GHANCHAKKAR: Vidya Balan Takes On The Crowds…Again


MUMBAI: Vidya Balan has constantly done guerrilla-styled film-making whereby the actor is thrown unannounced into the middle of crowds and …well, left to her own devices, as the hidden movie camera captured her in a natural crowd. She did this in Delhi for Rajkumar Gupta’s ‘No One Killed Jessica’ and in Kolkata for Sujoy Ghosh’s ‘Kahaani’.

Now it’s for Rajkumar Gupta’s ‘Ghanchakkar’.

Rajkumar Gupta reveals Vidya Balan shot through the night for a whole month at a time when she needed to look her best.

Says the appreciative filmmaker, “She shot in the most crowded places of Mumbai with Emraan. We shot every night for a week, on moving local trains in Mumbai with real passengers. It was a  nightmare. But a manageable nightmare. We had to slip into crowded trains with a skeletal crew and the camera and shoot Vidya and Emraan mingling with actual commuters.”

Vidya and Emraan had to rush in and out of trains before the co-passengers got too comfortable with their presence.

Shuddered Rajkumar, “We were commuting up and down on the long train routes, just shooting, slipping out before Vidya and Emraan could be accosted, getting into the train back on the same route.”

The worst commutting calamity that befell the ‘Ghanchakkar’ crew was the cellphone camera.

Says the director, “There were so many people on the stations and in the compartments. Many of them must have taken pictures. And now those pictures have been leaked on the internet. It’s very upsetting. But what can one do? If as a filmmaker I am going to shoot on crowded locations I have to be prepared for such eventualities. All this was tremendously stressful for Vidya. But she took it sportingly.”

Interestingly Rajkumar Gupta has shot Vidya in crowded places earlier too in ‘No One killed Jessica’. “The theme of being isolated in milling crowds runs through my three films so far. Unfortunately Vidya has been in the centre of these crowds in two of my films.”

Though marriage was on her mind Vidya never allowed the crowds to get to her. Strangers on stations, trains, roads and at public places in ‘Ghanchakkar’ was shot kept asking about her wedding plans.

Vidya, we are told, smiled through it.