Vishal Bhardwaj, born 4 August 1965, is an Indian film director, screenwriter, producer, music composer and playback singer. His father, Ram Bhardwaj also wrote poetry and lyrics for Hindi films. At an early age, Bhardwaj had an interest in playing cricket. While living in Meerut, he played cricket for the state’s under-19 team. He could not pursue his career because a day before the tournament, his thumb broke during a practice session. Later, Bhardwaj started playing harmonium for friends who were ghazal singers. After a few years, he took up a job with a music company called CBS in Delhi. After that, he moved to Mumbai to become a musician, and he only took directing films to create the opportunity to compose music. In 1995, Bhardwaj made his debut as a music composer for the children’s film Abhay (The Fearless). He then went on to compose music for Fauji and Sanshadhan. Then in 1996, he served as the music director for Gulzar’s Maachis, for which he received the Filmfare RD Burman Award for New Music Talent. His later film projects included Betaabi, Tunnu Ki Tinie, Satya, as well as Hu Tu Tu. After years of hard work, Bhardwaj received the National Film Award for Best Music Direction at the 46th National Film Awards for his critically acclaimed score in Godmother. In addition, Bhardwaj made his directorial debut with the horror film Makdee in 2002, starring Shabana Azmi, Makarand Deshpande, and Shweta Prasad. His next film was Maqbool, an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. This film starred Pankaj Kapur, Irrfan Khan, and Tabu and was set against the backdrop of Mumbai underworld because after reading a short version of the play, he wanted to turn it into a gangster film. This film became so popular, the CNN-IBN listed it as, “One of the 100 greatest Indian films of all time” and Film critic Raja Sen listed it among “The Top 75 Hindi Films of the Decade” in 2015. After this highly successful project, Bhardwaj again adopted Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello, as Omkara which starred Ajay Devgan as the protagonist. Additionally, Bhardwaj has adopted several highly popular novels and plays into feature films throughout his career. His next such project was the children’s book The Blue Umbrella. Due to his huge list of highly successful films, it goes without saying that Bhardwaj has also won several awards. These include, National Film Award for Best Children’s Film, Best Director and Best Music Director as well as the Yash Bharti Award for the Government of Uttar Pradesh.
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