COVER STORY

Citadel - - CONTENTS - l COVER DE­SIGN: ANIL GAWDE

On a high on the well-de­served suc­cess of INDU SARKAR, di­rec­tor MADHUR BHANDARKAR and ac­tor KIRTI KUL­HARI take out some time to get chatty with Citadel…

Film­maker MADHUR BHANDARKAR and his hero­ine KIRTI KUL­HARI have grabbed the at­ten­tion of the na­tion with their hard-hit­ting, crit­i­cally ac­claimed film INDU SARKAR. Here, Madhur and Kirti speak to Su­mita Chakraborty about their jour­ney in Tin­sel Town, the ser­pen­tine twists and turns they’ve faced in life to achieve suc­cess, and much more…

He’ s un­doubt­edly one of Bol­ly­wood’s best di­rec­tors and his lms are gritty, real, and in­cred­i­bly thought-pro­vok­ing. From a whole host of ‘real’ lms in­clud­ing Chandni Bar, Fash­ion, Hero­ine, Cor­po­rate and now Indu Sarkar… over the years, he has suc­cess­fully mir­rored the harsh re­al­i­ties of life – warts and all - through his hard-hit­ting films. No won­der he’s been called the all-sea­son ‘di­rec­tor par ex­cel­lence’. She, on the other hand, has proved that she’s not just a pretty face and has show­cased her amaz­ing act­ing prow­ess in her lm Indu Sarkar. And, how! Meet In­dia’s most re­al­is­tic di­rec­tor Madhur Bhandarkar who has proved his met­tle with ev­ery lm he’s made. And of course, not to for­get the hero­ine of his lm Indu Sarkar, the gor­geous Kirti Kul­hari, who has won hearts and much ac­co­lades with her per­for­mance as the pro­tag­o­nist. Bold, un­abashed and bru­tally hon­est, film­maker Madhur Bhandarkar and Kirti Kul­hari eld our ques­tions with ut­ter aplomb. Read on as they speak about their lm, suc­cess and more…

Indu Sarkar has got im­mense crit­i­cal ac­claim. Madhur, are you happy with the ap­pre­ci­a­tion you have re­ceived?

I made Indu Sarkar for a niche au­di­ence, and I’m very happy that I have been ap­pre­ci­ated so much. I think Indu Sarkar will be one lm that will al­ways stand out for pos­ter­ity. In fact, I have even been told that when peo­ple talk about Emer­gency, they will au­to­mat­i­cally think of Indu Sarkar. To­day, I feel vin­di­cated that the strug­gle and ght I went through was worth it. I’m happy that the peo­ple who the lm was tar­get­ted for un­der­stood and loved it. So it was all worth it. To­day, Indu Sarkar is still go­ing strong – and de­spite big lms re­leas­ing – the lm is stand­ing tall. I’m now be­ing in­vited to nu­mer­ous lm fes­ti­vals across the world and I will be tak­ing the lm there.

Madhur, four Na­tional Awards, a Pad­mashri, crit­i­cal ac­claim, box ofce suc­cess, you have shown the world that you are in­deed a pow­er­ful di­rec­tor… How has the jour­ney been for you? Has this changed you as a per­son?

No, I have not changed as a per­son. Peo­ple who know me closely are aware that I am the same guy who hails from a mid­dle-class fam­ily, who used to run a video li­brary, who still rel­ishes vada pav and pani puri. Suc­cess and awards have not changed me. The lm in­dus­try is an ex­tremely su­percial world and I un­der­stand its prac­ti­cal­ity. And I am a level-headed per­son, so my suc­cess has never gone to my head. I have seen hell in my life, but I have al­ways been a ghter. More so, when I be­lieve in some­thing, no mat­ter what, I stand by it. Of course, I do get stressed out, but I al­ways have a smile plas­tered on my face. And yes, I can duel the odds. I be­long to the num­ber ‘8’ bracket, and so my life has al­ways been a strug­gle. But that has made me stronger. And I can ght my bat­tles well.

