After a fashionable tryst with films, Madhur Bhandarkar is back with Jail that’s set for release soon. Harshikaa Udasi on why the filmmaker doesn’t like being trapped in an image.

He may be accused of glamorising situations sometimes, but Madhur Bhandarkar’s stories are compelling nonetheless. Now the filmmaker is ready with his next, Jail, releasing on November 6. And, mind you, there is no glamour here. “I like to make contrasting movies. After I made Traffic Signal, I went on to do Fashion which was very glam. So now I wanted to pick up an absolute antithesis,” says Madhur of his choice of subject, in between last-minute post-production runs and publicity events.

Jail narrates the story of a regular working class citizen Parag Dixit (Neil Nitin Mukesh) who finds himself caught on the wrong side of the law and has to experience life in the confines of a jail. “We usually talk only about goons and hardcore criminals who err and land up in jail. But recently we’ve been reading about how regular guys mark time behind bars for offences like drunken driving and similar things. I wanted to make a film on what happens to the person who has never ever imagined that he will be inside a jail,” he says.

Asked if the story has taken off from the real life story of a Pune IT guy who was wrongly jailed for alleged cyber defaming of historical figure Shivaji two years ago and Madhur explains the idea for a story on Indian jails was with him even before Page 3. “I wanted to explore what happens behind bars — the interaction, the bonding and the dark side of the law. But the film never got made then. When I retrieved it now, my team did a lot of research and I have given the script a totally new feel,” he adds.

So should we expect another shocking exposé of the system that everybody speaks about in hushed tones? “As in all my movies, there is a mix of fact and fiction. It’s middle-of-the-road cinema that I indulge in. There will be a lot of legalese and very rudimentary jail jargon,” he says. What about the infamous almost nude shot of Neil? Is he readying to take on sodomy among inmates as the Onir-directed film Tere Bin did? “I can’t reveal that much, but let me say the exposé and shock values will be there,” he says. Madhur is very happy with his choice of actors though model Mugdha Godse, who plays the protagonist’s airhostess girlfriend, has only Fashion and the recent All The Best to her name and the talented Neil is just three films old. “I could have cast a big star but I didn’t want the hero to be larger than life. He had to look like a regular guy in jail. Even for Mugdha’s role, I needed a fresh face to complement the protagonist,” he adds.

Madhur adds that Manoj Bajpai’s role as a fellow convict Nawab Ali is one to watch out for. “He plays friend and mentor to Neil in jail. I have given him very few lines and he has to emote mainly with his face and eyes. I think it will be a big comeback for Manoj.”

And for those wondering if the movie on the film awards and another on the life of IPL chairman Lalit Modi are on the anvil, there’s news. While Madhur says talks are on for the Modi film, what he actually wants to make is a romantic musical! “I am forever looking for new challenges. I want to step out of my genre and make something shockingly different again,” says the restless filmmaker.

Reality Bytes

Madhur’s penchant for weaving real-life incidents into his films is well known.

Fashion Even before the film released, Kangna Ranaut’s role as that of model Carol Gracias who was subject to the wardrobe malfunction at the Lakme Fashion Week was much hyped. It formed a small but crucial part of the film.

Page 3 Page 3 media politics, celebs and their attention-grabbing, wife-swapping, homosexual and paedophile acts were openly talked about in the film.

Corporate Cola wars were the premise of this film that was hard hitting but lost out on a large audience, thanks to the corporate jargon used.

Jail While there was talk initially about the film being based on Pune techie Lakshmana Kailash K for being wrongly jailed by the Pune cyber cell, now it appears to be inspired by Mumbai collegian Alistair Pereira’s hit-and-run drunk driving case.