and give a ‘fiction’ twist to them. With 'Heroine', I have once again tried to explore the genre of realistic cinema. However, I have to say that it is not based on any particular person.
Why are most of your movies women centric?
I have found the strongest stories around women and making them has so far been a brilliant experience.
Have you ever met your protagonist, Mahi Arora, in real life?
Mahi Arora is an amalgamation of my observation of this industry for the past 11 years. I have met her in many situations and people, not just one!
Where does the movie stand, with reference to 'Fashion' and 'The Dirty Picture'?
'Heroine' is today’s subject. People will identify with this film. 'Dirty Picture' was a brilliant movie, but was based on the 80s in the South and with one reference point, Silk Smitha. I don’t have a single reference point, nor is my film limited by the boundaries of any one film industry.
Are you happy with the kind of work you have done so far?
It has been 11 years and the most beautiful journey of my life. I have learnt a lot, had my phoenix moment and my time under the sun. But there’s no time to sit back and mull over things. I am here to make cinema.
Is 'Halkat Jawani' your answer to 'Sheila Ki Jawani'?
'Halkat', performed by Kareena during an award function in the film, is a situational song and not an answer to anyone or any other song.
Do you think there are some issues that are unexplored in the film industry?
I go to a bank and their people ask me to make a film on them. I go to the hospital and people ask me to make a film on hospitals. So yes, there are issues everywhere.