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Madhur Bhandarkar

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Madhur Bhandarkar
Bhandarkar in 2013
Born (1968-08-26) 26 August 1968 (age 55)
Occupation(s)Writer and film maker
Years active1995–present
Renu Namboodiri
(m. 2003)
HonoursPadma Shri (2016)

Madhur Bhandarkar (born 26 August 1968) is an Indian film director, script writer, and producer. In 2016, Bhandarkar was honoured with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour, by the Government of India.[1]

He is known for directing the critically acclaimed crime drama Chandni Bar (2001), won him the National Film Award for Best Film on Social Issues, the dramas Page 3 (2005), Traffic Signal (2007), and Fashion (2008), winning the National Film Award for Best Feature Film for the first, and the National Film Award for Best Direction for the second, whilst earning Filmfare Award nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay for the lattermost.

Bhandarkar also co – produced a Bengali film Avijatrik (2021) based on the novel Aparajito by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Bengali.[2] He has also been nominated as society member of the Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.[3]



Bhandarkar worked in a video cassette library in Khar, a suburb of Mumbai. This gave him access to a large collection of movies and he studied film – making through it.

After trying his skills with small – time filmmakers as an assistant, Bhandarkar landed up as an assistant to Ram Gopal Varma. He even played his first cameo in Varma's romantic comedy Rangeela (1995), where he was the associate director to Varma.

A couple of years later he made his directorial debut with Trishakti (1999) which took more than three years to make. The film had a relatively low key cast and was largely ignored at the box office.

In 2001, he directed the crime drama Chandni Bar starring Tabu and Atul Kulkarni in lead roles. The film depicted the gritty life of the Mumbai underworld, including prostitution, dance bars and gun crime. It received high critical acclaim upon release, and emerged as a commercial success, elevating Bhandarkar into the top league of filmmakers of Bollywood. The film earned him the National Film Award for Best Film on Social Issues.

In 2005, Bhandarkar directed the drama Page 3 starring Konkona Sen Sharma, which revolved around the Page 3 culture and media in the city of Mumbai. Upon release, the film received high critical acclaim and emerged as a commercial success at the box office. It also earned Bhandarkar the National Film Award for Best Feature Film and the Filmfare Award for Best Screenplay, in addition to his first nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Director.

After helming the corporate drama Corporate (2006) starring Bipasha Basu and Kay Kay Menon, he directed the social drama Traffic Signal (2007) starring Kunal Khemu and Konkona Sen Sharma. The film depicted the lives and travails of people living around a fictitious traffic signal in Mumbai. Upon release, it received high critical acclaim, but emerged as a middling commercial success at the box office. It earned Bhandarkar the National Film Award for Best Direction.

Bhandarkar's next directorial venture, the drama Fashion (2008) starring Priyanka Chopra, Kangana Ranaut and Mugdha Godse in lead roles, emerged as his biggest commercial success to date. The film, which explored feminism and female power in the world of Indian fashion, received widespread critical acclaim upon release. Fashion has widely been regarded as one of the best women-centric films in Bollywood.[4][5]

He next directed the prison drama Jail (2009), starring Neil Nitin Mukesh and Mugdha Godse, which depicted the lives of wrongful convicts in Indian jails. The film received mixed reviews from critics and emerged as a below average commercial success at the box office.

His next directorial venture, the drama film Heroine (2012), was based on the glamorous world of the Hindi film industry (Bollywood). Initially set to star Aishwarya Rai in the lead role, the film starred Kareena Kapoor as a once – successful film actress whose career is on the decline. Upon release, the film received mixed – to – positive reviews, with Kapoor's performance and Bhandarkar's direction receiving high praise; it also emerged as a commercial success at the box office.

Madhur was conferred PL Deshpande Award a.k.a. Zenith Asia Award for significantly shaping the film making culture in his unique works and he has been described as 'the Film Maker of the First Decade of the 21st Century'. On the Silver Jubilee Year of Aashay Film Club, award ceremony took place on 16 Nov at National Film Archive Theatre during the eighth Pulotsav – An Art Festival in Pune. PL Deshpande was a renowned writer, stage and film actor and his literary works are still revered in Maharashtra and others parts of the world. In his honour, Zenith Asia Award was given to Madhur Bhandarkar and his film Chandni Bar was also screened during the fest amongst landmark 25 films from world cinema.

