With movies like Page 3 (2005) and Fashion (2008) behind him, filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar believes he’s more of an investigative reporter than a director. As he prepares for the release of his ambitious project Heroine, on September 21, here are five hard-hitting questions for the film industry’s most media-friendly man.
Bollywood film actress Divya Dutta, writer and director Madhur Bhandarkar, film actors Kareena Kapoor and Arjun Rampal pose during the first look launch of Heroine. (AFP photo)
Did a lot of heroines from B-Town call you for Heroine?
Many actors called me, but Kareena and I had wanted to work together since our Chandni Bar (2001) days. She was destined to do this movie. She has proved her credibility. Bipasha, Konkona, Priyanka all did great jobs in my films, but this role was meant for Kareena and she excelled in portraying the character I conceived.
Do you think your genre is realistic cinema, considering that your attempt at making a comedy didn’t set the box office aflame?
I think Dil Toh Baccha Hain Ji (2011) did moderately well. We broke even as far as the budget was concerned. I don’t make an attempt to just do realistic cinema. If I like a subject, I go ahead with it. So some day you may see me make a love story. Personally, I enjoy commercial and larger than life movies.
Madhur Bhandarkar's latest offering, Heroine
Every time you make a film, you expose the underbelly of that particular industry and spread awareness about issues. But you don’t provide solutions. Why?
I’m like a reporter. If a subject intrigues me, I will go down to the very root of the matter. I know some of my films do spread awareness. But I can’t give my film a reel (rather than real) ending just to provide solutions. I’ve always kept my films as real as possible, and that’s why I’ve created a niche for myself.
Your films get critical appreciation and also bag National Awards. But do they make big profits?
I never overspend or make films with an exorbitant budget. Eighty per cent of my success is because of that.
Because I’ve created an audience for myself over the last 11 years, those who like and enjoy my films watch them. And I do break even and make money as far as the films are concerned.
Finally, will we see you make a male-oriented film in the future?
Definitely. If I have a strong enough subject, you will see me do it. But don’t expect me to do it just like that. I’m not here to set or follow trends. If I believe in a story, it will be made into a film.