A youth from Meerut who aspired to get fame as a cricketer. Unfortunately (or rather fortunately) his thumb broke while studying at Delhi University. That too just one day before the Inter University tournament. Soon his father died. These two incidents forced him to give up his dream of becoming a great cricketer.
Clearly, destiny had something else approved. Today, Vishal Bhardwaj is one of the greatest filmmakers of Hindi cinema. His films are a subject of study and research. He received all the awards and every actor wants to work under his direction. One of the characteristics of all his strengths is the violence in poetic form. He is adept at incorporating the immortal plays of Shakespeare into the Indian background.
So far Bhardwaj has directed nine films, written screenplays of 14 films, and also composed and composed music for almost all these films. He is rich in intelligence and knowledge. But meeting them, you will not see any of these things in his personality. His soft-spoken, polite and friendly attitude makes the front man comfortable. His recent film Rangoon failed to perform well at the box office, but this is the only setback in his shining journey. Vishal, who had a trio of Maqbool, Omkara and Haider on Shakespeare’s tragic stories, is now working on Twelfth Night.
On a stodgy evening on Sunday, he sat down to discuss issues such as exploring different genres, changes in the Indian cinema industry, his fondness for the TV series and why he was uncomfortable with the idea of writing his own autobiography. .
From the children, to the sad stories of Shakespeare, to the bubbly to the romance – you worked in different genres of the film. What gives you such a detailed and comprehensive view?
I do films in different genres because it gives me an opportunity to understand and weigh every aspect of my personality. One might like movies like Batman, Superman, as well as people who like series like McBride, Narcos, Fargo. The same man can also like Satyajit Ray. People carry the burden of many things with them. There can be many aspects of the personality of the same man, so he needs to find it. That is why I use in different genres. I do not want to be tied in any one genre. I want to see every genre of life, stories and films.
Your last film, Rangoon, featured the impression of a Broadway-style musical. Recently filmmaker Anurag Basu used this style in his film Jagga Jasoos. But the acceptance of such musical style in Hindi cinema is less. What could be the reason for this?
Broadway-style musical films cannot succeed to a great extent in Hindi cinema because we make musical films. Music is not used in a typical Hollywood or European film. So when they use music, it is completely dedicated to music, they are very honest about it. On such occasions, they take all kinds of discounts. Here we also use music in ordinary drama films.
What kind of change have you felt in Hindi cinema during the last decade?
Major changes have taken place. We have moved from the North Pole to the South Pole. Earlier it was very difficult to make films without any concrete subject or songs. Apart from this, financial support, theater etc. for release was also difficult. Now I think we are in the best phase. We still need more multiplexes. Movies in India are more and multiplexes are less. If there are more screens, more films will be seen. As far as creativity is concerned, we are in the best phase. Today films like Newton are also becoming hits and Bajrangi Bhaijaan is also a super hit.
You once said – “The filmmaker’s sentiment is revealed on screen.” If you say that the characters of the film also give a glimpse of the personality of the filmmaker in some form?
More than the characters, the personality of the filmmaker reflects on the theme of the film or the expression of that character. This is because often the filmmaker takes characters who do not exist. In such a way, the way the character develops, the way in which it establishes a relationship with its surroundings, is an expression of the filmmaker.
Through Maqbool, Hyder, Omkara, Bhardwaj has brought out Shakespeare in the best form. Recently your first book ‘Nude’ was released. He expressed his feelings through poetry. Are there any plans to write your autobiography?
No, I have no plans to write an autobiography because I do not want to make my personal life public. I am a private person, a recluse. I do not have any such plan at the moment, but what do you know after 20 years. For the moment, I want to keep my memories safe with myself.
Any recent films that influenced you?
I think Newton was a very good film. Court was also a good film. Actually, I watch very few films. I like to watch TV series. In recent times I liked Fargo and Peaky Blinders. Another TV series I love is Black Mirror. This is my favorite They make beautiful episodes and all the stories are different from each other. They are like a new film. Good films are being made on digital platforms.
Any Bhineta’s acting in any recent film that influenced you?
I liked Zaira Wasim in Dangal, it was amazing. I also liked Aamir’s performance in Dangal. Zaira’s performance in Secret Superstar was also impressive. Also, the man who played his father Raj Arjun is also a good actor. Meher Vij played Zaira’s mother in the film. His performance is also worth praising. The entire casting was very good.
If you were to watch someone’s film life, who would it be? Or the film you like the most, your favorite?
There are many. It is very difficult to choose one. Still, if I had to choose, I would say ‘Godfather’. This is an immortal film. Also Kislowski’s ‘Three Colors Trilogy – Blue, Red and White’. I like another film by Kislowski – ‘The Double Life of Veronique’. I think everyone should watch these movies.
What message would you like to give to new filmmakers who aspire to make good cinema?
My message would be that he should always be obsessed with cinema and film-making. As long as you do not make it a question of life and death to bring your story to the fore, you cannot make a film. This passion should be within you.