Starting his career in significance would be as the assistant director to the maverick director Ram Gopal Verma(maybe the next in line). He went on to direct a very lesser known film called Trishakti. But success was not to concede and very truly he went on to make his second film which deserves some applause and admiration, Chandni Bar.
Taking the reality of harsh and suburban lifestyle of that time frame, when people were making dramatic and flamboyant cinema, Madhur came up with a script which not only was real but also hard to digest. Creating an inspiration and hard hitting woman centric script in an age where women were only there to be kidnapped by the villains, was a real choice by a real director.
Arguably his best work was Chandni Bar because there were no expectations from him and he was just a new comer trying to make his mark.
He went on to direct two more films in the same league with great acting and a strong script with Satta and Aan, but Aan showcased his commercial inklings a bit too much for my taste.
Maybe the movie he is best known for is Page 3 which came out in 2005 and was critically and commercially successful. A script which can only be written by someone who is from that industry it showcased something that we all knew existed but were too shocked to see it on celluloid.
The pacing of that film was a bit off with some really unnecessary sequences thrown in to fill time. But overall a good film with very apt direction style and dialogues. For me the best delivery of that film was by the extremely talented and equally under rated Atul Kulkarni.
After the success of Page 3, Madhur seemed to have lost his thought process, trying to make movies which were in his theme but not from his heart. Corporate could have been his best film yet but horrible casting and a predictable and over the top story arc threw off the spectators and critics.
Fashion bought him success again but I felt it was the same story with a backdrop change. The story was again too puffed up and not very close to reality of things. Caricatures were more prominent than characters.
Jail, Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji and the very latest Heroine are all attempts by a director trying to achieve success and a "HIT" rather than trying to tell a story or even make a film( Dil Toh.....).
The one film which really struck a chord with me was Traffic Signal. A good film with good sequences and really a basic plot with simple characters. Believable cinema at it's best but with some filmy doses added along the groove. The most memorable sequence portrayed very beautifully was the climatic uprooting the signal where the entire premise of the film revolves around.
It showcased very beautifully the way people make a living in this city and how a family is growing on the streets, giving the city it's life. It aptly displays the helplessness and dependencies of people on the most inanimate objects which will not be even given a second glance at.
A movie which deserved much more but again lost out for some reason or other.
Madhur Bhandarkar is a very talented director with some wonderful skill for etching a script to touch the hearts of the audience. He has that grip on reality of things and should really stick to it without thinking much about success and failure. I say this for one simple reason, no one will forgive you for slipping us one more "Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji".
Let others scream and dance their way to piles of money, after all your stories are about them dancing and you making a film out of it.