In Nov, 2010 National Film Archive of India (NFAI) announced to preserve all the films of Madhur Bhandarkar. Chandni Bar, Page – 3, Corporate, Traffic Signal, Fashion and Jail found space in Government's Archival data for Indian films.

Personal life


Bhandarkar hails from a Marathi and Konkani[6] speaking Gaud Saraswat Brahmin family. He is a school drop – out. He came from a middle – class family. As a result, Madhur had to take up various jobs. He worked at a video store as an errand boy and dropped off cassettes to people from many walks of life including dance bar girls and film stars. He also sold chewing gum at traffic signals and worked as an assistant to small – time directors for a salary of 1000.[7]

He is a great devotee of the Hindu God Siddhivinayak and has been walking from his house in Khar, Mumbai to the temple for the past 18 years on every Tuesday. Madhur also regularly visits Vaishno Devi temple in Jammu & Kashmir and the Golden Temple in Amritsar. According to him, the film Corporate (2006) was his most difficult film as people in corporate world would shun him after he bared Page 3 culture in his earlier film. He took inspiration for Corporate from the Coke – Pepsi controversy. He has been invited to deliver lectures on corporate issues to management students after the release of Corporate. (Interview to TV channel IBN Lokmat on 26 November 2008) Bhandarkar married his girlfriend Renu Namboodiri on 15 December 2003 in Mumbai.[8] They have a daughter named Siddhi.

Directorial style


In most of his films, Bhandarkar's protagonist are females. (Tabu in Chandni Bar, Raveena Tandon in Satta, Konkona Sen Sharma in Page 3, Bipasha Basu in Corporate, Neetu Chandra in Traffic Signal, Priyanka Chopra in Fashion and Kareena Kapoor in Heroine.) The exception here being Neil Nitin Mukesh, who was cast as the protagonist in Jail. He has also depicted various gay characters in his films like Page 3, Traffic Signal and Fashion.

In an interview, he said: "My movies are not exposes, maybe they just hold up a mirror to society. My movies are not judgmental; I just show what happens in our society, sometimes there could be a solution and sometimes there may be none. Life goes on.".[9] Madhur is known for his hard – hitting and realistic films.[10][11]



As director, writer and producer

Year Film Notes Ref.
1999 Trishakti [12][13]
2001 Chandni Bar National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues [13]
2003 Satta
2004 Aan: Men at Work
2005 Page 3 National Film Award for Best Feature Film
Nominated – Filmfare Award for Best Director
2006 Corporate
2007 Traffic Signal National Film Award for Best Director
2008 Fashion Nominated – Filmfare Award for Best Director
Nominated – Filmfare Award for Best Screenplay
Nominated – Screen Award for Best Story
Nominated – IIFA Award for Best Director
Nominated – IIFA Award for Best Story
Nominated – Stardust Award for Best Film
Nominated – Stardust Award for Best Director
2009 Jail
2011 Dil Toh Baccha Hai Ji
2012 Heroine
2015 Calendar Girls
2017 Indu Sarkar Oslo Film Festival Award for Best Director
2021 Avijatrik Bengali film
2022 India Lockdown Released on ZEE5
Babli Bouncer Released on Disney+ Hotstar
2023 Circuitt As producer, Marathi film

