A WOMAN – CENTRIC APPROACH
Madhur Bhandarkar: Bold and feminist film-maker.
Famous producer-director Madhur Bhandarkar, 48, has a penchant to court controversies. His latest movie Indu Sarkar had already released all over the country after 14 cuts along with disclaimer that the movie was a work of fiction and had nothing to do with former prime minister Indira Gandhi.
Bhandarkar shot to fame after he made commercially hit film Chandani Bar. This critically acclaimed film got him name and fame and was rewarded with the National Awards for the Best Feature Film.
His films include Fashion, Page 3, Traffic Signal, and Corporate. They all did well at the box office and established him as a filmmaker with the difference.
Bhandarkar was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest
civilian award, in 2016 by the Government of India. He started his career working in a video cassette library in Khar in Mumbai and tried and worked in various fields.
After trying his skills with smalltime filmmakers as an assistant at a meagre salary of ` 1,000 per month, Bhandarkar got his break when he joined as an assistant to Ram Gopal Varma and played cameo role in
Rangeela. Then after two years, he directed Chandani Bar (2001) starring Tabu and Atul Kulkarni with a budget of Rs.15 million. The film was critically acclaimed, became a box-office success and took him into top league of filmmakers in Bollywood.
He received his first National Award for this film and won national awards for his films Page-3 and Traffic Signal. His movie Fashion (2008) also won national awards for Best Actress (Priyanka Chopra) and for Best Supporting Actress (Kangana Ranaut).
Bhandarkar hails from a Marathi speaking family. He is a school dropout. He came from a middle-class family.
Bhandarkar married his girlfriend Renu Namboodiri on 15 December, 2003 in Mumbai and has a daughter (Siddhi). In most of his films, Bhandarkar's protagonist are females -- Tabu in Chandani Bar, Raveena Tandon in Satta, Konkona Sen Sharma in Page 3, Bipasha Basu in Corporate, Neetu Chandra in
Traffic Signal, Priyanka Chopra in Fashion and Kareena Kapoor in Heroine.
"My movies are not exposes, maybe they just hold up a mirror to society. My movies are not judgemental. I just show what happens in our society. Life goes on." Bhandarkar, who is known for his hard-hitting and realistic films, said.
Bhandarkar was recently in Delhi after his hit film Indu Sarkar.
Now he is busy in his upcoming Chitra Bharti film festival. Excerpts: You are famous for directing woman-oriented films but now, you have made a film on Late Mrs Indira Gandhi's Emergency titled Indu
Sarkar. Why you chose to make this film?
Yes, I made woman centric films but this is the first time, I made a film on political subject which attracted me a lot. Most of the film directors do not make such films, especially on this subject.. Therefore, I want to tell my audience the true story of emergency through my creativity.
Do you think after some cuts Indu sarkar still attracted to your audience?
Yes, I am extremely happy and satisfied that after the Censor Board advised me to cuts but still my film does not lose its credibility. Indu Sarkar is still appreciated by my fans and audience due to its originality..
Are you happy when your film is categorised as a political film? I would like to tell my fans and audience that one can never categorise film only by its topic they should always watch films with their free mind and honesty. Hence, Indu
Sarkar is not only a political film but it’s based on real-incidents along with some fictions
What feedback have you received from the cine viewers?
After My recent film Indu Sarkar I am very satisfied the way I got positive response. Hence, I want to tell my audience and cinema-lovers to watch films for entertainment only. Do not debate on films without getting into facts. Some people on the streets in Mumbai also appreciated my film, they were all street people.
What did famous actress Shabana Azmi told you?
Renowned actress and social activist Shabana Azmi told me that the Censor Board needs to be changed. She loved my film Indu
Sarkar. That's a great compliment for me.
How do you select title of your films? Being a film-director, I am always keen to select interesting and catchy title for my films, therefore, I had chosen Indu Sarkar and am satisfied to tell you that common audience had connected to Indu Sarkar because of its easy title.
Do you think as a film-maker one can always get positive views from the audience? As a film-maker it is not always possible to have positive feedback. However, there were mixed reactions, some like it and other disliked it. Like Indu Sarkar; some people likeed it and appreciated the film. As a film-director it does not affect me. Even politician Prakash Javedkar appreciated Indu Sarkar due to its direction and handling of the theme.
Basically all your films were based on woman-oriented themes. Why and how Indu Sarkar was different?
Yes, Mostly all my films were based on woman themes because woman is the main topic of my films. However, Indu Sarkar is based on our former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi but Indu Sarkar was quite different due to its topic and it was a political story. Besides that, I had shown the emergency era through
Indu Sarkar. Hence, there were some fictionalised characters and its 70 per cent content is based on real incidents and only 30 percent is fiction.
How do you choose your film cast?
As a film-maker I always search for fresh and talented film actors. I liked Kirti Kulhari’s acting talent in
Pink. She has natural skills so, I decided to take her and it has proved my decision very wise.
Do you think being a film-maker you have the liberty to show the real side of story?
Yes, I think being a film director I am convinced that I have to show the real picture of the story. Just like, I tried to portray the real story for my audience through my own directorial skill along with my star cast. For instance In Indu Sarkar, I have shown the emergency through the film.
What made you to cast Kirti Kulhari as Indu Sarkar?
Kirti Kulhari is known as a famous model. Besides her successful role in the latest film Pink, I was sure that she could deliver excellent performance and had natural acting skills. As she is a brilliant actress.
What are the highlights of your forthcoming film festival? What is the name of the film festival?
Chitra Bharti is the name of the upcoming film festival. As a director of the Chitra Bharti film festival, I thought to showcase two days film festival in Delhi from the 16 to 18 February next year. The entries have been invited for the categories of short films, documentaries, animation and campus films among others.
Who are the organisers and how many days the festival will be happening in Delhi?
I am the festival director along with Alok Kumar, the Chairman of Bhartiya Chitra Sadana (BCS). We both are associated with this festival.
Tell us something about the logo design.
There are big names like Adwaita Gadanayak, the Director General of National Gallery of Modern Art and Vasudev Kamath both are in the Logo design competition jury. Besides that, an internationally acclaimed artist, and J. Nand Kumar, National Convener Pragnya Pravah are also associated with this festival.
Who is the winner of the competition for this film festival?
The winner of the competition is Bhuvi Gupta of Mumbai, currently working as front-end engineer. Graphic designing and web development is her hobby.
Tell us something about the first Chitra Bharti film festival in Indore on 2016.
Yes, I had organised the first film festival of Chitra Bharti in Indore in 2016, which had received 309 entries from 8 states. The festival became very successful under the guidance of eminent persons like Vivek Agnihotri, Mukesh Tiwari , Rahul Ravel, Manoj Joshi, Vinod Mankar and Raj Dutt.
Besides film festivals what are the activities of your Bhartiya Chitra Sadana?
Film festival is only one activity but Bharatiya Chitra Sadana will organise film appreciation courses in all the major states of India, and campaign particularly in university campuses and film institutes to invite entries also from the budding youth of the country.
YES, I THINK BEING A FILM DIRECTOR AM CONVINCED THAT I HAVE TO SHOW THE REAL PICTURE OF THE STORY. JUST LIKE, I TRIED TO PORTRAY THE REAL STORY FOR MY AUDIENCE THROUGH MY OWN DIRECTORIAL SKILL ALONG WITH MY STARCAST.
My body is a reflection of who I am.