His movies are cutting-edge in style, sharp witted, echoing of the spirit of the hour, experimental bearing the indelible directorial stamp and in the oddest of all combinations garnering commercial success at the box office. So what is the mantra and how does the the ice catch fire every time?
The master craftsman has the answer, "I am an experimental filmmaker whose films do well commercially." A paradox it may seem is as apt as the adage that goes 'truth is stranger than fiction'. A closer look and what surfaces is unbelievably true. With movies made on a comparatively minimal budget save for the recent release Fashion and stories rooted in reality, miles away from fantasy, they are not the usual run-of-the-mill movies. But they are definitely not those serious in tone devoid of any entertainment. A curious concoction of seriousness and entertainment they are paradoxes in their own right setting the box office ablaze.
Madhur Bhandarkar turns his wand and what spills forth is nothing short of magic. Incidents we encounter but tend to overlook in our routine lives or the other side of reality that we have never seen are imaged forth. But then they are not magic. The star of the show is invariably the open-endings. Once he has woven the tale, it is left to the discretion of the spectators to make their own conclusion, with the insinuations dropped here and there. You can brand them, inspiring or bleak; its your perspective. Trace the clues and maybe you might hit the bull's eye! So also the artists are those who befit the roles be it Tabu or Bipasha Basu, Konkona Sen Sharma or Priyanka Chopra. Madhur Bhandarkar always has a spokesperson discreetly posited in all his movies. They may be your drivers, attenders, or any common man or woman.
If each movie has a chiselled theme, then needless to say the research that has gone behind it is exhaustive. A sharp eye for details, costumes or accent or setting; you name it, he has it in the movie. A Page 3 socialite, bar dancer, corporate executive, vendor, politician or the model is never out of place. They are truly your characters next door, pause and observe, you may even spot yourself amidst them. It is the completeness of each character that is amazing. In spite of a lead character, each one has an integrity of its own. The beads are there, so too the pendant but together they make the necklace. Not leaving behind contentious issues going by the latest trends and the gender equations, he has always presented strong women characters unwilling to be cowed down under any pressure. They may do item numbers, but have a nerve of their own
Paradox thus describes the man Madhur Bhandarkar who enjoys David Dhawan's movies but churns out reality bites and his movies which are experimental but set the cash counters ringing. The ice is set ablaze and that is his Fashion!
His name conjures a gamut of images, disconcerted though, but realistic to the very root of it. This is the common cord binding his movies spread over the years. A relatively short career spanning 9 years or so has seen the heyday of many movies which have religiously broken out of the conventional streamline to catapult the multifarious shades of life in the crudest form as it can be. Exposing shams and dismantling the facades, he has created a new idiom , a new language of cinema. So when the name Madhur Bhandarkar flashes across the screen what more can you ask for. Going against the tide and breaking the canons, he has time and again come up with a medley of movies, Chandni Bar, Satta, Page 3, Corporate, Traffic Signal and the latest talk of the town, Fashion.