By Subhash K. Jha
Mumbai, Nov 5 (IANS) Madhur Bhandarkar, who is all set to start work on his ambitious project "Fashion" with Priyanka Chopra in the lead role next month, says this might be his last woman-centric movie. His next film, "Jail", will be a dark and gritty drama about three male prisoners.
"I think 'Fashion' will be my last woman-oriented film. There are so many male-oriented subjects that I want to make. Actually, after 'Traffic Signal' I wanted to make a prison drama called 'Jail', about three male prisoners. But then the idea of 'Fashion' came up," Bhandarkar told IANS.
The talented director of critically-acclaimed films like "Chandni Bar", "Page 3", "Corporate" and "Traffic Signal", says he now wants to make movies "with men at the helm", and also a full-on action film."Fashion", for which Bhandarkar researched for seven-eight months, is his most glamorous and expensive film to date.
"So far all my films have been made within the Rs.30-40 million. 'Fashion' will have a budget of at least Rs.100 million. The budget is dictated entirely by the theme. Even the junior artistes in 'Fashion' have to be models. The lustre must linger," he said.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: You continue to be enamoured of female-centric subjects.
A: I think "Fashion" will be my last woman-oriented film. There are so many male-oriented subjects that I want to make. For some reason the woman-centric subjects kept recurring. Actually, after "Traffic Signal" I wanted to make a prison drama called "Jail", about three male prisoners. But then the idea of "Fashion" came up.
Q: Is "Jail" going to be inspired by the hit series "Prison Break"?
A: Not at all! I haven't even seen "Prison Break". "Jail" isn't a prison-break story. It's about how hard life is inside prison, how the inmates come together to survive the brutality and the savagery. If you remember I had touched on aspects of prison life in "Chandni Bar". I want "Jail" to be a gritty and real prison drama.
Q: You actually wanted to make "Jail" after "Chandni Bar". But Nagesh Kukunoor's similar film "3 Deewarein" came along?
A: Yes, I did postpone my plans for "Jail" at that time. But when I saw "3 Deewarein", I realised my script was very different. It's again a very hard-hitting subject. Now I'll re-work the script and start again. I want to make movies with men at the helm, and a full-on action film.
Q: Is it true you had to re-write your script four times because Priyanka didn't like the first draft?
A: I did meet Priyanka several times. We decided to work together when I met her for the first time in Goa when my "Corporate" was shown at the festival (International Film Festival Of India). Why just Priyanka? Even I wasn't satisfied with the writing initially. And I never go on the floor until I'm satisfied. I feel all my films from "Chandni Bar" to "Traffic Signal" have been made at the script level.
I researched the subject for almost seven-eight months. I attended the Fashion Week in Delhi and Mumbai. I interacted with designers, buyers, choreographers, models. Now I've the exact look of the film, the fashion world, and even the characters, who play models, are in place.
Q: You were in Nepal for a fashion show.
A: Just a coincidence. The show in Kathmandu was organised by a dear friend and I couldn't say no. And I wanted to visit the Pashupatinath temple.
Q: Was the delay in your new project only because of the script?
A: No, I also wanted to take a break to give time to my family after my daughter was born. Also, I'm turning producer with "Fashion". It'll be co-produced by UTV.
Q: When do you start "Fashion"?
A: December 2007. It would have an ensemble cast and multi tracks like "Page 3". I want to sign real models and fashion designers, just as I had done in "Page 3" and "Traffic Signal".
Q: Are there negative shades Priyanka's role?
A: It's substantial and strong. And something she has never done before. Nor has such a character been shown in our cinema. And her character will have many shades, several ups and downs. We'll see the entire fashion industry from her character's point of view. Wasn't that the case in "Chandni Bar", "Satta" and "Page 3"? But other characters in "Fashion" will have equally substantial roles.
Q: "Fashion" will be a very glamorous film?
A: Yes, this would be my most glamorous film ever and my most expensive project to date. So far all my films have been made within the Rs.30-40 million. "Fashion" will have a budget of at least Rs.100 million. The budget is dictated entirely by the theme. Even the junior artistes in "Fashion" have to be models. The lustre must linger.
Q: Personally how do you hope to move forward with "Fashion"?
A: Fashion will re-invent my image. It will be real but also intrinsically glossy. Our producer Ram Mirchandani and UTV are in talks with top international models. Some portions of the film will be shot abroad. But most of the story will unfold in Delhi and Mumbai.