It's been a more than just a rocky year for National Award winning director Madhur Bhandarkar but things seem to be settling in for the filmmaker.
It all started earlier in the year with his film Heroine starring Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, which the two launched and promoted at the Cannes film festival with great aplomb. That Bhandarkar felt betrayed by Aishwarya's pregnancy, which was announced via Twitter by her father-in-law, Amitabh Bachchan, a little after the Cannes brouhaha, is the stuff Bollywood scripts are made of. But it does not look like he's going to be digging up that dark cloud in any future script of his.
That's all in the past now; Aishwarya is mommy to a beautiful little girl and Bhandarkar has a new heroine — pun unintended, Kareena Kapoor, for the film he is playing up as his best.
Despite the controversy surrounding his heated statements at the time, Bhandarkar powered on and the first thing he did was go back to the scripting table to enhance his writing skills.
But did Bhandarkar need that after having given trailblazers like Chandni Bar, Page 3 and Fashion and winning the National Award thrice over? According to him, yes. He is confident Heroine is his finest work yet.
Maybe the legendary Robert Mckee's writing workshop he attended in New York this year has something to do with it? "Maybe! I went for a four-day workshop to Robert Mckee's writing workshop in New York. I cannot tell you how much I learnt there! It was so intense and so creative! All of cinema's greats lean on him and I had no qualms in going back to learn some more from his classes. And the best thing was I did not tell anyone who I was and behaved like any other student and it was such fun. Till he found out from someone that I was an established name in the film business in India. He googled me thereafter and praised my work when he met me subsequently. He is simply the best and I am so grateful to him for teaching the art of storytelling all over the world. In fact there is a Mckee workshop next year in Hyderabad too," said Bhandarkar of his enriching experience.
For now, it's back to the sets where he’s filming Heroine in Mumbai with Kareena, but somewhere he knows he's got it going. Is he thinking international awards this time round? Of course!
McKee, a Fulbright Scholar, has been mentoring and educating raw talent and some of the world's finest talents: screenwriters, novelists, playwrights, poets, documentary makers, producers and directors, internationally. Story, his award-winning book is hailed as the Bible for Screenwriting and has been translated in over 20 languages. His students go on to win the coveted Oscar, Emmy and the Pultizer prizes, no less.