“I Have Never Really Been A Birthday Person”- Madhur Bhandarkar

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Call it as an irony of sorts, but, one cannot deny the fact that, as the name itself suggests ‘Madhur’ Bhandarkar’s journey till date has been challenging, yet ‘sweet’. After having started off with humble beginnings, the National awards winner Madhur Bhandarkar has really slogged his way up to reach where he is today.

On the occasion of his birthday, Satish Sundaresan of KoiMoi met up with the film maker par excellence for an exclusive interview and came back pretty impressed. Here are the excerpts:

“I Have Never Really Been A Birthday Person”- Madhur Bhandarkar

Madhurji, to start with, what are your birthday plans for this year?
No plans as such. Idea is to spend quality time with family and friends. Luckily, it is Ganpati time, so friends will be visiting.

Looking back, what are the fondest birthday memories that you have?
I have never really been a birthday person. I never did anything special on my birthdays, but yes, in my childhood, friends in the neighborhood would come to my home and we would play. Now, I prefer going to the temple in morning and spend my day at home peacefully.

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Which has been your most memorable birthday gift? Who had gifted it and when?
I don’t believe in gifts as I said a birthday, for me, has never been a lavish affair. The best wishes and blessings I receive from all my loved ones is the best gift I could ask for.

Till what age you cut cakes and called friends over for a party?
I really don’t remember. Usually, it’s my wife who would get the cake and I would spend the day with family only.

If you were, to sum up, your whole life and career so far in one word or sentence, what will that be?
‘Fulfilling’. I am grateful to God for having given me things that I had not even thought of. Right from Chandni Bar to Indu Sarkar, my life has been a good journey, in terms some commercial successes, few critically acclaimed films, and National Awards. Gratitude towards people who have contributed in every small step I have taken.

On your birthday, what, according to you, will make an ideal gift to you?
On my birthday, we have Ganpati at home. I couldn’t wish for a gift that’s more ideal than this.

Looking back, is it true that you did not allow anybody to use their cell phones on the sets of Fashion?
Yes. As we didn’t want any information to go out before the film is made. During those days, social media was not that active and popular people would communicate via cell phones.

Is it true that you played a small role in RGV’s 1995 hit film Rangeela?
Well, I was the Associate Director and since I was on the sets, Ram Gopal Verma and Jackie Shroff insisted that I play that passing shot with one dialogue. Otherwise, I am a terrible actor.

Is it true that you had made a pilot episode of a TV serial ‘Apne Rang Hazaar’?
This was a long time back, during the days when I was working with Ram Gopal Verma. I had made a small episode of ‘Apne Rang Hazaar’.

Is it true that, during your struggling days, you sold chewing gum at traffic signals?
Initially, I worked as a video cassette library boy. After that job started diminishing away, I was wondering what to do. I, along with a few friends started a campaign called ‘Freshen Up’ chewing gum, where we worked as salesmen and sold chewing gums at traffic signals and at the Churchgate station.

Are you happy with the outcome of Indu Sarkar?
Indeed, I am happy. Indu Sarkar is a niche film and being a budgeted film, which was shot in just 42 days. It has recovered its cost which is very important. Kirti Kulhari, Tota Roy Chaudhry, and Neil Nitin Mukesh’s performance were appreciated. As a filmmaker, I am proud to have made a film based on Emergency.

Any regrets so far in life?
Not really. I am very happy and content with my life. From being a school drop-out to a video cassette library boy to being a successful filmmaker and winning state awards, national awards, and the Padamshree, it has been a spectacular journey.

Are there anything/s left to be achieved in your bucket list of ‘to-do’ things of your life?
There is no bucket list. I am a storyteller and I would want to keep making films on different topics and issues. You are always learning and working towards making cinema that people appreciate.

What’s next on your plate now?
As of now, I’m busy with taking Indu Sarkar on the international platform. The first stop being Oslo, at the 15th Annual Bollywood Festival Norway.
After a small break, I will start working on the next script. No idea yet, what that will be! (smiles).

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