by Subhash K Jha
Madhur Bhandarkar's impressive oeuvre of women-centric films has been highly applauded as a genre-breaking triumph. At a
time when women-centric films have become near-extinct Bhandarkar has triumphed with Chandni Bar, Page 3 and Satta.
With his latest film, however, Bhandarkar has done a genre and gender about-turn and made a comedy about
three guys in search of love and sex. Bhandarkar tells Subhash K Jha why.
You've hopped genres with Dil Toh Bachcha Ha Ji? At a time when female-centric films like No One Killed Jessica are
suddenly doing well why the change to male centric cinema?
I like to surprise everyone including myself. It's not easy when you move out of your comfort zone.
Firstly I was not making a
chick flick. This is a boys' film. People close to me know I've a good sense of humour. In fact all my actors Bipasha,
Konkona, Priyanka, Tabu...they all said, 'Madhur tu kitna hansata hai'.
So I thought, why not a comedy? But I
never thought it'd be so difficult. People say leave your brains behind in a comedy. I say, please bring your brain along for
I didn't want to do a slapstick. I wanted to go back to the comedies of Basu Chatterjee and
Hrishikesh Mukherjee. My aim for comedy was not Rohit Shetty's Gol Maal but Hrishida's Gol Maal. The three protagonists
in DTBHJ are eminently relatable.
The bonding between Ajay Devgn and Emran Hashmi is very real. They
recently did Once Upon A Time In Mumbai. And they connect. It was great fun directing them. We were constantly doing
Interstingly you've cast a superstar Ajay Devgn as a 39 year old nerdy divorcee?
Ajay had no qualms playin a 39-year old It took me just twenty minutes to convince Ajay. Emraan Hashmi thought I was
doing an expose. He said, 'Sir iss baar aap kisski game bajaa rahe hain?' Emran has never done an out-and-out romantic
Is it true that you were supposed to make a film on Jessica Lal?
Yes I was going to make a film on Jessica Lal. In fact I had told UTV's Ronnie Screwvala that I liked the idea of making a
film on the Jessica Lal case. I had registered the title Jessica after my film Satta.
If you remember in that film
Raveena Tandon's husband played by Sameer Dharamadhikari had shot a bar girl in the film. He shoots the girl when she
says 'Bar band hai'.
I saw No One Killed Jessica . Rajkumar Gupta has done a fine job. I had liked his Aamir
too. It's very well performed and shot. So the case rests there. Every day as a filmmaker you come up with a new idea.
What next for Madhur?
I am a great admirer of Raj Khosla and Vijay Anand. Can you believe the same director who made Guide also made Jewel
Thief. I'd like to be known for all genres.
I want to make an intense love story like Ek Duuje Ke Liye. I also want to make a
thriller like Teesri Manzil. But yes, hardhitting women-centric cinema is my forte.
You are a huge fan of Gulzar, aren't you?
Oh yes I'm hugely influenced by the cinema of Gulzar Saab. I consider it a big compliment when people refer to me a a new
I know each and every film and lyric that he has written by heart. In Dil To Bachcha Hai Jee even
the title is a tribute to Gulzar Saab. I acquired the rights of Gulzar Saab's song Koi hota jisko apna from Mere Apne and
used it in Dil Toh Bachcha Hai Ji.
It's one of my favourite songs written by Gulzar Saab. Aur kya composition
kiya hai Salil Chowdhary ne! It would be criminal to change the track in any way. I've used it in the original form. Who can
sing like Kishore-da today?