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'Traffic Signal' goes to management institute
By Subhash K. Jha, IANS
Madhur Bhandarkar's "Traffic Signal" has come and gone but its grassroots theme seems to have gripped the world of Indian academia. The Maharaja Ranjit College for MBA in Indore has selected the film as a case study on that strange but thriving underground industry known as beggary.
Bhandarkar was taken aback when he was informed about the selection.
"We had done almost a year of rigorous research on beggars and their business industry in Mumbai for 'Traffic Signal'. Not too many people know beggary is a Rs.1.8 billion industry in Mumbai," Bhandarkar told IANS.
Now, prompted by statistics and visuals presented by the director in "Traffic Signal", other cities like Delhi and Kolkata have decided to search out vital statistics on beggary operations and on how to control and streamline it better across Indian cities.
Bhandarkar is delighted by the turn of events.
"Everyone in our film industry is busy writing off 'Traffic Signal' as a flop. Why don't they check out the profit figures with our Maharashtra distributors Shringar Films? The film was made at Rs.40 million which is a very minor fraction of the investments into 'Salaam-e-Ishq' and 'Eklavya'.
"Please compare the profit sheets of my film with these so-called biggies. In fact, the statistics prove there're two bona-fide hits this year, 'Guru' and 'Traffic Signal'."
Coming back to the unique honour given to the film, Bhandarkar explains:
"From what I understand, the institute will study 'Traffic Signal' for information on the behaviour, activities and modus operandi of beggars."
Bhandarkar feels that his hard work has paid off.
"Believe me, it wasn't easy making 'Traffic Signal'. People scoffed that films on beggars and other poor sections of society don't work. If that were the case 'Mother India' and 'Lagaan' wouldn't have worked.
"I'm not comparing my film to these all-time greats. But when a film is done with sincerity and it reaches far beyond the goal of entertainment to become a source and reference point for academic discussion, then I think the industry should be generous enough to acknowledge the impact."