Madhur Bhandarkar’s ambitious new film project Heroine got massively derailed last year when dhokebaaz dagabaaz Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who had been signed to play the lead, decided to put Baby before Box Office. After much tribulation, in which all five stages of grief were elaborately discussed in gossip media and India TV, the poor man shelved his dream project and dropped out of public eye.
Days later, he emerged to kick start Heroine again, this time with a new leading lady. What made him do that? Well, it was a phone call he received.
(The transcript below has been reproduced verbatim. To preserve the authenticity of the exchange, no grammatical corrections have been made to the text. Editor)
Madhur Bhandarkar : Hello?
Rakhi Sawant : Hello, Madhur Sir! This is the Rakhi Sawant on one side.
Madhur : One side? What side?
Rakhi : Means, on this side of phone.
Madhur : Oh, hello, Rakhiji! How are you?
Rakhi : I am fine, Sir, thanks God. You have become Moon of the Idd Festival. How you are, Sir? I heard news of bad thing happen to you on India TV?
Madhur : Yes, very bad, Rakhiji. As you know Aishwaryaji has decided to have one baby.
Rakhi : Yes, scared news, Sir.
Madhur : I know. Why she do that? I don’t understand any reason. I am very sad person.
Rakhi : I think she has took too much risk, Sir.
Madhur : Risk?
Rakhi : Yes, what if she has baby girl that looks like Abhishekji? Or baby boy that looks like Jayaji? It is very big risk. People will be funning about it.
Madhur : Oh, no, no, that’s not what I am sad person about! I am sad person because she has left my film.
Rakhi : Oh yes, Sir. That is bad news to make sad person.
Madhur : So many publicities we did with Aishwaryaji for Heroine! We went to Kannis Film Festival, we did photo shoots, press briefing for Heroine. And then Heroine is going and having baby! What the fun?
Rakhi : It is not done, Sir! Heroine cannot have baby! Sexy is toss, figure is toss, fans is toss. Position in industry is toss. Everything is only total toss with baby. What does heroine think? She is hero?
Madhur : I don’t know what to do. I am a sad person.
Rakhi : Cheerios, Sir. There are many heroines that is not having baby. Do choosing of one.
Madhur : Yes, I know. I should stop being sad person and look for new heroine. Now Sadding For What When Bird Has Eaten Farm?
Rakhi : Yeah. By the way, what is story of your Heroine?
Madhur : It’s very hard hitting story. Like all my other films. I will show reality of film industry.
Rakhi : Oh, you mean like 50-year old hero doing sexy romancing with 20-year old heroine, or bad comedy films that can causing brain cancer in normal people? Music and story stealing? That type of reality?
Madhur : No, no, it will be serious issues of common people.
Rakhi : Means like real day to day issue poor people are facing like corruption, unemployment and pollution?
Madhur : No, no, it will be serious issues of poor people entering film industry!
Rakhi : Like couch casting? Small girl exploitation?
Madhur : Yes, yes! And much more!
Rakhi : I see. Then it is a good happening for you that Aishwaryaji is becoming pregnant! How she can acting realistic portrayal? She is not suffer! She is Miss World from Day One! For her, suffer is like Black Letter Buffalo Equal.
Madhur : Hmm…
Rakhi : Only those who did suffer will show suffer correct, no? Realistic portrayal is must in hard hitting story!
Madhur : Yeah…
Rakhi : And who is hero?
Madhur : Arjun Rampal.
Rakhi : He’s the stud! I wish I did swayamvar with him!
Madhur : I actually wanted one Khan but then they would have told my movie to be called Hero, not Heroine!
Rakhi : Hahah, yes. But Arjun Rampal is very stud hero.
Madhur : Yes, I agree.
Rakhi : But he is not do any portrayal – realistic or unrealistic. Acting is like same to same in every film, doesn’t matter rich man, poor man, politician, film star, police inspector. Ranging is very little. Same dialogue speaking. Same expression. Same dancing.
Madhur : But in front of him, Aishwaryaji would have shined like Shabanaji!
Rakhi : Yes, that is right! And, how is music?
Madhur : Very good music! I have many item songs.
Rakhi : Even in realistic film?
Madhur : Yes, these days item songs are part of everyday life. It is showing realistic portrayal of life of common man.
Rakhi : But coming back to main question – who can be replacing Aishwaryaji?
Madhur : Oh yes. I am a sad person till I am find new Heroine!
Rakhi : You must looking for heroine to play small town girl with big dream of becoming Heroine, right?
Madhur : Yes!
Rakhi : Someone with lot of personality and sparkings? But in the beginning of humble background? Powerful talkings?
Madhur : Yes, yes!
Rakhi : And someone who everyone talks about all the times? With many crores fans?
Madhur : Yes, yes, yes!
Rakhi : Good figure for item numbers?
Madhur : Yes, absolutely!
Rakhi : White in colour complexion, light eyes? Lips like Angelina Jolly? Even though she is poor girl from village in her history?
Madhur : Totally!
Rakhi : Someone who is a star, not just star, someone who is Super Star! Every Child Child In Country Name Knows.
Madhur : Yes, yes, yes!!
Rakhi : So you have thought it is who now?
Madhur : Yes, Rakhiji! You are the best – you have made it clear to me by opening my eyes! Thanks lot for making me think of best choice! I don’t need Aishwaryaji – I will Answer Brick With Stone! I will just tell UTV and everyone of my new Heroine!
Rakhi : Thanks, Madhurji! I am nothing. You are the well of talent. I have not even one mug of it.
Madhur : No, you are very great also!
Rakhi : Oh, thanks! We will do more talkings later then.
Madhur : Yes, we will be doing later.
Rakhi : Ta Ta!
Madhur : Ta Ta, bye bye!
And as Rakhi Sawant disconnected the phone to make a quick anonymous call to India TV to announce her selection as Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s replacement for Heroine, Madhur Bhandarkar was placing a call to Kareena Kapoor instead.
One unfortunate misunderstanding that real film enthusiasts are bound to rue till the end of time. And a thought that will linger in their minds when they walk out of the theatres starting September 21st after watching Kareena Kapoor as Heroine. If only…