To celebrate 100 Years of Indian Cinema, SACF presented Vishal Bhardwaj, as a leading music composer of popular Indian Cinema. The following day, (Sun, 1 September 2013) Bhardwaj was honoured at the NFT1, BFI Southbank with SACF’s ‘Excellence in Cinema Award’ after the screening of his seminal film Omkara. He also discussed his films and filmmaking.
During his visit to London, Vishal Bhardwaj spoke at the Nehru Centre to film historian/documentary filmmaker Lalit Mohan Joshi about his roots and passion for music, his work with poet and filmmaker Gulzar, and how he entered and made it big in Hindi Cinema. Some of Bhardwaj’s smash hits from Gulzar’s Maachis (1996) and his own films like Omkara (2006) and Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola (2013) were rendered live by some talented London musicians: Rajan Shegunshi and Uttara Sukanya Joshi accompanied by an acclaimed keyboard player, Sunil Jadhav.
Born and educated in northern India, he shifted to Mumbai to pursue a career in music. By blending great lyrics and earthy music with popular appeal, Bhardwaj managed to create a special niche for himself in Indian film music. Gulzar’s Maachis, where he made his debut as music composer, won him a Filmfare Award. He went on to win the National Award for Best Music for Vinay Shukla’s Godmother (1999). Thereafter, he has never looked back.
Makdee (2002) marked Bhardwaj’s directorial debut but it was Maqbool (2003), his adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth that made him famous. As a filmmaker, he achieved cult status with his chilling spectacle Omkara which contemporizes Shakespeare’s Othello by deftly making it relevant to present-day India.