'People ask me how I get into a women’s psyche so well. Trust me, even I don’t know!'
Madhur Bhandarkar discusses his Calendar Girls.
Madhur Bhandarkar is ready with his super sexy-looking Calendar Girls, starring five gorgeous actresses.
Madhur is quite optimistic about the new film, and he tells Rediff.com contributor Rajul Hegde why.
How did you get the idea of making a film on calendar girls?
I got the idea while I was flipping through a pile of Vijay Mallya’s (Kingfisher) calendars of beautiful girls in my office.
A thought struck me about these girls and how most of them disappeared after completing a year as a calendar girl. Where did they go and what did they do? The questions interested me.
That was the starting point of my research on this subject.
I found out only one per cent of calendar girls succeeded in making it big. I spoke to some of these calendar girls to understand more.
Some were reluctant while others were co-operative. They confessed to me in good faith and I will withhold their names until my death.
Some had changed their professions while others got married. They narrated good and bad things about how life changed after becoming a calendar girl. That’s the reason some of them abandoned the glamour world.
I also spoke to people who were involved in the making of the calendar to get a better view.
Eventually, I got enough stuff to shoot a movie.
Why did you choose to make Calendar Girls with newcomers?
I wanted to shoot the film in a stipulated budget and time.
Plus, the story demanded the casting of newcomers. Established heroines would have looked made-up. Konkona Sen Sharma (Page 3), Kunal Khemmu and Neetu Chandra (Traffic Signal), and Atul Kulkarni (Chandni Bar) were all newcomers.
All the five girls in the film are from different states -- none of them are from Mumbai -- because I wanted to keep it authentic.
The poster of the girls wearing bikinis has caught everyone’s attention.
The bikini portion comes for about 35 to 40 seconds in the film, when the girls come out of a pool. The girls do not wear bikinis all the time.
The film hinges on the performance of the characters, its content and on the drama. I make films with a lot conviction and strong content. I won’t make a sleazy film.
There will be a lot of revelations that will shock you, make you laugh as well as cry.
How did you manage to extract the right kind of performances from each actress?
When we started looking for actresses, we zeroed in on 60-70 girls. We filtered them to about 30-40, and finally locked five girls.
Then, we decided who would play which character. We did workshops. They also had get the right chemistry among themselves.
So in a way, Vijay Mallya inspired you to make this film? Is Suhel Seth playing Mallya?
I spoke to Vijay Mallya and he is aware of this film. Last year, I went to his birthday party at his place and he asked me about the film.
There have been reports about Mr X, Y and Z playing his role. After watching the trailer, people have started guessing and making their own interpretations.
Why are most of your films women-centric?
What interests me is good concepts and ideas. I am comfortable with women-centric subjects and do justice to them.
People ask me how I get into a women’s psyche so well. Trust me, even I don’t know! I think it’s inborn in me.
Top actresses like Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Raveena Tandon, Bipasha Basu and Kangana Ranaut’s best performances have been in my films. I feel very proud about that.
I think I am a friendly and humorous person. I chat with everybody, and I’m like that because I come from a middle class family. This industry is superficial and I have not got caught in that web yet. I don’t belong to any camp and am happy with the kind of cinema I make.
What subjects interest you, apart from women-centric films?
I would like to make romantic, thriller and murder mystery films.
Since most of your films are inspired from real life stories, will you announce a film on the Sheena Bora murder soon?
The plot is intriguing but I will not make this film because the investigations are still on.
You haven’t had a hit after 2008’s Fashion. Will Calendar Girls change that for you?
I have not thought about it. I have always been honest to my craft.
As it’s a budgeted film, it should be a winner. There are no big stars.
We will definitely cover the cost.
Heroine was also abudgeted film and everybody made money. It was made on a budget of Rs 21 crore and it earned Rs 40 crore. Had Heroine come first and Fashion later, people would have called Fashion a flop.
Ninety percent of my films have done well at the box office. Even Jail broke through. I don’t regret making any of my films.
What’s the status of Madamji with Priyanka Chopra?
Priyanka loved the subject. I need 60 days to shoot the film. Currently, she is busy with her other projects, so its on hold. When we match our dates, we will start work on it.