It always gives me a high whenever I tell a slice-of- life story. When one is dealing with factual aspects, it is absolutely necessary that I research so that my audience does not feel cheated by the lack of authenticity.
All my films, right from the days of Chandni Bar, have always been researched and lived with. Along with me, my cast also joins me in my research expedition. I had taken Tabu to a dance bar to give her the feel of a bar girl’s life. Though she went in disguise, she was recognised in the bars. The same was the case with Konkona — I took her to a couple of media offices to get a sense of a journalist’s life. Priyanka and Kangana, too, had visited fashion shows backstage.
With my next film, I am venturing into the underbelly of a world where normally a common man from the streets would dread to go. It is a popularly known fact that my next film will be based on the jailhouse and the life inside the caged four walls.
I always like to change the perceptions of my audience about a film they have last seen. After the suave Corporate, I made Traffic Signal on the grime and dirt of Mumbai’s traffic signal. After that, I made Fashion, on the glamour of the fashion world.
Just when people were convinced that Madhur Bhandarkar had transcended into the glamour-and-gloss world, I decided to do exactly what was unexpected.
The research for Jail took me to the most important prisons of this country — I visited Yerwada Jail with Neil Nitin Mukesh. The other technical members of my unit also visited the jail with me.
On that visit, I stayed for almost four hours, interacting with prison officials, eating with them the same food they cook in the jail, visiting the barracks and the workshops, where activities like carpentry, snackmaking, painting all have a peaceful co-existence among hardened criminals.
Normally, a jailhouse signifies the dead end of hope. But to my utter surprise, that place beamed with hope — every face had the hope of being released one day and that hope makes life in jail go round.
In those four hours, I ate with the prisoners and the undertrials, saw a completely new world where they were trying to create a sense of freedom within the four walls of prison. Though they have surrendered to their destiny, they have not given up the hope of freedom.
Though the jailhouse is a world forbidden to a common man, my film will be from the common man’s perspective, about his insights into a world that he has always heard about but would never want to experience personally.
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