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Director / Composer / Screenwriter Hindi

Vishal Bhardwaj

Vishal Bhardwaj Biography

Born : 04 August 1965, in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh, India




Vishal Bhardwaj

With dreams of becoming a music composer, Vishal Bhardwaj arrived in Mumbai to find work in the film industry. He ended up finding himself drawn to direction after he watched a retrospective of Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski. Before that he had already composed music for a couple of notable films including Gulzar’s Maachis (1996), Ram Gopal Varma’s Satya (1998) and Vinay Shukla’s Godmother (1999).

Born in Bijour, Uttar Pradesh and raised in Meerut, his father was a poet and lyricist with a day job as a government employee. Bhardwaj moved to Delhi to study Arts at Hindu College where top personalities like Manoj Bajpayee and Imtiaz Ali were part of the dramatics society. He met Gulzar through a friend and it was a relationship that transformed his life. Initially they worked together on television shows like The Jungle Book and Gubbare, but the association continued with Bhardwaj as director and Gulzar as lyricist for all his films. Interestingly two of his early works revolved around children—the first, Makdee (2002), which he also wrote, was about a young girl who is confronted by a witch (Shabana Azmi) in a haunted mansion. Blue Umbrella (2005) based on a Ruskin Bond story was set in Himachal Pradesh and narrates a fable about the fall and redemption of a greedy shopkeeper (Pankaj Kapur). Beautifully shot and acted, sadly the film took more than a couple of years to get a theatrical release.

However, it was his adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth as Maqbool (2003) that gave Bhardwaj a big breakthrough. Relocating the story of a trusted lieutenant’s (Irrfan Khan) betrayal of his chief (Pankaj Kapur) under the influence of the latter’s mistress (Tabu) whom he covets got stellar performances from the entire cast. He followed it up with Othello as Omkara (2006), which superbly reinvented Saif Ali Khan from an urbane persona to the foul-mouthed Langda Tyagi. The story was set in the badlands of UP with Ajay Devgan as the brave henchman who suspects his beautiful wife (Kareena Kapoor) of adultery and his world spirals into chaos.

Kaminey (2009), another underworld caper, this time set in Mumbai, gave Shahid Kapoor his first double role and he delivered an impressive turn as twin brothers Guddu and Charlie, embroiled in a drug heist. Bhardwaj produced Ishqiya (2009) in the same year for his long-time assistant Abhishek Chaubey and co-wrote the film with Gulzar and him, apart from composing the music which became all the rage, in particular, the song“Ibn-e-batuta”.

After this, he delivered yet another Ruskin Bond adaptation with 7 Khoon Maaf (2011) featuring Priyanka Chopra as the capricious Susanna who has made the habit of murdering her husbands. Bhardwaj recently released the third film in his Shakespeare trilogy, Haider (2014), based on Hamlet, which starred top actors Shahid Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor, alongside Tabu and Kay Kay Menon in supporting roles. Set in Kashmir, the narrative captures the tension and turmoil of the land, weaving it in artfully in the Shakespearean plot. The film received rave reviews for the story as well as the performances.

Talvar (2015) was his latest project, for which he wrote the screenplay. It was based on the Noida murder case of Arushi Talvar in 2008. Bhardwaj has been the recipient of many National Film Awards for films such as Best Screenplay for Haider (2015) and Talvar (2016), and Best Music Direction for Godmother (2000) and Ishqiya (2011).

Family Tree

Rekha Bhardwaj,Rekha Bhardwaj
Aasmaan Bhardwaj
Ram Bhardwaj
Satya Bhardwaj