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Bollywood Is Polarized, Fractured From Inside And I Am Upset With Everyone In It: Madhur Bhandarkar

Bhandarkar says his USP is that all his films are content driven and made with the limited budget. In an exclusive interview with BW Businessworld, he bares it all about badass Bollywood, Indu Sarkar and his allies with the BJP

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Film maker Madhur Bhandarkar who is known to make the reality check films for Bollywood is in the headlines again. Although all the controversies surrounding his film Indu Sarkar have now subsided and the film is set to release tomorrow. He is still anxious, excited for the film and unhappy with Bollywood. Bhandarkar a veteran in Bollywood says he is really upset with the entire industry as no one came to his support for Indu Sarkar. He strongly believes Bollywood as an industry is changing for good in business but is totally polarized and fractured from inside. Bhandarkar says his USP is that all his films are content driven and made with the limited budget. In an exclusive interview with BW Businessworld, he bares it all about badass Bollywood, Indu Sarkar and his allies with the BJP.

Edited excerpts:

Your last film Heroine didn’t do too well at the box office, yet again Indu Sarkar is a controversy queen, what drives you for such business risks?

I make films which are content driven, I have always been a critic director. The best thing about my films is that they are made on a limited budget, which is actually my strong point.
 I would say that Heroine did pretty well at the BO. It did a business of Rs 43 crore, and that was a budgeted film as well. It had a great opening of 23 crore and a half in the first three days. It all depends on the subject that you pick up. Critically Fashion was a more acclaimed film but box office wise Heroine fared much better.  For me, Heroine was a profitable venture. Indu Sarkar is a limited budget and a content driven film. I have opened up pages of the dark emergency period in India. A lot of people have been shying away from this topic. I feel the youth of our country needs to know, what happened. My film depicts what exactly happened during the emergency era.

You have been perceived to be really close to BJP, does that influence your film making in some way?
I may have my political inclinations but that does not mean it would in any way reflect on my film making. It is all a false propaganda, the perception has been created because I openly supported Mr Modi. The only reason I support him is that I believe in his vision. With a political party you may not like the ideology of the party as a whole but as an individual, you may like a person and that what I did with my open support to Modi.  

Is Bollywood as an industry polarized?
Of course, Bollywood is a polarized industry. We are absolutely not a big happy family. And I have a firsthand experience of this, with the controversy of Indu Sarkar. When I was in distress no one from Bollywood came up with any kind of support. I on the other hand openly supported Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and Udta Punjab. Veterans from Bollywood industry take stands for selective people. I have seen producers and directors fighting for their first-day release. I am upset with the entire industry. Bollywood is a fractured from inside.

What is your take on the nepotism debate. The IIFA this year sparked a lot of controversy around it?
Nepotism exists in every industry. The percentage could be less and more, but I would say it exists in every industry hence Bollywood too.

With the big production banners entering India like FOX, Disney, do you think it is disrupting the markets for Indian players?
No, I don’t think so. There are a lot of collaborations happening between Hollywood and Bollywood which is a good sign. The more the merrier. I feel it is really good as long as the investments are coming to India and people are making films the holly-bolly mix is a great idea. It generates more revenue and gives us more business.

What is your current stance on the business of Bollywood, where is it heading?

Showbiz has always been a heart investment and big money. But the problem is that the big starts, and kind of money they ask definitely takes a toll on film making. But it is changing now, a lot of starts are asking for less amount and want some share in the profit. I think it is a good sign. A lot of the A list stars are now themselves producing films, hence they understand the markets and gravity of film making. The business of Bollywood is good and well understood by industry insiders at the moment.

What are the newer forms of business models that can be explored in Bollywood?
Multiplexes are mushrooming all over the country. For the young film makers who are making films definitely there is a lot of revenue to it. They can now make films in a budget. They have wider options of topics to explore. A lot of film makers today are experimenting but the budget has to be controlled. SO controlled budget with experimenting on different topics is something new film makers can explore today.

Are short films the next big thing in Bollywood?
Oh yes, definitely short films are the future of Bollywood. A lot of A list stars are now acting in short films. In Hollywood, a lot of big names have associated themselves with OTT players like Netflix and Amazon. Everything today is digital, audience consumes a lot of data on Netflix and Amazon.

Some film makers explore subject stories, which do not need to have to be  2-2:30 hours. I ventured into the short films domain with my short film”……” for the BRICS summit as well. And it was very well received in China. So I would say Short films are the next big thing in Bollywood.

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Madhur Bhandarkar interviews Indu Sarkar