Bollywood filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar who first shot to fame for directing the 2008 mega-hit film, Fashion, is coming back to the movie scene after a hiatus. The National Award-winning director has revealed that he has cast Prateik Babbar, Sai Tamhankar, Shweta Basu Prasad, Prakash Belawadi, Aahana Kumra, Zarin Shihab, and Ayeesha Aimen for his upcoming project, India Lockdown.

Madhur Bhandarkar is particularly known for his slice-of-life cinema has made films like Chandni Bar, Page 3 and Satta which have earned plaudits for their no-nonsense take on real life. The 2008 movie, Fashion, was directed and co-produced by Bhandarkar and stars actors Priyanka Chopra, Kangana Ranaut and Mugdha Godse in the lead roles.

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While the film elicited curiosity with its posters, the popularity it gained post-release was remarkable considering it was one of the first few films with an all-female cast. Fashion rocked the box office and was also a favourite of critics. Priyanka Chopra and Kangana Ranaut won Filmfare Awards for their roles in the movie and the actors went on to win Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress at the 56th National Film Awards.

However, since then, the director has been unable to match the success of his 2008 movie. His 2009 film, Jail, starring Neil Nitin Mukesh grabbed headlines for a partially nude scene on Mukesh’s part but opened to poor reviews. His much-talked-about film, Heroine starring Kareena Kapoor Khan was a dud though Kapoor Khan’s role was praised.

His next two ventures, the 2015 movie, Calendar Girls and the 2017 film, Indu Sarkar both garnered a lot of media buzz but failed to make a mark post their release. Indu Sarkar was particularly controversial as there were rumours that the film was derogatory to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Will India Lockdown end Bhandarkar’s string of bad luck at the movies? With an interesting premise and an even more interesting cast, it does appear so.

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