“A Woman Enwraps Various Facets Of Life In Her One Single Life"
Cinema is a craft of inspiration. And nothing inspires me more than the complexities of a woman’s psyche. I am often asked why I didn’t make Page 3 with a male journalist or Corporate with a male executive. To that I always answer that if I had done it otherwise, where would I find the various shades and depths of the character. A woman enwraps various facets of life in her one single life. I have been lucky to work with the finest female talents Indian cinema has ever witnessed. Today, through this article I shall chronicle my journey in the world of women-oriented cinema.
I always knew Tabu was talented. It is only when I worked with her that I experienced the sheer depth of this woman’s talent. It was amazing the way she could just switch on and switch off on the sets. For instance, after a heavy duty emotional scene she could easily break into laughter and just joke around. Her grasping power, her maturity to understand her character in Chandni Bar and her ability to transform from a young bar girl to a mother of two kids deserves applause.
When I was scouting for the character of Anuradha Chauhan for my film Satta, I knew that it required a woman who was full of confidence and had will power to stand up strong in the male dominated world of politics. I felt Raveena Tandon was just right for the role. It is her best work till date. She took the complex character of Anuradha to a different level altogether.
Konkona Sen Sharma
It is very difficult for an actress to be simple and give an effortless performance. But for Konkona it is a cakewalk. She is brilliance wrapped in simplicity. Whether it was the role she portrayed as Madhavi Sharma of Page 3 or the prostitute of Traffic Signal, Konkona is one artist who is very malleable to the script. She is a great human being too. I can never forget the time when she stood by me during the making of Fashion. I was desperately looking out for an actress to play herself in a cameo and it just took one call for Konkona to say yes to it. No wonder, she is said to be my lucky mascot.
While I was casting for Corporate I knew from the very beginning my Nishigandha Dasgupta had to be Bipasha Basu. My choice did raise eyebrows in the industry as she had a very glamorous image and people felt that somehow she wouldn’t suit the role. Nishigandha was supposed to be a powerhouse in the corporate world. And Bipasha proved me right with her stellar performance in Corporate.
I dared to cast Neetu in Traffic Signal just after her debut, Garam Masala. The film had her in a very chic and sensational role and here I was casting her as a Kathiawadi street dweller. I wasn’t sure of her acting prowess initially but she proved me wrong. Neetu’s sheer determination in transforming herself completely did surprise not only me but also the audience.
I am elated with Priyanka winning the National Award for Fashion. I knew I would work with her only when I had something exceptional. Priyanka was initially apprehensive when I narrated the role of Meghna Mathur. The complexity of the character and its grey shades did make her develop cold feet but I knew no one could be a better Meghna than Priyanka. She hesitantly agreed and the rest is history. Today she has proved that she is not only a beautiful heroine but a truly talented actress as well.
Shonali Gujral was no easy character to play for a young girl like Kangna. During the narration, she expressed reservations about the length of her role. But I assured her that her character would stand out. And within ten minutes into the narration she eagerly accepted the role. The film did well and Kangna was appreciated not only by the masses but also the critics. All the awards and now the National Award has been like the proverbial icing on the cake.
I discovered Mugdha at the Delhi Fashion Week. The girl had a very strong presence and then and there I knew that she was my Janet Sequiera for Fashion. She stood her ground despite the super talented actresses like Priyanka and Kangna. I cast her again in Jail and she did complete justice to the character of a girl going through an emotional turmoil with stoic grace.
Life is never complete without the presence of a woman, so is the case with Madhur Bhandarkar’s cinema that has repeatedly advocated woman power.