Early Life of Madhur Bhandarkar
Madhur Bhandarkar was born on August 26, 1968, to a Marathi speaking family. A school drop out and hailing for a middle-class family, Madhur had to take up various odd jobs, which included running a video library in Khar (West), a suburb in Mumbai, at the age of 16 and dropping cassettes door-to-door to people ranging from film stars to dance bar girls. This gave him access to a large collection of movies through which he studied the techniques of film making. He also sold chewing gums at traffic signals and worked as an assistant to small time directors. He later became an assistant to filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma, assisting him in the film ‘Rangeela’ and playing a cameo in the same.
Career of Madhur Bhandarkar
After assisting Ram Gopal Varma in ‘Rangeela’, Madhur Bhandarkar made his directorial debut with the film ‘Trishakti’ released in 1999, which took more than 3 years to complete. The film failed to perform at the box office. After two years he came up with the film ‘Chandni Bar’, released in 2001, starring Tabu and Atul Kulkarni, with a budget of 1.5 Crores Indian Rupees. The film received critical acclaim and success at the box office, taking Bhandarkar into the top league of filmmakers in the industry. The film was set in the background of the Mumbai underworld, incorporating issues like prostitution and gun crime. Madhur received the National Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues for ‘Chandni Bar’.
After ‘Chandni Bar’, Madhur directed another critically acclaimed film ‘Satta’ (2003) set in Indian politics, featuring Raveena Tandon in the lead role, and thereafter ‘Aan: Men at Work’, set in the background of Indian police fighting crime. His next film ‘Page 3’, featuring Konkona Sen Sharma depicted the Page 3 culture (tabloid culture of media) in cosmopolitan cities. The film received wide critical appraisal and received 3 National Film Awards, including the Golden Lotus Award for Best Feature Film. His next release ‘Corporate’, featuring Bipasha Basu, was again critically acclaimed and immensely successful at the box office, set in the corporate world of business, power and politics. It was followed by ‘Traffic Signal’ released in 2007, which garnered Bhandarkar National Award for Best Direction.
His next film ‘Fashion’ earned him numerous accolades. Set in the world of modelling, the film received immense critical appraisal and was also successful at the box office. It featured Priyanka Chopra in the lead role, whose performance was honoured with the National film Award for Best Actress. He next directed a prison drama film ‘Jail’ (2009), romantic comedy ‘Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji’ (2011), dramas ‘Heroine’ (2012) and ‘Calendar Girls’ (2015).
Directorial Approach of Madhur Bhandarkar
Madhur Bhandarkar depicts off beat and socially relevant themes in his films, with realistic content that is showcased in a hard-hitting manner. Most of his films see feminism forming the centre with female protagonists. The lead actresses in 7 such films included Tabu in ‘Chandni Bar’, Raveena Tandon in ‘Satta’, Konkona Sen Sharma in ‘Page 3’, Bipasha Basu in ‘Corporate’, Neetu Chandra in ‘Traffic Signal’, Priyanka Chopra in ‘Fashion’ and Kareena Kapoor Khan in ‘Heroine’. As he himself puts it, his movies mirror a reflection of the society and are not judgmental. He has also depicted homosexual characters in his films ‘Page 3’, ‘Traffic Signal’ and ‘Fashion’.
Awards and Honours received by Madhur Bhandarkar
Madhur Bhandarkar, for his films and the modus operandi have earned numerous accolades and his films have achieved global recognition, being featured in various International Film Festivals. He has been conferred with many film awards, the most prominent honours being:
Madhur was also conferred the PL Deshpande Award, also known as Zenith Asia Award, for significantly shaping the film making culture with his distinct works, recognised as ‘the Film Maker of the First Decade of the 21st Century’. His film ‘Chandni Bar’ was also screened at the awards ceremony, amongst landmark 25 films from world cinema. In November 2010, the National Film Archive of India (NFAI) announced to preserve all the films of Madhur Bhandarkar - ‘Chandni Bar’, ‘Page 3’, ‘Corporate’, ‘Traffic Signal’, ‘Fashion’ and ‘Jail’ preserved in Government's Archival data for Indian films.
Personal Life of Madhur Bhandarkar
Madhur Bhandarkar married girlfriend Renu Namboodiri Bhandarkar on December 15, 2003, in Mumbai and they have a daughter named Siddhi. He is an ardent devotee of the Hindu God Siddhivinayak and walks from his home in Khar to the temple every Tuesday. Madhur also visits Vaishno Devi Temple in Jammu & Kashmir and the Golden Temple in Amritsar, on a regular basis.
Filmography of Madhur Bhandarkar
Madhur Bhandarkar has written, directed and co-produced the following films.
Madhur Bhandarkar also produced and directed ‘Heroin - Zindagi Ke Panno Se’, a TV series that aired on Sony TV as a part of ‘Specials @ 10’ in 2009, featuring Neena Gupta and showcased a different story every episode. Each episode featured different women from different walks of life - a housewife, an actress and a mother, each one having same concept of how these women were the true "heroines" in life.