Bollywood filmmaker, music composer, and producer Vishal Bhardwaj celebrates his 57th birthday on Thursday (August 4).
Bharadwaj, who made his debut in the film industry as a music composer in the movie ‘Abhay’ in 1995, is the recipient of seven national awards in four categories.
Bhardwaj composed music for films like ‘Maachis’, ‘Satya’, ‘Ishqiya’, and has given us some gems like ‘Chappa Chappa Charka Chale’, ‘Naina Thag Lenge’, ‘Sapne Mein Milti Hai’, ‘Ibn-E-Batuta’ and more.
He is considered a master craftsman and tells layered tales filled with intricate detailing. Bhardwaj has also been recognised as one of the finest Bollywood directors of the present era.
As the filmmaker turns a year older, here’s a list of some of his best films:
The film was an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Late actor Irrfan Khan had essayed the role of Maqbool, who is the right-hand man of Jahangir Khan (Pankaj Kapur), a powerful underworld don. Like the three witches of Macbeth, two corrupt cops, (Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah) predict that one day Maqbool will rebel and claim the throne for himself. The film also stars actress Tabu in the lead role.
The Blue Umbrella
The film, which won the National Award for Best Children’s Film, is based on a story by Ruskin Bond. The story of the film revolves around a young girl who gets hold of a Japanese blue umbrella and becomes an instant celebrity in her village. Everyone wants to own such an umbrella but can’t do so because of the high cost. The village shopkeeper (played by Pankaj Kapur) covets it so much that he hatches a plan to steal it, which leads him to several misadventures.
Makdee stars Shweta Basu Prasad, Shabana Azmi, Makrand Deshpande, Vijay Raaz. Though a children’s film, the film has entertained adults as well. In the film, Azmi aced her role of a witch and Shweta Basu Prasad was brilliant as a pair of twin sisters. She also won the National Award for Best Child Artist for the film. The film tells the story of a young girl in north India and her encounter with an alleged witch in an old mansion in the locality, believed by the locals to be haunted. It also explains the belief in witches and witchcraft across modern-day India.
Omkara, which was released in 2006, is adapted from William Shakespeare’s Othello. the film was co-written and directed by Bhardwaj. It starred an ensemble cast of Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma, Vivek Oberoi and Bipasha Basu in the lead roles. Bharadwaj had also composed the entire music for the film, including the background score, with lyrics by Gulzar. The film is set in Meerut, a city in Western Uttar Pradesh. The film was showcased in the Marché du Film section at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival along with a book on the making of Omkara.
Haider is a 2014 crime drama film written, produced and directed by Bhardwaj. It stars Shahid Kapoor, Tabu Kay Kay Menon, Shraddha Kapoor and Irrfan Khan. Set amidst the insurgency-hit Kashmir conflicts of 1995 and civilian disappearances, Haider is a modern-day adaptation of William Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet. It revolves around the story of a young student and a poet who returns to Kashmir at the peak of the conflict to seek answers about his father’s disappearance and ends up being tugged into the politics of the state. Haider is the third installment of Bhardwaj’s Shakespearean trilogy after Maqbool and Omkara.
Kaminey, released in 2009, is based on the lives of lovers (Priyanka Chopra and Shahid Kapoor) who help run an NGO. Written and directed by Bhardwaj, the film is set against the backdrop of the Mumbai underworld and follows a rivalry between a pair of twins, one with a lisp and the other with a stutter. The film had received widespread critical acclaim.
7 Khoon Maaf
After The Blue Umbrella, Bhardwaj adapted another Ruskin Bond story. His 2011 release was based on Bond’s short story ‘Susanna’s Seven Husbands’ in which a woman’s string of spouses die suspiciously. The film’s musical score was ALSO composed by Bhardwaj. The film was released in 2011, to universal critical acclaim, with special praise for Priyanka’s performance.
Adapted from Charan Singh Pathik’s short story Do Behenein, Pataakha is the story of two sisters, Chutki (Sanya Malhotra) and Badki (Radhika Madan) who are always at war with each other. Both of them run away from their homes to marry men of their choice but destiny brings them together yet again. It turns out that the men they had married are brothers. Bhardwaj’s mastery of sticking to the theme and setting of his film comes through the pitch-perfect dialogues.