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Vishal Bhardwaj gets big film, music offers

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS

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Vishal Bhardwaj will not only be working on a project with New Age guru Deepak Chopra but is also back to composing music for a Kamal Haasan film.

Things are certainly hotting up for the music composer-turned-filmmaker after "Maqbool" - an exceptional adaptation of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" - won him kudos.

"The film made money in Mumbai and many other centres. It was certainly not a loser. It had already made back its money when it was sold to distributors overseas. Whatever came thereafter was a surplus," Bhardwaj told IANS.

"So please don't compare the box office performance of 'Maqbool' with 'Ek Hasina Thi', 'Ab Tak Chhappan' and the other so-called experimental films released at the same time."

He is now in the news for his collaboration with Deepak Chopra.

"Actually that project has been in the pipeline for two years now," reveals Bhardwaj with a grin.

"Of course it's happening and of course I'll be reading Chopra's book to adapt it to screen. But it isn't as though 'Soulmate' happened yesterday or will be made tomorrow.

"What happened was that I met a journalist from a Mumbai paper who asked me about my Hollywood plans. I said, 'Of course I plan to make a film out there.' Then I told her about this two-month old project, which she chose to project as something immediate. That suits me fine. I've now learnt the art of being in the news," says Bhardwaj.

So what's the reality cheque?

He has three projects in the pipeline. Besides Chopra's "Soulmate", which will be made on a huge scale for an international company, he is also committed to Shekhar Kapur for "Mantra", featuring Preity Zinta.

"Only Shekhar can say when 'Mantra' will materialise. So my next directorial venture is 'Timbuctoo', an adaptation of an international short story with Aishwarya Rai and Vivek Oberoi.

"Tabu will play a central part in the film."

But the real surprise in Bhardwaj's career is that he has agreed to compose music for a new Hindi film featuring Tamil heartthrob Madhavan.

Originally "Nala Damayanthi" in Tamil, it told the story of a Tamil cook's exploits in Australia and was produced by Kamal Haasan.

Chuckles Bhardwaj: "When Madhavan called to ask if I knew anyone who could do the north Indian flavoured songs of the Hindi version of 'Nala Damayanthi' I immediately volunteered my services.

"After all that's what makes me who I am. I jump jobs, remember? I'm a filmmaker by choice and a music composer at heart. One reason why I turned to direction is because I got a chance to employ myself as a music composer.

"Now after 'Maqbool', if I'm offered a chance to compose music I'll be only too happy," said Bhardwaj, before leaving for a month-long trip to the US to explore international filmmaking possibilities.


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