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|July 20, 2001||
Director Madhur Bhandarkar is ecstatic.
The reason for his excitement is Tabu. Portraying all the innocence of a small-town girl and clutching a bag to her body, the actress mouths her dialogues with ease.
But Madhur is unsatisfied. He wants another take.
We're at a crowded lane in one of the slums of Juhu in northwest Bombay. The film that's being shot is Chandni Bar.
A small-town, naive North Indian girl comes to Bombay and soon finds herself forced to work as a bargirl to earn her livelihood.
Madhur spent months researching for the film. So did Tabu, who plays the lead. She spent hours with bargirls while researching for her role.
The film has been shot mostly in slums in Dharavi and Versova, not in studios. Only a few bar scenes have shot in a specially erected set at Film City, Hyderabad.
Chandni Bar also stars Rajpal Yadav, Atul Kulkarni, Suhas Pansekar and Vinay Apte.
The schedule at Juhu is one of the last for the film. Mumtaz (Tabu) arrives in Bombay with her uncle. She is offered a room by lqbal Chamdi (Rajpal Yadav), a pimp.
Yadav says, "Mine is not the stereotypical role of a pimp. I'm a simple man. And supplying girls is my profession. This is the first film I signed on after Jungle. Madhur has avoided all the clichés while shaping my role."
The take over, it's time for lunch. Everyone heads indoors into Madhur's van.
Madhur, formerly Ramgopal Varma's assistant, says about his debut directorial venture, "What makes Chandni Bar interesting is the fact that it is rooted in reality. There are a lot of bar scenes, but not one is clichéd. We have taken care to make them realistic."
"R Mohanji, my producer, is very cooperative. He believes in my subject and my way of working. I am very happy with the performance of all the actors. They surpassed all my expectations.
"Watch out for Tabu. She is above par throughout the film," he promises.
Tabu joins him and the rest of the crew in his van. She can't wait for the film's release: "Chandni Bar is about a bar girl who grows as a woman and a person after becoming a part of Bombay.
"This film inspired me because it is an out-of-the-way subject. You don't ever see films portraying the life these girls lead. They have extremely emotional stories to tell."
India News Feature Service
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