“Jail” has bright and bleak moments, says Madhur Bhandarkar

“When I went inside jails in Maharashtra, for research, I almost went into depression. For two days, I couldn’t come out of that state.” This is filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar recalling the shooting of his “Jail”. At Macau, he unveiled the first look of the film in the run-up to IIFA Awards. Coax Madhur into revealing the storyline, and he says: “The film is about a boy called Parag Dixit (Neil Nitin Mukesh) who works in a corporate office. He gets trapped in unfavourable circumstances and lands in jail. There, he meets people from various places, some innocent, some guilty. In the process of his own struggle to get out of prison, he learns about their lives and pain, and how the jail administration works.” Model-turned actor Mugdha Godse, who surprised audiences with her performance in Madhur’s “Fashion”, plays Parag’s love interest in the film.

Madhur has often been accused of making a docudrama of sorts in his penchant for exposing the truth. “‘Jail’ is not a documentary but a mirror to society. It talks about the difficult life of undertrials. It has nothing to do with the pressures of law or a comment on the system. It is not a dark film,” he states.

This two-time National Award winner adds that “Jail” has doses of humour too. “Among the several under-trials Parag meets, some are comical.” Though there are rumours that the film is partly based on Sanjay Dutt’s jail days, Madhur denies it: “It has nothing to do with Sanjay Dutt or Sanjay Nanda; it is a fictional story.” Of late, Madhur’s films seem to suffer from a kind of sameness. The audience can gauge the beginning, the middle and the end before the film ends. “And yet, they never leave the hall because they want to know reality,” he quips.