National Award winning filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar was in Bhubaneswar for the Odisha Literary Festival. Odishatv.in reporter Chiranjibi Pati caught up with the filmmaker par excellence to discuss his approach to filmmaking and his journey in Bollywood. Here are the excerpts.
Is it true that you make films to break stereotypes in the Indian society?
I always want to make films which I feel very relevant. I work on those movies which contain some topic, are issue-based or have a different perspective. I am very happy that people accept my movies in terms of National Awards, box office success and also are critically-acclaimed. From Chandni Bar, Page 3, Corporate, Fashion, Heroine and recently Indu Sarkar, all my movies have been received very well in the box office and I got a good response from critics as well. I don’t sit and think what I can do? I am a storyteller and I need to tell a good story and that too in a budget frame.
Most of your films are women centric and on social issues, what do you want to say on this? Is your upcoming movie on similar lines?
Right now I am working on a script and it’s very premature to comment on my script. I just completed my movie two months back and I have been travelling abroad frequently. For my next movie, I just have had some jamming sessions with my writers.
How was your journey from selling video cassettes in Mumbai to an acclaimed Director of the Indian Film Industry?
I feel my journey has been great. Journey from a video cassettes library guy and a school dropout to a filmmaker has been really inspiring for me. I also regret because I am unable to complete my graduation. Even though I did not go to school, I was an avid reader of books and travelled a lot.
I feel that every person should pursue their own career but there is no such doctrine of success. In film industry, very rarely people get success. Almost 99 per cent people fail in this industry. We always applaud and praise those people who get success but we never see the rest 99 per cent people. So the ratio of successful people in film industry is very small and I feel if you want to be in this industry then you have to be very strong and you should have the conviction in yourself. If you feel at some point in your life that things are not going well, then you move on to other options. I didn’t have any other option, I belonged to a middle class family and I didn’t complete my graduation as well. So these are the things that were my drawbacks and therefore I stuck to my ground and moved into film industry.
Lot of social issues are there in Odisha. Do you want to make a film on Odisha because this is a State which is very less represented in Bollywood?
This is my second visit in last 10 years. I like to visit Puri beach and also went to Lord Jagannath Temple. I see warmth among people and like Odia food as well. I feel it’s a very beautiful State. If any good script comes in future then I will definitely want to work on it. There are also good directors in Odisha and in future they can work under my banner or in my company.
The film, Aan: Men at work, Akshay Kumar portrayed the role of Hari Om Patnaik. Was this movie actually based on Odia IPS officer Arup Patnaik?
Yes it was loosely inspired by Arup Ji. In fact, while we were researching on the movie, I and Akshay personally met him. He was the commissioner of Mumbai then.