Vishal Bhardwaj is a prominent and well-renowned Indian composer, film director and writer in the Indian film industry. Born in 1965, his interest in music can be traced directly to his father, who was a respected poet and lyricist. Bhardwaj mostly picked up his fondness for music from his father only, with the harmonium as the first instrument he learned. Over the years, Bhardwaj has expanded in to and explored different horizons in arts, mostly focusing on his film and music careers. Although starting off as a musician and composer, he later sought special interest in directing, producing and writing for films, primarily in Bollywood.
Bhardwaj spent the first few years of his childhood studying at the Hindu College of Dehli University, where he increasingly concentrated on his musical passions. He began by playing Harmonium for classical groups and Ghazal singers. After a while, Bhardwaj started showing interest in composing music and having heard of his abilities and skills, R.V. Pandit approached him with a prospect for a partnership in his music company. A defining feature of Bhardwaj’s works was the conventional, yet crucial element of simplicity. His tunes, especially the ones he composed earlier on, were arranged in a very straightforward as well as an eloquent manner. This characteristic is probably what drove some key music composers of the day to work with Bhardwaj.
What really introduced Bhardwaj to the music industry were his first few projects with Gulzar, an acclaimed lyricist. Together with Gulzar, Bhardwaj began work on popular TV serials like The Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland and Gubbare. Up till now, however, he had just been concentrating resources to mostly TV serials and miniature televised projects. In 1996, Bhardwaj collaborated with Gulzar on a blockbuster film called Maachis, for which he made the sound track. The album for the film featured the voices of experienced Indian singers such as Lata Mangeshkar, Hariharan and Suresh Wadhkar, in songs like Chappa Chappa and Chod Aaye Hum. This production would ignite a long-lasting professional relationship between Bhardwaj and Gulzar, in that the latter would provide lyrics and the former arrange them in to complete compositions. For the next few years, some other popular films such as Satya (1998), Chaachi 420 (1998) and Jahan Tum Le Chalo (1999) all had Bhardwaj trademark labels on their musical scores.
After the success of Maachis however, Bhardwaj had grown fond of Indian cinema and hence, considered the prospect of directing films mostly to enjoy the process of composing musical scores. It was only in early 2002 when he directed his first movie, a children’s film called Makdee. Having received mixed reviews from the critics, he decided to wait a few more years until putting together a unique approach to a Shakespeare adaptation of Macbeth, called Maqbool (2003). This ultimately put Bhardwaj firmly in the driving seat, after which he went on to direct multi-award winning movies such as Omkara (2006), Kaminey (2009) and Ishkiya (2010).
In career spanning a little less than two decades, Vishal Bhardwaj has managed to explore multiple platforms in the music as well as film industry. Because of his tremendous efforts in contributing meaningfully and with class to classical composition and film, he has won several awards for Best Musical Composition, Best Direction and other well-acclaimed awards on national setting.