Eva Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Vivien Leigh... these are four of Hollywood's legendary beauties
whom director Madhur Bhandarkar will use as direct reference-points for Kareena Kapoor's character in Heroine.
And to make Kareena's job manageable and easily accessible Madhur has prepared a 3-hour documentary on the
quartet of Hollywood greats.
But where on earth are the female legends of the Indian cinema?
Nowhere! Woefully Madhur informs that he couldn't get ample or even scant visual material on the Hindi-Indian screen
classical beauties to put into the documentary that he has put together for Kareena's ready reference. (If only all our
directors were just as helpful we'd have more researched bio-pics).
Laments Madhur, "When I set out to put together a documentary chronicling the lives of the screen legends I was also
simultaneously enhancing my own knowledge of them to make Kareena's character of Mahi Khanna more rounded
complete and contemporary."
In fact Madhur has just returned from a trip to Singapore where he discovered loads of invaluable footage on Hollywood
Says Madhur excitedly, "For example take Vivien Leigh. Her stormy relationship with Sir Laurence Olivier is so eventful
dramatic passionate and romantic. Unfortunately there's no valid and substantial footage on Madhubala or Meena
Kumari revealing their relationship with Kishore Kumar and Kamal Amrohi, respectively."
Madhur is appalled to note the lack of visual or even written records on our screen legends. "When a director wants to
make a film about an Indian actor or about our movie industry where does he look for references? On the other hand
there's no dearth of material written and filmed, on Hollywood's icons."
For the want of a choice Madhur's 3-hour documentary portrays only Hollywood legends.
Says the director anxiously, "I do want Kareena to refer back to our great actresses like Madhubala, Nargis and Nutan
(I think Kareena has elements of Nutan's personality). But I can only brief her verbally on our screen legends. It's really
Sadder still is the fact that the contemporary actresses have hardly watched the films of the legends so they have no
ready references in their psyche either.
Kareena who's shooting with Shah Rukh for Ra.1 will be able to watch Madhur's 3-hour documentary only when she's
free in September-October.
Says Madhur, "She's shooting for Ra.1 and Gol Maal 3. Once she's done she will watch the documentary repeatedly.
I've chosen footage that represents Eva Gardner, Liz Taylor and others most tellingly. Her character Mahi Khanna is an
actress of today, not of yesteryears."
The shooting of Heroine has been pushed to December, so that Kareena would've time to study the 3-hour
Madhur rules out rehearsals and worskshops to prepare Kareena for her biggest challenge. The only director who
managed to get Kareena on the rehearsal route was Sudhir Mishra for her streetwalker's role in Chameli.
No one else would be able to extract the same concentrated energy from Kareena today. Not even Mishra.