As actor

Year Film
1995 Rangeela


Serial Channel
Specials @ 10 Sony TV





International awards

  • Chandni Bar, Best Film at Zimbabwe International Film Festival 2003 and Technical Award for Best Background Music Score at Moscow International Film Festival 2003.
  • Page 3, Official Selection at the Raindance Film Festival, London 2006 and IFFLA Los Angeles 2006. Corporate, Official Selection at the Berlin Asia – Pacific Film Festival 2006.
  • Fashion, Official Selection at the 31st Moscow International Film Festival 2009, Festival de Festivals, St.Petersburg 2009 and Norway Bollywood Festival 2009.
  • Retrospective of Page 3, Traffic Signal and Fashion with Russian Sub – Titles held by the Ministry of Culture, Russia and SOVEXPORTFILM in Moscow 2009.
  • Retrospective of Chandni Bar, Page 3, Corporate, Traffic Signal, Fashion and Jail at the 33rd Cairo International Film Festival 2009.
  • In 2009 he was awarded the Best Director for his Outstanding Contribution to Indian Cinema by the Ministry of Culture, Russia.
  • A retrospective of five films made by the filmmaker were showcased at the 33rd Cairo International Film Festival in Egypt from 10–20 November 2009. The films included Chandni Bar, Page3, Corporate, Traffic Signal and Fashion. Bhandarkar was present for the International event.

Other awards

  • Bhandarkar received the Society Leading Lights Leadership Award in March 2017.[18]
  • Mayor of Mumbai – Excellency Award (2006)
  • Kalaranjani Awards – (2005)
  • Kalakar Awards for Best Director (2007) for Corporate[19]
  • Pride of Nation Award
  • Kesari Gaurav Sanman
  • Lions Gold Award (2005–06) (2008–09)
  • IMPPA Awards
  • Asian Film Foundation Award (2008)
  • Farsa Award (2009)
  • Jury Special Salute – Mirchi Music Awards (2016)[20]


  1. ^ a b "Rajinikanth gets Padma Vibhushan; Padma Shri for Priyanka Chopra, Ajay Devgn". The Indian Express. 25 January 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  2. ^ "Madhur Bhandarkar On Bengali Film 'Avijatrik' Winning National Film Awards: A Definite Boost For The Team". Outlook India. 1 October 2022. Retrieved 8 April 2023.
  3. ^ "Madhur Bhandarkar to join society of Satyajit Ray's institute". The Indian Express. 9 January 2017.
  4. ^ "Top 10 path breaking women oriented films of Bollywood - Top Lists - Entertainment - The Times of India". 14 April 2013. Archived from the original on 14 April 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  5. ^ "International Women's Day: Films that immortalised womanhood in the recent past". 7 May 2013. Archived from the original on 7 May 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2023.
  6. ^ "मधुर भांडारकर : परिस्थितीचे चटके खात मोठा झालेला, आता स्वतःशीच झगडत असलेला गुणी दिग्दर्शक!".
  7. ^ "I've no friends in Bollywood: Madhur". The Times of India. 27 September 2009. Archived from the original on 3 January 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  8. ^ "Madhur Bhandarkar's wife Renu Namboodiri hates dark films : EYECATCHERS". India Today. 29 December 2003. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
  9. ^ "My films just hold up a mirror to society' - Madhur Bhandarkar". Business Of Cinema. 25 January 2007.
  10. ^ "Madhur: Hard-hitting movie again! - Bollywood.com News".
  11. ^ "6 unforgettable hard-hitting films of Madhur Bhandarkar".
  12. ^ Chaubey, Pranita (8 January 2022). "Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar Tests Positive For COVID-19". NDTV. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  13. ^ a b "Madhur Bhandarkar". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 22 September 2022. Retrieved 3 December 2022.
  14. ^ "'Lage Raho Munnabhai' best popular film". Archived from the original on 5 October 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2022.
  15. ^ "Madhur Bhandarkar honoured with Sophia Award in New York". news.biharprabha.com. Indo-Asian News Service. 12 October 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  16. ^ "Bhandarkar honoured at the House of Commons". Hindustan Times. 8 November 2014. Archived from the original on 16 February 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  17. ^ "Madhur Bhandarkar to receive Raj Kapoor Smriti Awards". The Indian Express. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  18. ^ "Star-studded Society Leadership Awards 2017". BizAsia. 27 March 2017.
  19. ^ "About The Kalakar Awards - Kalakarawards" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 April 2012.
  20. ^ "Madhur Bhandarkar at Mirchi Music Award Jury Bollywood Helpline". bollywoodhelpline.com. Retrieved 11 March 2016.