- Madhur Bhandarkar reflected on making Chandni Bar on a budget of ₹1.5 crore, and how he once joked to Kareena Kapoor that her clothes in Heroine cost more.
PUBLISHED ON SEP 28, 2021 12:23 PM IST
Director Madhur Bhandarkar on Tuesday reminisced about his breakout film Chandni Bar, which completed two decades of release. He spoke about how he wrote the film with Tabu in mind and the scrappy budget that prompted him to joke that Kareena Kapoor’s clothes in Heroine cost more.
Asked if the film was a gamble, Madhur Bhandarkar said in an interview that everything from the title to the failure of his first film became a topic of discussion.
He told a leading daily, “It was very risky. People even had a problem with the title of the film. Many thought it was very cheap, and a B-grade title. I researched the film for about six months.”
He continued, “When I approached producers for it, they wanted me to put some item numbers in the film, which I didn’t want to. My first film did not work, so there was a lot of pressure on me, but I was hell-bent on making the film the way I wanted to. I made the movie on a very small budget. So much so, that I once jokingly told Kareena that I had made Chandni Bar on a budget that was smaller than what I spent on her clothes in Heroine (laughs).”
Chandni Bar, about a bar dancer in Mumbai, won four National Film Awards, and established Madhur Bhandarkar, as he put it, as ‘a topical, realistic, hard-hitting’ filmmaker.
Asked about Tabu’s casting, he told Hindustan Times in an interview, “She loved the script. I wrote the story keeping her in my mind. She was my first and last choice. I would’ve been very disappointed if she turned down the film. She was doing commercial films at that point. To play a mother to two children wasn’t easy.”
Also read: Tabu was my first and last choice: Madhur Bhandarkar looks back at Chandni Bar
He subsequently directed films such as Page 3, Fashion, Corporate, Heroine and Calendar Girls, all of which explore the underbelly of the subcultures they’re set in.