Madhur Bhandarkar began his career by assisting Ram Gopal Varma. After five years, he broke free and directed his first film, 'Trishakti' (1999), which was a complete flop. The film starred Milind Gunaji, Sharad Kapoor and Arshad Warsi.
Madhur decided to get more serious about his career. While bar hopping, he got the idea for his much-acclaimed, 'Chandni Bar', which put him into the limelight. Although it was produced by R. Mohan and featured Tabu in the lead role, the film didn't fare very well, but made him a talent to reckon with.
A relatively short career spanning 9 years or so, he 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.
Madhur moved on to make 'Satta', a political drama, with Raveena Tandon in the lead. . Despite his alleged link-ups, Madhur married his long-time girlfriend, Renu Namboodiri (an interior designer), on December 15, 2003, in Mumbai. It was a low-key wedding for relatives and select friends.
Bhandarkar then switched tracks from women-oriented subjects when producer Firoz Nadiadwala signed him for 'Aan: Men At Work', featuring Akshay Kumar, Shatrughan Sinha and Suniel Shetty . This one was a typical and expensive Firoz film, a cop drama with heavy-duty action and lavish item numbers. In fact, Madhur and Firoz even had a fall-out of sorts during the film's making when the latter would not stop his creative interference. Madhur was even supposed to direct a film for Subhash Ghai's banner, but the project did not take off on account of disagreements between Bhandarkar and the showman .
Bhandarkar has made a classic film 'Page 3', starring Konkona Sen Sharma, Tara Sharma, Bikram Saluja and newcomer, Jai Kalra. He's become infamous for the allegations hurled at him by starlet Preeti Jain. The latter claims that the director promised him roles in exchange of sexual favours. If this isn't a typical Page 3 story, what is?
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.
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. So also the artists those who befit the roles, be it Tabu or Bipasha Basu, Konkona Sen Sharma or Priyanka Chopra.
If each movie has a uniquely real 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.They may be your drivers, attenders, or any common man or woman. In spite of a lead character, each one has an integrity of its own. 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.
Awards bestowed upon Madhur-
* National Film Awards
o 2002: Best Film on Other Social Issues: Chandni Bar
o 2005: Best Film: Page 3
o 2007: Best Direction: Traffic Signal
Contradiction that describes the bollywood director Madhur Bhandarkar is an understatement. Madhur enjoys David Dhawan's movies but churns out reality bites and his movies which are experimental have mostly set the cash counters ringing.