He is as raw as his films. There is no acquired accent, no affected mannerism. It’s just Madhur Bhandarkar, the man who, at one point of time, ran a video library. Despite having won three National Awards for his rather grimly real films, Bhandarkar in person is surprisingly warm and witty. His latest and most expensive film, Fashion, is like any other Madhur Bhandarkar film, he says. “It has a female protagonist from a middle-class family, and the movie follows how she fights and evolves with the system.”
A learning experience
It wasn’t only his heroine who ‘evolved’ with the movie, but also the director. “There was a lot for me to learn. I am not a style person. For me, Jimmy Choo was the name of a French movie till the time I learnt that it’s actually a fashion brand. The world was suddenly a dictionary, where every word had some new meaning, one whose existence I was never aware of. There was so much to learn.” And Bhandarkar began from scratch.
He attended fashion shows, spent hours backstage, sought permission from fashion designer friends — Wendell Rodricks, Shane and Falguni Peacock, Narendra Ahmed and Manav Gangwani — to spend time in the green room and attend trials. “Gradually, I realised that every model, every girl had a story to share. I had many stories to tell.” Ever since Madhur announced the film, speculation has been rife about whose stories he was telling in the film.
“It’s neither the story of Carol Gracias nor of Geetanjali Nagpal,” he says. “And there is NO wardrobe malfunction.” But he’s not willing to commit that the movie hasn’t been inspired by any of these names. “For that you will have to wait,” he says.
His wife Renu lets slip that Fashion is a pukka Madhur Bhandarkar film, “but with an optimistic approach. It’s not depressing or sad.” Obviously that’s something Renu feels strongly about because she wants Madhur to attempt a comedy, and then a love story.
“I want to see some fun in his films. He has such a great sense of humour that I am sure it would be a pleasant surprise for everyone. Then he should try a romantic film. He is such a romantic at heart, that I am sure he will be good with the genre.” Her wish gets Bhandarkar’s immediate consent. “Okay. After Jail, I will make a comedy for sure.”