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Tabu was ‘demoralised’ to do Chandni Bar with Madhur Bhandarkar after knowing he made Trishakti. Here’s what changed her mind

Madhur Bhandarkar's National Award-winning film Chandni Bar released 21 years ago. The film was headlined by actors Tabu and Atul Kulkarni.

chandni bar tabuMadhur Bhandarkar and Tabu on the set of Chandni Bar. (Photo: Madhur Bhandarkar/Twitter)

Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar gave Hindi cinema one of its finest gems in Chandni Bar, which released 21 years ago, on September 28, 2001. In the film, Bhandarkar explored the lives of Mumbai’s bar dancers and the gritty life of the Mumbai underworld, including prostitution, dance bars and gun crime. The movie was headlined by Tabu, who was the ‘first and last’ choice of the filmmaker for his story’s protagonist Mumtaz. But getting through Tabu was not easy for Bhandarkar. It took him 45 days to get a chance to meet her and narrate the movie.

Chandni Bar’s producer R Mohan set up Bhadarkar’s meeting with Tabu, without telling her about the debacle of his first film, Trishakti. He told Bhandarkar, if he would tell her about the earlier film, she won’t meet him. In an earlier interview with Komal Nahata, Bhandarkar had shared, “When we sat in the car and were leaving to meet Tabu, I asked R Mohan have you told her (Tabu) about Trishakti. He said, ‘Nahi yaar agar main bataunga usko toh vo milegi nahi terko (If I will tell her, she won’t meet you). I have told her you are Ram Gopal Varma’s assistant.'”

R Mohan asked Bhandarkar to give a narration of Chandni Bar and not think about anything else. But Bhandarkar had to tell her that he is the one who made Trishakti when she asked him about his line of work. After knowing that he is the man behind Trishakti, she got “demoralised” and asked R Mohan what other films is he making. But just when Bhandarkar thought he has lost his chance of casting Tabu in his film, R Mohan intervened and requested Tabu to at least listen to the narration. Tabu obliged.

tabu chandni bar Tabu in Chandni Bar. (Express archive photo)

While listening to the narration, Tabu stopped it by interval and said, “Madhur, I am doing this film. It’s a fantastic script and I can imagine myself in this film.” Bhandarkar made the film and it went on to win four National Awards and several other film awards. While receiving one of her Best Actress award for the film, Tabu had said, “I am very proud of Mr R Mohan for having the courage and guts to produce an unconventional, heroine-oriented film like this without the support of any big hero and music.”

Bhandarkar had made Chandni Bar with just Rs 1.5 crore. He once jokingly told Kareena Kapoor Khan with who he made his film Heroine, “I had made Chandni Bar on a budget that was smaller than what I spent on your clothes in Heroine.”

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Last year, on the film’s 20th anniversary, Madhur Bhandarkar had expressed his wish of making Chandni Bar 2.0. He had told Bombay Times, “If I was making Chandni Bar today, I could have made a three-season web series with the material that I still have.”

First published on: 28-09-2022 at 01:15:47 pm
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