The film industry is a superficial place: Madhur Bhandarkar
National- award winning film-maker Madhur Bhandarkar is always on the lookout for subjects that give the audience a feel of the real world. Be it Chandni Bar (2001), Page 3 (2005), Fashion (2008) or Corporate (2006), Madhur has always shown keen interest in strong content. He points out that the protagonists in his films usually belong to the middle-class background. “This is because I came from that background. My films are commercial hits, critically acclaimed and have even won National awards. I feel content with brand of real and topical films that I have created. I am happy in my zone,” he says.
The film-maker, who has come a long way from his first film Trishakti (1999), says there has been no looking back since the success of Chandni Bar. “I have evolved as a film-maker. I love watching movies and documentaries, and travelling – in an attempt to grow as a person and director. Today, when I look back, I am happy with my career and success. I lived my life the way I wanted to, and made the films I liked. I didn’t have diktats to adhere or stars to pander. I am happy with the success of my films, the National awards, and even the Padma Shri I received last year. I was a school drop-out who worked at a video-cassette library. The film industry is a superficial place and one has to go with the flow. When people ask me, ‘Where do you see yourself in next 10 years?’, I have no answer. I never plan, which is why I never thought I would reach this stage in my life. I am an optimistic person and I don’t believe in planning too much.
Madhur is glad that people relate to his movies. Many tell him how they recall the Page 3 prayer meet scene whenever they go to one, or how they have stopped buying strawberries at the traffic signal, referring to a scene in Traffic Signal (2007). Madhur adds, “I think every film has its own charm and element. I enjoy the process of making a film. I don’t make proposals.” While there have been talks about a sequel to Chandni Bar and Fashion, he isn’t in a hurry to make one. He admits he has “an idea for the sequel to Fashion but it needs some work”.
Madhur is working on the post-production of his next Indu Sarkar, a film based on The Emergency period in the country. The film-maker, who is aware that it is a “sensitive and volatile” topic, says, “The youth of the nation needs to know about our history. I have always been fearless when it comes to choosing subjects for my films. The events in my film are based on real incidents with fictionalisation. This [story] needs to be told,” he says.
He feels that reading and listening about a famous personality helps. However, when “one watches a film on a celebrated personality, it stays”. “That’s why biopics are in demand. There is more reliability and connectivity with a person when you see their journey being enacted,” Madhur adds.
Recently, the Information and Broadcasting ministry began an online film certification system for films. Madhur is very happy about it. “Digital is the future. We go online for many things in our lives, so why not censorship of films? It is a good step but I hope the process is clear and doesn’t create clutter.”