Bol­ly­wood has so many camps. Do you be­lieve in them?

Hon­estly speak­ing, I am ab­so­lutely a one man’s show. I don’t have a co­terie or be­long to one. I don’t be­long to any camp. Ac­cord­ing to me, my work reects the mes­sage that I want to put across. And I can do that very well on my own.

You have been a blessed lm­maker in terms of awards and re­wards. What is im­por­tant to you - awards or re­wards? I think rst toh re­ward chahiye, kyuki pic­ture chalegi toh fayda hota hai. Awards are denitely com­pli­men­tary. Re­wards are awards kyuki jab film chalti hai, it doesn’t only benet the lm­maker, but the ac­tors and ev­ery­one who has been associated with it. But of course, I am in­debted to the peo­ple who have found me wor­thy of giv­ing an award to. Your sub­jects are al­ways bold and hard-hit­ting. Why pick th­ese kinds of top­ics? Peo­ple al­ways think that Madhur takes up is­sues through which he tries to do some kind of khu­lasa or parda phash. I feel that my lms are nei­ther judge­men­tal nor preachy. I give the au­di­ence what they want to see. I am one of those very few lm­mak­ers in In­dia who has got crit­i­cal ac­claim and at the same time, had box ofce suc­cess. I am very con­tent in life as my needs are very less. Kirti, how has your jour­ney been - from your rst lm Khichdi to Pink to the lat­est Indu Sarkar?

The jour­ney has been long. Khichdi re­leased in 2010 and now it’s 2017. If I talk about it in terms of how I wanted the jour­ney to be, then it hasn’t ex­actly been like what I wanted it to be. I think the suc­cess that I got now post Pink, agar jald hi mil jaata, Khichdi

aur Shaitaan ke time pe, then by now I would have done much more work and the kind of work I like. In my jour­ney, I have had my share of lows, dis­ap­point­ments, and re­jec­tions. At the same time, I have also grown a lot as an ac­tor in th­ese last seven years, from

my rst lm to Indu Sarkar. As I said, if I would have got­ten this suc­cess six years back, I would have been hap­pier. And the rea­son I say that I have grown as an ac­tor is be­cause each time I was not do­ing films, I was work­ing on my­self as an ac­tor. I was do­ing the­atre con­tin­u­ously on the side. How was it work­ing with Madhur Bhandarkar?

Well, I will surely cher­ish the whole ex­pe­ri­ence of Indu Sarkar. Be­cause Indu Sarkar has given me the most chal­leng­ing role I have ever played. I al­ways wanted to work with Madhur, be­cause I think he is one lm­maker who has con­sis­tently made lms with a fe­male pro­tag­o­nist, which is quite rare in our in­dus­try. And Madhur has gone against the tide and done that

con­sis­tently. So I have a lot of re­spect for him. And Madhur is in his el­e­ment more than ever, be­cause he is so much into the lm, and it’s a very im­por­tant lm for him as well. It’s the eas­i­est shoot environment I have ex­pe­ri­enced my­self in. Madhur and I are closer from where we started, we are great friends. We share a great bond I am sure it’ll go be­yond Indu Sarkar.

Madhur, is there any for­mula for suc­cess that you be­lieve in?

There is no for­mula for mak­ing a hit lm. What works, you never know. Trust me, one Fri­day, the game changes, the fate changes. One Fri­day, en­e­mies change, and the other, friends change. Yaha pe su­per­stars ki bhi pic­ture nahi chalti. So you go with your gut feel­ing. I have been very for­tu­nate that by and large, 70 per cent of my movies have worked at t he box of­fice. Another rea­son for my movie work­ing is be­cause I con­trol the bud­get. That is my mantra. I am a pro­duc­ers’ di­rec­tor.

A lot of con­tro­ver­sies pop up, espe­cially for your lms. Why?

