When Madhur Bhandarkar makes a movie, a kind of hush descends on Bollywood. A hush of anticipation.
After all, the filmmaker has given us such close-to-reality hits as Page 3 and Chandni Bar.
But the director says though he researches a lot for his movies, they are not based on real personalities. Like about his next movie, Traffic Signal, which will complete his trilogy on "the extreme parts of society," he says it will be about Mumbai's street children, and that Kunal Khemu, Neetu Chandra and Konkona Sensharma will feature in it.
He also tells you that he hit upon the subject during one of his weekly visits to Mumbai's famous Siddhivinayak Temple. He walks to the temple -- which is quite far from his house -- every Tuesday.
But more on that when the time comes; for now, let's hear about the film everyone is eager to find out more about, Corporate.
Over to the director.
I like to make films based on real-life characters -- characters you can see in day-to-day life. I had lots of leftover research material from Page 3 -- many corporate honchos feature in Page 3 parties -- which I thought could be used for my next movie.
I felt the business world has not been portrayed on celluloid well. Nobody has done a complete film on the corporate world. How they function, their style, their language -- these things have never been tapped in our movies.
I was anyway thinking of an idea to be made into a movie after Page 3, and I thought why not the corporate world -- the boardroom drama, the ups and downs, rival groups fighting for one-upmanship, the emotional turmoil of the employees...
That's when I thought of Corporate.
About Bipasha Basu
Bipasha Basu plays Nishigandha Dasgupta, a vice president in a firm. She has Minissha Lamba and Samir Dattani -- along with others -- working under her. The movie is about how she handles the corporate world and her relationship with Kay Kay Menon.
Actually I had Aishwarya Rai in mind and had spoken to her too. But she had date problems because of her foreign commitments. Aishwarya wanted to do the film as she loved the script and she asked me whether I could delay the project. But I couldn't, as all my other characters and my script were ready.
I appreciate Ash -- she did try to manage dates, but couldn't. I am definitely looking forward to work with her.
The next actress I thought of was Bipasha. But I didn't change an iota of the script. The character of Nishigandha Dasgupta is very much same as I wanted. I didn't want to repeat Konkana Sensharma as she already had a good role in Page 3 and the movie was a huge hit. I wanted someone contrasting.
A lot of people told me Bipasha was not the right choice. But when I narrated the role, she loved it. Recently she said in an interview that she would be mad to say no to me. It's a great compliment for me.
I had met Bipasha before Corporate and we would always tell each other that we should work together.
Bipasha is very punctual and disciplined. In fact, everybody was good on the sets. I have almost 50 characters and everybody was nice.
My sets are basically very lively -- there is a lot of humour and leg-pulling. I make serious cinema behind the scenes, I am very slapstick. That is one more reason why our movie was completed fast.
I think Bipasha did 100 per cent justice to the character. And I feel that once people see the film they will have a different perspective of her.
On whether Bipasha's character is inspired by a real-life person
I don't know why people always judge and scrutinise my movies. Why do they always feel that it is based on some real-life character? A lot of other filmmakers make movies but they are never questioned on all this!
I faced the same problem during Satta. People started saying that it is based on some politician and for Page 3 I had same problems. Let me tell you that Corporate is a work of fiction. No real-life character has inspired it.
About Kay Kay Menon
Kay Kay plays Ritesh Sahani. Bipasha and Kay Kay work in the same firm and on the same project. There is a very strong bonding between the two. Don't ask me whether it is based on real-life character or not, you should see the movie to know that!
Just because I researched a lot for my movie doesn't mean it is inspired from anyone. I wouldn't give anyone's reference. Let the audience decide.
I say my movies are inspired by real-life characters, but that doesn't mean I will have caricatures of characters.
People do speculate about it, but I don't know why only with my movies. Any commercial movie may have a cop, a businessman or any character, but when it comes to my movies people start speculating.
Kay Kay is a brilliant actor. When I thought of making Corporate, at first people discouraged me. Then they said if I want to make a movie on the corporate world I should have a big star cast. But I can't go with the regular norms of the industry. Any big star would have done the role, because the role is fantastic. It is intense and has great scope.
But I wanted Kay Kay and no one else.
About other characters
Raj Babbar plays Dharmesh Marwah, the managing director of Marwah International Private Limited. He is a god-fearing man. He wears the rings his godman advises him to. Even when he goes to sign a document, he calls up his godman.
Marwah's rival is Vinay Sehgal, the MD of the Sehgal Group, played by Rajat Kapoor. Sehgal is a stylish, Page 3 kind of person.
Both are into the food business.
The entire movie is based on Bipasha and Kay Kay. All others are part of sub-plots. Samir Dattani and Minissha Lamba have a cute love story between them.
I don't want to reveal too much about the movie. I want the audience to watch it.