Vishal Bharadwaj interview

thanks to An Jo…

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25 Responses to “Vishal Bharadwaj interview”

  1. wow, really lengthy interview..

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  2. I finally completed this interview. It was a pleasure to watch. Though I am not his greatest fan Vishal Bharadwaj is really thoughtful here and his humility is rather refreshing as well. Fundamentally he comes across as a very genuine guy, rather rare for his industry! It’s certainly the case that I understood at some level his work better having seen this interview. There are a number of interesting things he says about his motivations, the themes of his films and so on.

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    • Thanks. This slipped by, but I’ll bookmark it. That he seems more genuine than most in his industry is par for the course as far as some of his interviews go. Look forward to seeing this.

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  3. I’ll also add this – his last couple movies have been rather off the mark. I’d still take Maqbool over everything else and this despite fully understanding yours and Q’s very eloquent, very convincing dissent(s) on that film. Wish he’d cap off the Shakespeare trilogy with a Hamlet more interesting than Shahid but that film is undoubtedly the one I look forward to the most this year.

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    • Interestingly he says more than once in the interview that he turned to Shakespeare early on because he simply didn’t have the talent or confidence to do original scripts. Later on he moved away because he didn’t want to be slotted that way but he still didn’t give up on co-writers. But he makes it clear that he wasn’t trying to adapt Shakespeare in any formal sense as much as using the plays purely as the structure for a story. With Maqbool he even says he just read a children’s version of the play before doing the film. Ironically Shakespeare himself had this one great weakness of not being able to do original writing. All but three of his plays are based on other sources/texts. In any case I bring up all of this because I’ve often found Bharadwaj less impressive as a take on Shakespeare but if this has never been his intention (even though no one watching the films would think this) I suppose more allowance ought to be made for him on this point. He also says on Maqbool that it’s a kind of fantasy in a realistic frame (much like Omkara) and that if that version of gangster life represents anything it’s those famous storied gangsters of yesteryear Bombay (Haji Mastan, a few others) than anyone or anything in the present. Apparently he visited Haji Mastan’s house once. But again he says several interesting things in the interview. On his stars and supporting casts for example. And so on. It also becomes clear at points what he thinks of most of contemporary Bollywood!

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      • omrocky786 Says:

        Did not know thay you and Q did not like Maqbool, I liked it more than Omkara…
        I liked Maqbool, Omkara, Kameeney and Matru. In that order…and hated blue umbrella.

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          • omrocky786 Says:

            For a change, I am with GF here…
            Considering that you found Singham too right wing leaning, this does not surprise me…lol

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          • The original Singham was fine (or mostly fine). the Hindi version had a terrible ending.

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          • omrocky786 Says:

            It, s funny that just yesterday, I was listening to the song Main na bhooloonga….and when the line came..mandir sey pooja ka rishta main na bhoolonga..I thought to myself. Satyam will find this song problematic. ….lol

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          • now that I don’t find problematic at all.. in fact one of the indices of loss for me in Hindi cinema is the lack of the obligatory mandir scene. In masala it was almost impossible to do without this. There were even multiple moments in this sense. I have always missed the mandir! Of course this also represented mainstream bourgeois Hindu religiosity which as I said the other day today needs to be defended more than anything else from precisely the Hindutva hijacking! Today if I had to reinvent Vijay I’d have him go to the mandir and argue against Hindutva from that position. This is a global problem. The degree to which political versions of a faith that are militant in various ways hijack more traditional forms of belief and practice and pretend to speak for the same.

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          • I think Hindutva was always there, had no platform to express.
            But I do agree that in general the rituals, and the riwaaz have given way to Tamasha now.
            Even my mom complained about the increasing ( and some of them rowdy) Kanwariyas on the road during Sawwan ka Mahina…

            PS- the amount of money people are spending on marriages these days is ridiculous. A friend of mine went to India for a wedding and said he counted 99 stalls of food there !!!!

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      • omrocky786 Says:

        Looking forward to watch this interviewl later…

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        • ” A friend of mine went to India for a wedding and said he counted 99 stalls of food there !!!!”

          An outlet is required for all the stashed black money. I wish IT started to raid these marriage functions for source of income.

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  4. rockstar Says:

    have to admit despite the portrayl of women in his movies bhardwaj has used his wife’s singing ability wonderfully

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  5. MSDhoni Says:

    Did not enjoy Bhardwaj interview here and had held him in higher esteem than what this interview projected and unraveled. My expectations out of him are slightly lowered thanks to some intelligent nudging by Pragya Tiwari who is a master of her craft and one of the best interviewers. Still Bhardwaj is a multifaceted personality and if I would have to rate him by each of his skills than as a musician he will rank top with filmmaking being the lowest.

    However what this link led me at the end is Karan Johar’s comprehensive and expanded interview. I have always regarded him a very intelligent person and not what he projects in his cheesy/cupid cinema and the idle chit chat he is associated with. In this interview he comes across very self deprecating of his own work and not some delusional Bhansali there…. more important he is seems very receptive to change and seems to have graduated with time. Very intelligent and a bit of underrated if I may say so…

    thebigindianpicture

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    • I can only hope this is your idea of an April Fool’s joke!