Peo­ple have a prob­lem with a lot of things. Some peo­ple want to blacken my face, throw chap­pals at me… I have even re­ceived a lot of lovely le­gal let­ters. I am a fam­ily man; I have a wife and daugh­ter and want them to be safe. I know this is some­thing that keeps pop­ping up - even when I’d made Hero­ine, peo­ple, espe­cially in the Hindi film in­dus­try, were up­set about me show­ing them in a ‘bad light’. Indu Sarkar is 70 per cent ction 30 per cent facts. Do­or­dar­shan has al­ready made a ve-part episode on it. How can I change things that have al­ready taken place? My lm is about a girl who stam­mers, played by Kirti Kul­hari, who rebels against the sys­tem,

joins un­der­ground ac­tiv­i­ties and is ide­o­log­i­cally against her hus­band. The film is about a hus­band-wife conict. I would un­der­stand if I had said I made a lm or a doc­u­men­tary on the Emer­gency. But that’s not true. The po­lit­i­cal am­bi­ence was just the back­drop. My lm isn’t po­lit­i­cal.

Kirti, you on the other hand, have never been a part of any kind of con­tro­versy. How come?

Firstly, I don’t think I have been big enough for peo­ple to write about me or know about what is hap­pen­ing in my life. And when I did be­come big, I got mar­ried, so sorry…(laughs) But

hav­ing said that, I think it’s been a very con­scious choice to stay away from con­tro­ver­sies. Even in terms of so­cial me­dia, peo­ple ask me my opin­ions ran­domly. I nd that ridicu­lous be­cause I don’t want to give my opin­ions on any and every­thing. There are some things that I have opin­ions on, but there are so many oth­ers, I don’t have any opin­ions on. And con­sid­er­ing so many peo­ple are giv­ing opin­ions, I don’t want to add to that club of opin­ions. I like to keep my life very sim­ple. There is home and work, and I love both. I want to be able to live a nor­mal life as well. And if that re­quires me to stay away from con­tro­ver­sies, yes, I will. I love my peace of mind, and I don’t want any­thing to get in the way.

Do you think af­ter marriage, a hero­ine’s ca­reer graph goes down?

My ca­reer graph has ac­tu­ally gone re­ally up af­ter I got mar­ried. Peo­ple nd the ‘avail­abil­ity’ tag of a sin­gle­ton ap­peal­ing in Bol­ly­wood. And I do get the vibe some­times that be­ing mar­ried is like be­ing ‘not avail­able’. But does it mat­ter to me? Not re­ally… When I thought I found the guy I wanted to get mar­ried to, I got mar­ried with­out mak­ing a big deal out of it. I would rather not have those peo­ple around me who think be­ing mar­ried is less sexy or less ap­peal­ing. If they want to give me roles on the ba­sis of be­ing sin­gle… Well then, I am good wher­ever I am.

Madhur, Indu Sarkar has faced nu­mer­ous cuts. But this isn’t some­thing new for your lms. What is your take on cen­sor­ship?

I’ve al­ways had a prob­lem with the way the cen­sor­ship func­tions, ir­re­spec­tive of the regimes. It is a fact that if a lm gets an ‘A’ Certicate, it does lim­ited busi­ness. The lm Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji was re­ally en­ter­tain­ing, but was passed with an A Certicate only be­cause of the use of the word ‘vir­gin’. The same Cen­sor Board passed Page 3 and Traf­fic Sig­nal with a U/A Certicate. Mind you, they had scenes with peo­ple tak­ing drugs in them. Whereas th­ese are t he lms I’ve won Na­tional Awards for. Even when Hero­ine was out, they said I’d have to re­lease it with a disclaimer - ‘Cig­a­rette smok­ing is i nju­ri­ous to health.’ They can be ridicu­lous at times! But for Indu Sarkar I ap­pealed and I was very happy that the jury un­der­stood my lm. So here I am!

Kirti & Madhur at a pro­mo­tional event

Madhur with his Hero­ine lead, Ka­reena Kapoor Khan

...with his Fash­ion cast Kangna Ra­naut, Mugdha Godse & Priyanka Cho­pra

...with ex-Pres­i­dent Pranab Mukher­jee

...with his cast of Cal­en­dar Girls

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