Interview : Vishal Bhardwaj

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When you meet Vishal Bharadwaj it’s hard to believe that this soft-spoken man, who still maintains his chaste Urdu amid the crowd of Amchi Mumbai, is the same one who makes hard-hitting films like MAQBOOL and OMKARA…the latest from his stable-KAMINEY.

Why did you zero in on a title like KAMINEY (scoundrel) for your new film?
I knew you will ask this question. Actually the story of my film is about how petty desires can turn a good man to a scoundrel. I was pretty apprehensive about using it for the title of the film; and then I consulted Gulzarsaab. He, at once said-‘I like this title and think you should go ahead with it’

Be it MAQBOOL or OMKARA or KAMINEY…why is that all your films are so dark?
MAQBOOL and OMKARA are dark films-yes, I agree. But KAMINEY is not fully a dark film; it’s a black humour. The film is about two different-minded brothers (both played by

‘I show violence poetically.’

Shahid Kapoor)-one has a lisp, another stammers. They can’t stand each other until one night something happens and they realize that the only way to survive is to support each other.

Was Shahid a first choice for the film?
I did think of other actors while scripting the film, but finally it was Shahid whom I signed up.

And he did justice to the character?
Yes…to both the characters. He has good genes (father Pankaj Kapur) and is a natural actor. He will go a long way.

What goes behind selecting Priyanka (Chopra) to play Sweety in the film?
I selected Priyanka because of her looks that will suit Maharashtrian mulgi Sweety and also because of her spontaneity. But it was only while working with her for months that I realized how dedicated and intelligent she is! She even hired a Marathi teacher who accompanied her even to the sets so that she can learn not only the language, but also the accent properly.

view KAMINEY movie stills

view KAMINEY movie stills

All your films have too much violence; at the same time, there is an undercurrent of poetry running through the storyline. How will you explain this?
My roots are in Meerut… even though from a Brahmin family, I have grown up amid Muslim culture- sufi poetry, quawwali, tehzeeb. Besides, like my father, I too am a poet, and there is both romance and social issues in my poetry. My films are my mirrors…when a filmmaker makes a film, his entire self becomes exposed on celluloid, and I am no exception. And perhaps that is why, even when my film has rough scenes, I show violence poetically.


Gulzar has always been your source of inspiration…
I am here because of him…I owe all my success to him…he is my mentor, my father, my best friend. Even today I can’t think of doing anything without his suggestions.

It’s said there’s a woman behind every successful man…
Words fall short if I am to thank Rekha (Bharadwaj) for her contributions in my life. She was and is always there for me. When I was struggling to make a name in Bollywood, she supported me like no one else can ever do. We know each other from our college days; it was our love for music that drew us closer to each other.

Is it true that you are casting Hrithik Roshan for your next?
You people really go very fast. Let KAMINEY release, let me take a short break first…by the way, Hrithik and I are discussing a script, but I have not signed him for my film yet.

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