Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Madhur Bhandarkar on 'calender-girls', Sex, Women, Bollywood & Life...

Madhur Bhandarkar With Columnist Nisha JamVwal
Madhur Bhandarkar, a man of many shades, all ambitious, interesting, observant and real! He is a good friend and a keenly observant film-maker. I remember a dinner party of mine, where he just stood like a fly on the wall and focusedly noticed interactions, hardly participating. He just moved around, looking, drinking in the ambiance and making mental notes. Post which he had churned out 'Page-3'. I was riveted by some real-life sequences in the film.  I even did a tiny cameo for him in that film. Today he's working on 'Calender-girls' and enjoying working with a bevy of beautiful newcomers. Thats the beauty of Maddy as I call him affectionately. I've known him for years, nothing changes him, from his humble beginnings to today, hes as comfortable at a tiny quaint fish lunch joint as he is at a rooftop gourmet fine dining restaurant. 

With women falling all over themselves to act in his films, keen to 'hang out ' with him, Madhur manages to keep his personal life very steady. He has had his share of controversy but his own home and relationship stays unscathed.
Friendship and camaraderie in a marriage can blow over the biggest storms that a relationship goes through in its journey. You just sail though tumultuous rocky weather without imminent shipwreck, and Madhur Bhandarkar is a great example of this. 

Severe allegations and court cases thrown at him by a struggling starlet through the last few year didn’t chink his fortress, instead it stood tall. This apart from all the hot stars that he’s been linked to.

“I don't believe in elitism. I don't think the audience is this dumb person lower than me. I am the audience”- Quentin Tarentino ….Madhur quotes his hero to me several times through our chat over Malvani fish, crabs and shrimp. Touted as ‘one of the directors who explore social issues especially in and around Bombay, Madhur has shown the murkier side of society, the underbelly of Bombay. Visibly enjoying his long innings and national awards, his marriage, his daughter, he is unfazed by rumours and linkups with leading ladies from ‘Bollywood’. 

What according to Madhur keeps his marriage from breaking up, when the newspapers have linked the names of Raveena, Tabu, Mughda Godse with his? 


How has he retained the equanimity of his marriage and kept it going despite so many ups and downs?

“I dated my wife for four years before we got married, she is more a friend and gives me space. She understands the ups and downs of film making. The creative process I am involved in takes research, time. Yes, I am away a lot so it wouldn’t work if we didn’t have an understanding. She knows me since I was a no-body. So the liberty she gives me is what keeps us going. She watches me shooting enough to know what goes into it.”

Madhur’s best films have strong women protagonists. He seems to have a deep understanding of the conflicts and paradoxes that make a woman. How come he is so empathetic to women?

“Emotional aspects of a woman attract me. Women protagonists are even more equipped to emote as they deal with society at many levels and contribute largely to society. Women are stronger than men in my view. 

For me attraction is not about beauty. A woman’s knowledge is a magnet. I enjoy achievers, strong women are attractive me. I grew up in a female dominated home where my mother and sister have been strong influences and they inspired me. It was a poor family and we went through difficult times. My mother held the home together through dire poverty. She was always there as a sturdy force. She came with me to receive my fourth national award to Rashtriyapati Bhawan, she was in tears.”

What about a relationship excites Madhur, what attracts him?

“Liking is more important than attraction in a man woman equation, because that is what lasts- liking.  In a relationship, I enjoy conversation the most. A woman’s personality attracts me the most.” he shares emphatically
Madhur’s protagonists are very conflicted, I’ve always connected with his idea of ambition, frustration and the pain of age-ing stars and models who become inconsequential and are ousted as they age. How can human beings retain personal happiness in an ambitious world where they lose consequence I wonder aloud, and Madhur feelingly shares- 

“The glamour industry is very transient Nisha. To maintain sanity, a person should not take success or failure seriously. Ups and downs are imminent. But it is difficult to survive if you take anything too seriously, because nothing is forever. Values change, and changes in human relationships actually challenge me.

I enjoy seeing human equations change– when I see success, there are more friends, if I am not successful, and I loose friends” we laugh together at the shallowness that makes up society. “I am a school dropout, I’ve never been to any institution. I don't come from a film family. I’ve seen famed actors being made to sit on the fourth row if their film did badly. I’m a strong observer. I go to Siddhi Vinayak and observe people in traffic. 

As a human being I feel the film industry is very superficial, it is not real. My sanity is because I know there is no reality in glamour and so I show actual reality in my films. No permanent friendships- no permanent enmity- that's the philosophy of the film industry”. A long way indeed to come from a video library delivery boy, Mahdur!!

Written for & Published By Deccan Chronicle & Asian Age

Nisha JamVwal 
& Tweet her on @nishjamvwal

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