Vishal Bhardwaj is that filmmaker whose filmography leaves you highly impressed and teaches you the art of filmmaking, especially adaptations.
Vishal Bhardwaj is a filmmaker whose filmography isn’t massive but sure is effective and impactful. He is one such filmmaker who isn’t afraid to be political and almost all his films are laced with socio-political commentary. But very few know that he actually started in the industry as a music composer with a film made for children, Abhay in 1995 and then in Gulzar Sahab’s film Maachis in 1996. He has seven National awards in his bag out of which one is for music direction. For most of his own films, he works on the music composition too but there are many other projects like Satya, Godmother, Chachi 420, Sonchiriya, and more, including Darlings (two songs) for which he’s credited.
His stint in filmmaking also started because of music and his filmography is highly impressive including films like Makdee, Maqbool, Omkara, The Blue Umbrella, Kaminey, 7 Khoon Maaf, Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, Haider, Rangoon, and Pataakha. He was also involved as a producer or co-writer for films like Talvar, Ishqiya, Dedh Ishqiya, and Ek Thi Daayan. His films feel like journalist-documentary pieces and he’s also the one who successfully adapted a lot of the literature into films. If there’s anyone we should learn the art of adaptation from it should definitely be him because his work is flawless. Three of Shakespeare’s biggest tragedies, Macbeth, Othello, and Hamlet found graceful places in Indian socio-political scenarios because of his films Maqbool, Omkara, and Haider.
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Check out all the adaptations that this unapologetic filmmaker has made!
Maqbool – Shakespeare’s Macbeth
The tragedy of Macbeth is about how damaging the political ambitions of a person can be after killing the king based on a prophecy and becoming one Macbeth loses to insanity but Bhardwaj wrapped this plot into the gangster world of Mumbai.
Omkara – Shakespeare’s Othello
The tragedy of Othello focuses on racial identity with Othello killing his beloved wife after Iago’s malicious tricks push his jealously but Bhardwaj makes it about the caste identity of India and sets it up against the backdrop of UP laced with toxic masculinity.
Haider – Shakespeare’s Hamlet
Hamlet focuses on the revenge of a young prince against his uncle who has killed his father in order to marry his mother but Bhardwaj uses this plot into the conflict of Kashmir in 1995.
The Blue Umbrella – Ruskin Bond’s The Blue Umbrella
It’s a children’s story by Ruskin Bond that has been perfectly adapted into a Hindi film by Bhardwaj. It’s about an obsession with materialistic things that only leads to suffering as Ram Bharosa, a shopkeeper obsesses over a strikingly beautiful blue umbrella of a young girl, Binya.
7 Khoon Maaf – Ruskin Bond’s short story, Susanna’s Seven Husbands
Based on yet another story of Ruskin Bond’s where Susanna ends ups killing seven of her husbands as each one turns out to be atrocious, Bhardwaj, instead, tells this story with various political timelines such as the fall of Berlin, the nuclear tests at Pokhran, the 26/11 attacks, and more.
His recent film in the anthology series Modern Love Mumbai was considered to be one of the best ones and while we’re eagerly waiting for Khufiya to release there’s no denying that Vishal Bhardwaj knows how to take a story and make it his own while rooting it in culture, saying everything about the society we live in without directly saying it on the face.
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