Indian Filmmaker Brings Reality To Bollywood Films

Indian filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar is a genius. Not in the Einstein sense, but in the sense of how to make great films. He knows what audiences want and goes for it. Come hell or high water.


Madhur Bhandarkar poses with fashion icon Betsey Johnson at the recent Molecule Communications Bollywood event in NY

Bhandarkar, 45, is one of India’s prolific movie makers and one of the most sought after directors in Bollywood today. His reality based subject matter  mixed in with his brilliant way of directing,  all equals great cinema appreciated by audiences around the world. His films are fictional but have a strong sense of realism in the undertones of  each story.

His most recent film Heroine focused on the life of a young Bollywood wannabe actress trying to make it in the tough and highly competitive Indian film industry. The protagonist was played by Kareena Kapoor, one of the top stars in Bollywood. The film played to packed movie houses for months.  Again, the Midas touch of Bhandarkar.

The Mumbai born acclaimed director has won more National Awards (India’s equivalent to the Oscars) then any other director in India today.  In 2009, the acclaimed director also won the India’s Presidential Award for his contribution to Indian cinema.  Not bad for someone who has only been in the industry for 12 years.

Bhandarkar was in NY recently as part of Ticket To Bollywood, a two-day amazing film conference produced by Molecule Communications showcasing Bhandarkar’s work while allowing audience interaction with the director, something of a rarity with Bollywood celebrities.

“You couldn’t meet this guy in India even if you camped outside of his house for days,” said one striking Indian girl carrying a picture of Bhandarkar to get signed.

“I’ve seen every one of his films. The man knows how to make films that people for generations will appreciate,” stated one beautiful Indian girl with stunning features and a statuesque build.


Madhur Bhandarkar and Ravi Yande pose on the red carpet

The Ravi Report was lucky enough to catch up with the filmmaker to talk about  his films, his journey and Hollywood.

RR: Madhur, what I have found out is that  people outside of India love your films. Are you surprised at your global fan base?
MB: I think it’s a great thing. I know people who have seen Chandani Bar, Corporate and Fashion who are not Indians or NRIs who have loved my work.
I am very happy about the kind of reception I have received from these film followers and a lot of American people on Twitter  send me their feedback.
RR: Why do you think so many followers outside of India have connected with your films? Your way of telling a story? 
MB: I think people understand me and most importantly, they understand my cinema. My whole journey has been a great struggle and a compelling  amount of hard work has gone into it. I am happy that my journey from Chandani Bar to Heroine has been great.
RR: Your films mainly deal with issues about reality such as the dark side of the world of fashion, the cut throat corporate business world and an insider’s look at trying to make it in Bollywood. Did you ever feel compelled to try another genre?
MB: A lot of people have told me to stick to the kind of genre that I have been making films in and these are the films that got Madhur Bhandarkar known as the person who shows reality in cinema.  I am happy about that and  I am sticking to the genre and I am not going to change because my cinema..I know what it is…and for me it’s about connecting emotions with the audiences around the world.
Madhur Bhandarkar poses exclusively for The Ravi Report

The stylish and trendy Madhur Bhandarkar poses exclusively for The Ravi Report

RR: You are well-known in NY and were recently  honored with the prestigious ‘New York Citizen’s Achievement Award’ by the Counsel General of India.  Do you have a sense of connection with New York and if so, in what way?

MB: New York has been a favorite city of mine. I have been here twice already this year.  I connect with New York so much because it reminds me of Mumbai in so many ways. The vibrant energy, the people, the fashion, it’s buzzing all the time and very similar to Mumbai. When I walk in Time Square, I meet a lot of people and start talking just like Mumbai.
RR: One of the biggest honors any Indian person can received for his or her work is the National Award of India. Those who receive it often work a lifetime to get this high honor. You have received four of them in less than 12 years for your films and direction and  are the only filmmaker in the history of Indian films to receive so many of them. Your thoughts?
MB: I feel the kind of contribution that I have done with the audience participation and the people liking my work, has all contributed to me being recognized on such a high level in cinema. Everywhere I go, people say “Madhur do a film on this subject, do a film on that subject”, so the love and admiration I get from people who appreciate my work is really most important to me.
RR: Are you at all surprised at the immense amount of fame and recognition that you have received in such a short time in Bollywood?
MB: You see, there is an amazing amount of trust in the people and they believe in Mahur Bhandarkar cinema and they believe that Madhur will show us reality in films. Today when I look back at my journey, here is a person from a typical Marathi background who dropped out of school, sold video cassette tapes to celebrities and who came over here in this journey is huge for me.
RR: Have you ever gotten discouraged on your journey?
MB: I am a very optimistic person and when people ask me “Madhur, where do you see yourself ten years from now, I always go with the flow and don’t want to predict the future. I just want to make the kind of cinema that I believe in..that’s it.
RR: Many top Bollywood actresses like Kareena Kapoor, Bipasha Basu and Priyanka Chopra have attributed their Bollywood success to your films. Thoughts?
MB: I am happy that the audience has given me that power and that they watch my movies all the time. I am happy that my team, producers and of course the actresses  have given my films their best work.
RR: Would you ever decide to head to  Hollywood? They are very familiar with your work.
MB:  Well, I am very busy now. If  an offer comes tomorrow…and it’s right…I would do a film. I am just to busy right now to do anything but as I have said, if you want to work in Hollywood, you have to over there,  park yourself  and try to  understand the process and the same goes for trying to make it in Bollywood.
RR: Thank you Madhur.  A true honor indeed.
MB: Thank you. My pleasure.
Bhandarkar’s National Award winning films are highly recommended for everyone to see:
1. Chandani Bar (2001)- won for Best Picture
2. Page 3- Best Picture, Best Screenplay and Best Editing
3. Fashion– won National Awards for international superstar Priyanka Chopra and her co-star Kangana Ranaut
4. Traffic – won for Best Director
The journey continues and for Madhur Bhandarkar, it’s indeed a reel-istic one.

1 Response to “Indian Filmmaker Brings Reality To Bollywood Films”

  1. October 29, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Ravi has always shown us readers an interesting view on Indians overseas, may it be the culture or the Indian film industry, I always look forward to his posts. Being a fan of Madhur Bhandarkar movies I thank Ravi for this interview. AND I hope he starts his Journey as a film Critic soon!!!

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