Vishal Bharadwaj is an Indian filmmaker. Starting his career as a music composer from the film Abhay (The Fearless) (1995), Vishal soon emerged into a good director, screenwriter, producer, and playback singer. He gave the music for many hit films in Bollywood and garnered seven National Film Awards in four categories.
Vishal Bharadwaj was born in a Brahmin family on 4 August 1965 (Age: 58 years, as of 2023) in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh, India. His father, Ram Bharadwaj was a sugarcane inspector and his mother was a homemaker. His father also wrote lyrics and poetry for Hindi films. He completed his primary education from Najibabad, later, his family moved to Meerut and Vishal started to playing cricket for the State’s Under-19 team. He could not pursue his career in cricket because his thumb broke during a practice session. When he was 17 years old, he composed a song. When his father heard that song, he got very impressed and discussed it to the music director, Usha Khanna. She used that song to the film, Yaar Kasam (1985). Later, Bharadwaj moved to Delhi to pursue his graduation at the Hindu College in the University of Delhi.
- Height: 165 cm or 5’5″
- Weight: 70 kg or 154
- Eye Colour: Brown
- Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper
Vishal Bharadwaj was born to Ram Bharadwaj and Satya Bharadwaj. He had one brother who was struggling to become a film producer in Mumbai but, he died of heart attack. He married his college mate and playback singer, Rekha Bhardwaj. They met in a college function at the University of Delhi. His wife was a year senior to him. The couple has one son, Aasmaan.
Earlier, he used to play Harmonium with his friends who were ghazal singers. Few years after, he grabbed a job in CBC music company in Delhi. Later, he went to Mumbai to become a music composer. In 1995, he made his debut as a music composer from the film, Abhay (The Fearless). He became the music director for Gulzar’s ‘Maachis’ for which he received the Filmfare RD Burman Award for New Music Talent. In 2000, he received the National Film Award for Best Music Direction for the critically acclaimed film, Godmother (1999).
In 2002, he made his directorial debut with the horror film, ‘Makdee.’ Vishal was inspired by William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ and decided to turn it into a feature film. He started to work with Abbas Tyrewala. The film was named as Maqbool and got released in 2003. The film was based on Mumbai Underworld. CNN-IBN listed Maqbool in one of the top 100 greatest Hindi films of all time. In 2010, film critic, Raja Sen included it in the list of Top 75 Hindi films of the decade. In 2007, he made a short film, ‘Blood Brother’ with the 13 minutes run time. The film is a story of a young man who is HIV positive and allows his life to fall apart. In 2009, he filmed ‘Kaminey’ starring Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra. The film was commercially successful and grossed over $10 million. Later, he got inspired by Ruskin Bond’s short story, ‘Susanna’s Seven Husbands.’ Vishal made a film on it with the name, ‘7 Khoon Maaf’ which was released in 2011. He has also directed some other films such as Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola, Rangoon, Pataakha, etc. He made his debut in production with the film, ‘Ishqiya’ starring Vidya Balan, Naseeruddin Shah, and Arshad Warsi. Vishal has produced some other movies such as ‘Ek Thi Daayan’ along with Ekta Kapoor’s Balaji Motion Pictures, ‘Dedh Ishqiya.’ In 2015, he co-produced Gulzar’s crime drama, ‘Talvar.’ Apart from being a music composer, he has also lent his voice in many films such as No Smoking, Omkara, U Me Aur Hum, Striker, Kaminey, Haider, etc.
His film Haider won 5 national awards and he dedicated all awards to Kashmiri Pundits. Actor, Anupam Kher who is also a Kashmiri Pundit, felt it awkward and in a series of tweets, he accused of Vishal Bharadwaj of making a biased film. Kher further added that Bharadwaj has depicted as the Indian Army the villain and no viewpoint of Kashmiri Pundits is shown in the movie.
- Filmfare RD Burman Award for New Music Talent for ‘Maachis’ (1997)
- National Film Award for Best Music Direction for ‘Godmother’ (2000)
- National Film Award for Best Children’s Film for ‘The Blue Umbrella’ (2005)
- National Film Award – Special Jury Award for ‘Omkara’ (2006)
- National Film Award for Best Music Direction for ‘Ishqiya’ (2010)
- Best Music Direction and Best Screenplay award for ‘Haider’ (2015)
- Yash Bharti Award by the Government of Uttar Pradesh (2016)
- Kerala State Film Award for Best Music Director for film ‘Carbon’ (2018)
- Filmmaker(s): Krzysztof Kieślowski (Polish Filmmaker), Satyajit Ray, Anurag Kashyap, Anurag Basu
- Author(s): Shakespeare, Ruskin Bond
- Writer/Lyricist: Gulzar
- Film(s): Kapurush, Decalogue (Polish miniseries, 1989), Pulp Fiction, Ship of Theseus
- Sport: Cricket
As in 2018, he has a net worth of $70 million.
- He likes to smoke and drink.
- His hobbies are watching and playing Tennis and Cricket, Reading, Travelling, etc.
- Bharadwaj often collaborates with Gulzar and calls him his mentor and father.
- His film, Haider was co-written by a journalist-writer Bhasharat Peer who was an eye-witness of the Kashmir conflict.
- He likes the filmmaking style of the Polish director, Krzysztof Kieślowski whose film, Dekalog inspired him to be a filmmaker.
- Actor, Naseeruddin Shah once said about his films, “I wasn’t dying to do the film. But I like Vishal’s films. I think he makes interesting films, even though I haven’t liked all his works. But even his poor work is more interesting than a lot of people’s so-called good work. That’s why I took it up as a friend.”