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It’s interesting to explore women in films, Vishal Bhardwaj


The noted film director, screenwriter, producer and music composer, Vishal Bhardwaj said that the trilogy of his films based on the plays of William Shakespeare – ‘Maqbool’ (2003) on ‘Macbeth’, ‘Omkara’ (2006) on ‘Othello’, and ‘Haider’ (2014) on ‘Hamlet’ – came out from the fact that the female characters in the works of the bard were strong, and sometimes better than the male characters.

“I had accidentally read ‘Macbeth’ and subsequently went through all his other works,” Bhardwaj informed, “In my family, I saw that women had more strength and men were internally weak; in fact women came out strongly in times of crises.” The director/ composer also said that he found it interesting to explore women in his films, especially as during the 1980s and 1990s they were merely used as props.

Interacting with the noted television producer, Nasreen Munni Kabir during the Knowledge Series programme at the ongoing Film Bazaar, being held on the sidelines of the International Film Festival of India 2018, Bhardwaj said that when he goes to the set of his films, he prefers to give adequate space to the actors. “Initially, during the shots, I don’t open my cards before them because sometimes they come out with better ideas,” he admitted.

Speaking further, Bhardwaj said that he believes in holding more rehearsals and going for few takes, as more takes make the shot more technical. “Actors like Pankaj Kapur give 100 per cent in the first take itself, while some actors want to warm up on the set and ask for initial two-three takes,” he observed, quipping that he tells such actors to warm up during the rehearsals, and respect the sanctity of the takes.

Bhardwaj further applauded actress Tabu for she does not make a fuss about homework or research as regards to her characters in films. “Instinctively, she is so very emotionally correct in whatever she plays,” he noted.

Reacting to the grudge against his films for abusive language, the filmmaker/composer said that family audiences complain about stars speaking filthy language in his films. “They have no problem if actors in parallel cinema speak such language, but not the mainstream stars,” he defended, adding that filmmakers once said that they worked for five years to establish romantic image of the actor, Saif Ali Khan, but their entire effort was undone by a single film, ‘Omkara’ directed by him.

Bhardwaj also said that poetry is in his genes since his father, Ram Bhardwaj wrote poetry and lyrics for Hindi films. “I was influenced by poet/ filmmaker, Gulzar and wanted to compose at least one of his songs, as much as I wanted Lata Mangeshkar to sing my composition,” he admitted, adding that his wishes were fulfilled in the very first Hindi film he composed music for – ‘Maachis’.

“I also learnt from Gulzar saab that emotion is stranger than logic,” he acknowledged.

Speaking about his three favourite female characters in Hindi films, Bhardwaj named those played by Anuradha Patel in ‘Ijaazat’, Priyanka Chopra in ‘7 Khoon Maaf’ and Konkona Sen Sharma in ‘Omkara’.

Replying to a question, he said that producing ‘Dedh Ishqiya’ (2014), the sequel to ‘Ishqiya’ (2010) was a money-driven decision.

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