Madhur Bhandarkar has left for the Indian Film Festival in Berlin, where on opening day — August 15 — he will showcase the first promo cut of his forthcoming film, Heroine. Ever since its unveiling in India, the Kareena Kapoor-starrer has sparked intense curiosity and inevitable comparisons with Vidya Balan’s, The Dirty Picture (2011). And Madhur is not amused.
“Trying to find a parallel between The Dirty Picture and Heroine is even more baffling because they’re in different time zones,” he argues, pointing out that the former was set in the ’80s and revolved around an item girl, while Heroine traces the journey of a present-day superstar.
“In these 35 years, the film industry has changed hugely. Mahi is no Silk, but she’s as fascinating. She’s both strong and fragile in turns, with shades of grey, yet you’re going to walk out feeling for her.”
Kareena Kapoor in Heroine.
He’s been waiting to work with Kareena since Page 3 (2005) but the dates and economics hadn’t worked out. Seven years later, he got his chance. Ten days after their release, the YouTube promos have 27 lakh hits and he’s been hearing rave reviews. “People are saying the last shot is very Madhur Bhandarkar but hey, it’s a Madhur Bhandarkar movie, right?” he jokes.
His name became synonymous with India’s new wave cinema and two of his earlier films, Chandni Bar (2001) and Fashion (2008), are being screened in Berlin. “I’ve been to fests in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Egypt but this is my first trip to Germany and I’m glad two contrasting films are being screened there. Just the amount I spent on Kareena’s wardrobe would have made a Chandni Bar,” says Madhur.
“Back in 2001, it cost us Rs. 1.50 cr, today it would cost Rs. 9 cr as compared to Heroine’s Rs. 24 crore. What makes my movies viable is the tight control over the budget. They may not make Rs. 100 cr but even a Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji (2011) made its investors happy.”