New Delhi: After his dark film Saat Khoon Maaf, Vishal Bhardwaj is turning to comedy to address the serious issue of land acquisition in his latest film Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola. Set in the rustic backdrop of a Haryana Village, the film stars Imran Khan, Anushka Sharma and Pankaj Kapur and hits theatres this Friday. "It is a comedy or rather a political satire. I am dealing with a serious issue but not in a serious way. It is about land acquisition," Bhardwaj told reporters.
When asked whether it had anything to do with Robert Vadra-DLF case, Bhardwaj said, "I wrote the story much before this news. My film deals with land acquisition issue generally. It talks about how farmers are being deprived of their land in the name of progress and malls and industrial plots are being built on that land." The film's unusual title has been a tongue-twister for many and there is a story about how the director came up with the name. "While I was doing the recce for the film in Haryana, I found the name 'Matru' and I liked it a lot and put it in my story. 'Bijlee' is again a very interesting name and I thought why not use it."
In Haryana, people use their village's name in their title. "I thought I will name the village as Mandola which is also the name of Pankajji's character but we later found out that a village of this name actually existed. I have been a huge fan of Amar, Akbar, Anthony so I decided to name my film Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola," he said.
Imran admitted he was very scared to be a part of the film but Bhardwaj took him as he was ready to work hard. "I joined films without knowing anything and learnt gradually. We were very scared but Imran was ready to work hard. The process was really interesting," the director said. When questioned about women's portrayal in movies and item songs, Bhardwaj said films should not be blamed for everything. "Films don't spoil people or bring revolution but somehow we attack them first so we face the ban on cigarette and alcohol portrayal. Films are a reflection of the society. Society is not a reflection of films. Sometimes women are portrayed in certain ways in the item songs but they do well. If people discard them, they will finish but people like such songs," he said.
Anushka, who plays the character of Bijlee, seemed to agree with her director. "When we show nice men in our films why don't people follow that. By blaming films for these things we are actually getting away from the real problem. In Vishal sir's films, women have been portrayed as strong beings."
Veteran Kapur, who was seen dancing in the film, said his role was fun but he was a bit concerned initially. The director-actor duo have worked together in films like Maqbool and Blue Umbrella and Pankaj said getting back was an enjoyable experience. "It is a real pleasure to work with Vishal because his style of working is different. He always comes up with interesting characters. I felt like I was a child who is being offered toffee."
Pankaj is seen dancing in the film, something he has done for the first time. "I am dancing in the film, something that I have not done in a long time. I was a bit concerned. It took some practice. I am doing stunts in the film... I remember Vishal came with a straight face at 3 in the night and told me that I had to take a dip in the pond. It was very cold at that time but yes working on the film made me feel younger than I am."
Anushka, who plays a loud-mouth, foreign educated village belle, said, "My character does not speak much Haryanvi because I have been educated in Oxford. I play Bijlee and she is true to her name. My character has Meena Kumari complex which is about people who love being sad. They love being tragic."