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      • Satyam: If you can, check out the Shridhar Raghavan interview as well which was posted here sometime back. Both him and Bharadwaj are really very humble, just wear their knowledge very lightly. And that one too is a very long but illuminating interview.

        On Johar, I am myself baffled when even people like Rangan say that his ‘sense of aesthetics’ is top-notch. In fact Rangan has been, more often than not, supportive of Johar’s filmmaking. I mean could see if he would say the same about someone like Ayan Mukherjee (where even one finds films like YJHD completely dusposable, one can see some other technical skills at display), but Johar! Really?

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  6. MSDhoni Says:

    Haha…perceptions again! Spare an hour time for the interview and you may be taken aback..

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  7. MSDhoni Says:

    Well his cinema is nothing to crow about now and has aged badly but during the time it came it did create a lot of ripples on the box office at least and he does say that the conviction pulled them off during those time.

    He seems intelligent in the sense that he readily accepts the cheesiness associated with his cinema now and is ready to move on. Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.

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    • I think Johar was essentially a commercial filmmaker right for the 90s. Of course he only directed two successful films so it’s not as if he had a grand body of work or something. But I’m not sure why he deserves extra credit here. He couldn’t get it done when he decided to become more ‘meaningful’. He’s become a brand-name in the meantime with a production house and so forth and that’s fine but again I hardly see anything remarkable coming out of it. I don’t mind some of the films, that’s a different matter. Aditya Chopra has at least for a number of years been interested in more small-town, rooted (by his older standards!) cinema. In other words he makes many films where it cannot be said that he couldn’t do better with his multiplex crowd with the Johar sort of formula. And he’s generally not doing masala on a big scale either. Clearly he seems to have some personal commitment (for whatever this is worth) to a certain kind of film even if he tends to play it safer on the big productions. Johar too is trying to do a bit of this but in his case it’s the opposite. All his films are designed for the multiplexes. When he tries masala he goes for the big one as in Agneepath where he’s assured of an initial and so forth. So even using the most minimal bar here I don’t know why he deserves any credit at all. He’s made a brand-name for himself, good for him, in fact I think he has a certain talent doing the Koffee format because here he has a fluidity for this. It’s silly entertainment but he makes it work. But these are hardly great achievements you put on your resume! The thing is that he pretends to have all this angst about not being that sort of filmmaker and so on and I’m willing to concede that he’s sincere to a degree but the problem is that for him any kind of cinema is really just another form of self-aggrandizement. So prestige stuff is in and he wants some awards, some exposure on the international circuit etc. The bottom-line here is he really doesn’t believe in anything beyond that which his multiplex audiences believe in. So yeah they like YJHD, Johar does too, they like Lunchbox, so does Johar. You show him a Ratnam film and he too runs for the exits! We all have our tastes but there should be the ability to spot a worthwhile work even when one might not be personally invested in it. Otherwise one at least shouldn’t have pretensions of being a filmmaker in it for good cinema or whatever. Ultimately Johar is about the box office, not much more than this. If he can get some prestige going without compromising on this too much he’s fine with the deal. Most others are also in it for the box office, it is after all a commercial industry, having pretensions however is another matter. So again I don’t have a problem with his choices even if I might consider most of it bankrupt. But that he’s a prominent face for the industry and offers a commentary that people seem to buy is another matter.

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      • Well said, Johar is just someone who is aching to be respected as a filmmaker, something that has eluded him from the start. Even when KKHH came out, the critical darling was Satya.

        IMO it’s better to be a Rohit Shetty than a Johar, at least the former is clear about who he is and what kind of cinema he is capable of.

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        • The dichotomy was quite evident on KWK featuring him and Zoya. Both disliked critics; Zoya thought they don’t have ability to review and Shetty said he doesn’t care because he makes mindless movies. And they agreed regarding critics in spite of been on opposite side of scale!

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        • Johar is the kid chasing the big dream…except in what he seeks is cinematic excellence, he has mitigated with artificially inorganic films and topics with big canvases and big stars to achieve box office success. I think a highly skilled director can achieve both with the right film and the genuineness required (Gowariker with Lagaan or Hirani with his 3 films just to name examples) but these successes are born out of no half measures or short cuts to get people to notice the films. He is a great marketer if anything and a pretty good salesmen. Plenty of gloss, but his genuine attempts at pleasing the critics are highly compromised. He wants to have his cake and eat it too! And to be honest there is not much wrong with this IF one is accepting of it.
          I am not sure where this constant need to “please” or gain “critical” praise comes from…he was on a pretty decent path with the Saved by the Bell type of film in KKHH – a perfectly fine film for its genre and for its target audience – it worked well, had the feel good factor and felt genuine. Unfortunately that film gave him unnecessary hype that he felt he had to live up to and top.
          Where do you go when your second film stars SRK, Hrithik, Big B, Kajol, Kareena and Jaya?

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