'Everyone's scared of Fashion'

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By As real as ever, director Madhur Bhandarkar is the devil who wants his due PRATIM D. GUPTA
  • Published 27.10.08
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DIWALI BONANZA: Priyanka Chopra, Mugdha Godse and Kangana Ranaut with Madhur Bhandarkar

This whole debate about whether Fashion deserved an A’ certificate or an ‘U/A’ certificiate has diverted the attention from the film...

See, the whole thing is that I expected to get an ‘U/A’ certificate because all of my last three films — Page 3, Corporate and Traffic Signal — got ‘U/A’ certificates. Despite having very strong content in the films. But this time they said that they have a new set of rules and the parameters don’t allow Fashion to get an ‘U/A’ certificate. The only way, they said, they could give me the certificate is if I cut six scenes in the film... also, 50 per cent of the smoking had to be removed... the love-making scene had to be removed... I said I am fine with the ‘A’ certificate.

But your target audience was never the family. So the ‘A’ tag shouldn’t be a problem...

But I am the same film-maker who made the other films. I would have been happier if they didn’t do this. They are saying that you are showing people taking drugs. But there was more of drug-snorting in Page 3. There was an entire rave party. In Traffic Signal, Ranvir Shorey is openly taking drugs. So why did you give ‘U/A’ certificates there when I have shown just one-fourth of the whole thing in Fashion? If I have to show a character go through ups and downs in life, I have to show certain things...

So is Fashion about Geetanjali Nagpal or Carol Gracias?

(Laughs) Just baseless rumours which have been doing the rounds from the day I announced the film. At first they said that it’s about model Shivani Kapur... then somebody said Alicia Raut story... then Geetanjali Nagpal... somebody even said it’s Kate Moss’s story. So not just in India, they have gone abroad also (laughs). What do I say? Just because Kangana’s hairstyle looks like that of Geetanjali Nagpal doesn’t make it her story. In the film, Kangana is lost in her own world and is seen smoking outside the theatre in a pensive mood. After seeing that one shot in the promo, everyone said that it is Geetanjali! But Geetanjali was wandering around the roads and her’s is a different case. And Geetanjali Nagpal was never a supermodel. We are only showing supermodels in Fashion and Kangana’s character is Sonali Gujral.

So who or what is Fashion about?

Mugdha Godse, Priyanka Chopra and Kangana Ranaut in Fashion

Fashion is not about technical things. It’s not about Madhur Bhandarkar telling you what to wear from this year’s summer collection. People will think har waqt ramp dikha raha hai, kapdon ki baat hogi... That’s not the case! It is basically about the story of certain individuals connected with the fashion industry and their ups and downs and their personal trauma. Fashion here is just a backdrop. You know, everyone is scared of my film. What do I do? Tomorrow some designer might say you have shown me as gay, it is my story... See, there’s no end to all this naa...

After all the research you have done and the entire film that you have made, what is your take on fashion shows?

Fashion shows have become like IPL now (laughs)! Three years back when I thought of the film it was because of the kind of media hype that the fashion weeks got. Earlier it was fashion aata hai, ramp pe chalta hai, maloom nahin padta hai... Now you see every month, this week, that week, couture collection, bridal collection, fall collection, something or the other is happening. What is interesting for me is the common man perspective. I am a big fan of RK Laxman. People come back home from 9-to-6 jobs and sees these beautiful girls walking the ramp everywhere on TV. Where the TV will show you the ramp, I will take you behind the ramp. Where the girls come from, where do they go... that was what intrigued me. I am not interested in the clothes. Our consumer market cannot afford any of those clothes. Even I can’t afford.

One complain against Traffic Signal was that it had no story, just the backdrop. Any such fears with Fashion?

Absolutely, I agree with you! Compared to Page 3 and Corporate, the problem with Traffic Signal was it did not have a story. And I told that from Day One — it’s just a slice of life and there is no story. I knew that as a film-maker all through. I took a few incidents from what happens at a traffic signal and made it into a film. Don’t worry, Fashion will compensate everything.

Fashion is also your biggest film till date with a lot more crores involved than what you are used to. Are you feeling the heat?

It is my biggest film till date... in terms of budget, in terms of look... People say that Madhur Bhandarkar can only make realistic cinema. Yes I can make realistic cinema but in Fashion you will see the opulence. The grandeur is like any other big film by big director.

Are you comfortable shooting a big film because Aan was one of your weaker efforts?

I have said from the first day that it is not a question of making a big budget film. It is the subject which demands the budget. Tomorrow if I make a Rs 40 crore film, I will still make it on a realistic pattern as per my own parameters. And if tomorrow I make a film which doesn’t require big locations and big budgets, I can still make it in Rs 6 crore. I wouldn’t limit myself as a film-maker. I don’t need Rs 25 crore to be a big director. I am a big director without big stars and big budgets.

Beer bars, parties, traffic signals and now fashion shows... Will Madhur Bhandarkar only make issue-based films?

People should at least appreciate what I am doing. People say that Madhur Bhandarkar is an issue-based film-maker, Madhur Bhandarkar is a hard-hitting film-maker and what not... but at least give the devil his due... At least somebody is making original cinema... at least somebody is making real cinema... at least somebody is trying something new... I am an experimental film-maker whose films become successful commercially. I never claimed to be a commercial director and I am not. Even Fashion at its budget of Rs 18 crore is an experimental film. I am not digressing from the movies I make. Madhur Bhandarkar is still as real as he was in Chandni Bar. I am the only film-maker in Bollywood who’s got commercial success, critical acclaim and a National Award.

Do you still feel as charged about an issue as you felt for Chandni Bar?

Absolutely! I am not like “Chalo abhi bore ho gaya... ab candy floss banate hain....” I made Page 3 and Corporate on high-society people and suddenly I made a film on low-society people like Traffic Signal. Now I go behind the ramp for a very rich experience. Zameen-asmaan ka farak! From something so shabby to something so eye-pleasing, it’s very challenging as a film-maker. I learn so much. You meet so many characters and you love to know their psyche and how their profession works. It’s beautiful! People can say Madhur is being a moral police, but I enjoy the process.

Actresses want to work with you to win National Awards. What do you have to say about the three in your film?

It will be the best movie in Priyanka Chopra’s career. Despite the low phase that she is going through, this movie will definitely put her in a different bracket. Kangana Ranaut is brilliant in the film! Mughda Godse was a revelation for all of us. So absolutely, a Diwali bonanza for you all (laughs)!

Which is your favourite Madhur Bhandarkar film? Tell t2@abpmail.com