While his latest release, ‘Haider’, is stirring the people in theatres, Vishal Bhardwaj is hopefully expecting the film to do well. His past alliance with the lead actor Shahid Kapoor fetched him a huge blockbuster, ‘Kaminey, and naturally, the same is expected this time. The film has got rave reviews, a great opening and the critics and viewers are all praises.
But not many know about the personal life and struggles of this excellent director. Bhardwaj comes from a middle class family and inherits his artistic gifts from his father who apart from being a government official was also a poet. He belongs to Meerut, Uttar Pradesh but he shifted to Delhi in his youth. He is a graduate from Hindu College, Delhi University.
Some of his films have been big hits while some have been equally big fiascos. A few hits are Kaminey, Ishqia, Omkara, and Makdee. On the other hand, movies like 7 Khoon Maaf, Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola are hard to believe to have been made by him.
Vishal Bhardwaj actually worked as a music composer for a long period of time. In fact, he always aspired to become a music director and has admitted on many occasions that he only stepped into films to be able to compose music. Vishal’s struggle years are defined by the same. While he was in Delhi he used to compose music for lesser known Gazal singers. He even worked with a music company in Delhi for a while before coming to Mumbai. He started by composing music for T.V. shows like Alice in Wonderland and The Jungle Book and eventually stepped into films with his compositions in 1995.
But it was only from a film called Machis that he first gained recognition. What followed made history.
Though his career has always seen many ups and downs, Vishal remained determined and even after a series of flops did not fear experimenting.
He is also a cool singer and some of his best hits are with his wife Rekha Bhardwaj. Some of their peppy duets include Darling, Raat Ke Dhai Baje and Oye Boy Oye Boy Charlie.
He stepped into direction with children’s film Makdee in 2002. It was critically acclaimed and he won an award at the Chicago Film Festival. For this film he donned many hats as he directed, composed music and wrote dialogues. The films that followed did not do well, until he made a Shakespearean adaptation called Maqbool. Maqbool, which released in 2005, was an adaptation of Macbeth. It won many awards including the IIFA. Later his film, The Blue Umbrella (2005),another children’s film based on Ruskin Bond’s novel (of the same name) got him a National Award. This could be seen as his big leap.
The success of this film was followed by a series of gems from Bhardwaj, like, Omkara (2006), Kaminey (2009) and Ishqia (2010). He also composed music for all these films and Ishqia won him the National Film Award for best music direction.
About his special fondness for Shakespeare and making dark films, he said in an interview “I show violence poetically.’
Vishal Bhardwaj is certainly the man with a distinct charisma, a unique eye for plots and an unmatched vision of film making. A director like him brings class to Indian Cinema and an identity to the new age films. All of his past ventures are daring, diverse and powerful and he has always made an impact. His success is inspirational in more than one way. Let us hope he makes more films and lift the Hindi Film Industry to a much higher stature.