Within a short span of five years, Madhur Bhandarkar has made his mark as a talented director who makes films according to his own convictions rather than following the tried-and-trusted, typical Bollywood formula. Winning awards and scoring at the box-office- on both fronts he has succeeded.
On July 5, Bhandarkar’s fourth film- Corporate is being released and taking that opportunity, I chat up with him about the new venture and his career-graph. Speaking in the typically Mumbaiya- lingo- a delicious mix of Marathi, Hindi and English, Bhandarkar answers questions in the same frank, forthright manner characteristic of his film-making.
What is Corporate all about?
Corporate is a film about high flying business-world. It not only shows the boardroom politics and business strategies but it also shows how personal these things become. I have tried to keep it very simple and would love to see the audience appreciate it.
So is it going to be yet another hard-hitting realistic fare?
I guess you could expect that. I have made films on subjects that have really interested me. At the same time, I tried to make them interesting to general audience. Thankfully they responded well to my efforts. People have come to expect something different from my films and ‘Madhur Bhandarkar- films’ has become a genre in itself.
How did it start?
I started off as a video-shop attendant who used to carry video cassettes to customers’ homes. When I set out to be a director, no one backed me. I have made it on my own- without any Godfather or Sugar Daddy. I have never tried to follow the set rules and formulae of Bollywood film-making. I like taking risks.
What were your cinematic influences?
I have been inspired by films of Guru Dutt, Bimal Roy and Vijay Anand but I have consciously tried to evolve my own individual style.
Dark and dangerous- is that your style?
People do tell me my films are too dark and too real but that’s what I like to show in my films. That is the way I will make my films.
Your films have often been compared to Ram Gopal Verma- school of films.
I have worked with RGV before and I take this comparison as a compliment. In terms of realism and the texture of films, our films do have something in common.
Bar-girls in Chaandni Bar, political games in Satta, socialite world in Page 3 and now corporate world in Corporate. You have made in-depth and incisive films on various topics. It must involve a lot of research.
Yes, I do a lot of research before embarking on any new film. I meet a lot of people associated with that subject and collect a lot of material. How to condense that material into a two-and-half hour film is the real challenge.
After initially finding it difficult to find a foothold in the film-industry, do you feel good that big actors are now lining up to work for you? Bipasha plays the central protagonist in the film.
I always do the casting according to demand of my characters and not according to their box-office status. I have always given a chance to newcomers and will continue to do so. But it is gratifying to see that now I have got more actors to choose from.
What do awards mean to you?
Two of my movies got National Awards. It obviously feels good to have that kind of recognition and appreciation. Any award- whether regional, national or international serves as an encouragement to do better in future.
What projects are lined up in future? Any popcorn movie in the pipeline?
I am working on a film called TrafficSignal. I would like to make all kinds of movies- whether popcorn, candy-floss or musical. But where I will be as a film-maker at the end of ten years, I myself don’t know. I take it as it comes.