‘Fashion 2 is being scripted’

Madhur Bhandarkar, known for films depicting real lives, is all set to make a sequel to Fashion. Meanwhile, here’s a look at the acclaimed filmmaker’s journey till now

It was the 2001 film Chandni Bar that gave filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar his first taste of fame. The women-centric film, which puts the spotlight on the girls who danced at Mumbai’s beer bars but also portrays the gory underworld, was not only a commercial success, but also brought him the National Award for Best Director. Now, the filmmaker is ready to make the sequel of his successful film Fashion.

Fashion (2008), the film which exposed the dark reality of the fashion world, was both a commercial and critical success. The film revolves around Meghna Mathur, a small-town girl who comes to Mumbai to make it big in modelling. Priyanka Chopra played the protagonist, while Kangana Ranaut and Mugdha Godse were in pivotal roles. It is undoubtedly one of Bhandarkar’s best works. This year, the film completes a decade. Recently, the filmmaker shared his plans for its sequel.

“I never wanted to make sequels to any of my films although fans kept asking me why I don’t. Frankly, I never intended to make sequels. But Fashion made me think and thus I want to develop the film further,” he says.

In a recent interview, he shares that Fashion was supposed to be three hours 10 minutes long, but he had to cut it down to two hours 35 minutes. Thus, there were many other things which he wanted to show, but could not. The filmmaker has stated that the concept of the film is ready and that it will be based on a true story, like most of his films are.

Like Fashion, many of his films like Chandni Bar, Heroine, Page 3, among others, have strong female protagonists. Most of his films portray the dark side of the real world – be it the ‘glamorous’ fashion industry, the ‘moralistic’ world of journalism (Page 3) or the truth behind tinsel town’ in Heroine.

Some of his other notable works include Corporate, Traffic Signal, Satta, Indu Sarkar, among others.

Moreover, he is also known for bringing out the best from his actors – like Priyanka Chopra and Kangana Ranaut. Both bagged the National Award for their stellar performances in Fashion. “Priyanka is a very talented and professional actor. She played a significant role in the success of Fashion,” he adds.

However, Fashion still reminds him the of the pain and struggle that he went through, emotionally. It was really difficult for him to direct the fashion shows. At times, it was tough for him to shoot certain heart-breaking scenes, like the one in which Priyanka walks the ramp even after being informed that her friend Kangana, is no more, or the scene in which Kangana is walking the ramp confidently even after being hit black and blue by her boyfriend.

It is this sensitivity and humane approach to a film which makes it more real to the audience. Thus, all his films have been appreciated widely – both by audience and critics alike. However, his 2015 film Calendar Girls did not do well. Like Fashion, it also showcased the struggle of aspiring models, but lacked the essence of a good Bhandarkar film.

His last film Indu Sarkar (2017) was a political drama set during the emergency period 1975-77 by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi. The film, ahead of its release, got embroiled in various controversies. Bhandarkar also stated that he received various threats on multiple occasions before its release. But despite all these, the film failed to make a lasting impression in the audience’s mind.

Apart from being a prolific filmmaker, Bhandarkar is also engaged in various other activities like producing films and script-writing. Despite all the stardom, he is a humble man. Also, he is a family man, who makes it a point to spend time with his wife and daughter amidst busy schedules.

Apart from receiving National Awards for his films, he was also awarded by the prestigious Padma Shri in 2016. Also, in 2010 it was declared that all his films will be preserved by National Film Archive of India (NFAI). But the road to success was not at all easy. He started his career by working in a video cassette library in Khar, Mumbai. Then, he assisted filmmakers and even worked for a meagre salary of Rs 1,000 per month.

The turning point of his career was when he assisted filmmaker Ram Gopal Verma in his film Rangeela, wherein he also played a role. After that, he went on to make his own film, his debut being Trishakti. But again, his claim to fame was with Chandni Bar. The film had a budget of two crore and renowned actors like Tabu and Atul Kulkarni played pivotal roles in it.

“Like any other professional filmmaker, I aspire to traverse a long way that will be visited by both success and failure. I want to make bigger, better films. But Chandni Bar will retain that special place in my heart which belongs to the first romance of our lives —warm, tingling, ethereal, yet so real,” says Bhandarkar.

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