The second day of the 5th Brahmaputra Valley Film Festival wrapped with a riveting session with filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj. He spoke about his long journey in the movies and took questions from curious filmmakers in Guwahati, waiting to get a foot in the door. “Your heart breaks everyday while making a film. And you can’t keep crying over your broken heart. So you have to move on,” he advised them. Here are some of the highlights from his conversation –
ON EARLY SETBACKS
When I made Maqbool, I had a lot of problem in raising finances. Way before that, my first film called Barf was supposed to be produced by Ajay Devgn. But his film Raju Chacha had just failed so my film got shelved… I’ve had more films shelved than the number I’ve made.
THE BEST ADVICE HE’S EVER GOT
Gulzar saab gave me the best advice. He said, “Those who say they didn’t get an opportunity are lying. It’s about how prepared you were to cash in on the opportunity when it came. So keep your gun always loaded. You can’t go around looking for bullets at that time.”
ON WHY HE MADE ‘BEEDI JALAILE’ FOR OMKARA
I was feeling very restless that my music has not done well in long. So the whole idea was to make the biggest item number of the year. So my writer (Abhishek Chaubey) and I wrote a character called Billo Chaman Bahar in such a way that if someone were to go for a smoke break during the movie, they would miss something.
ON THE RECENT PERFORMANCES HE’S LOVED
Nawazuddin Siddiqui is brilliant. I’m in love with his performances. I loved Rajkummar Rao in Bareilly Ki Barfi as well. I’m so happy that their films are doing well and making more money than the commercial ones.
ON CONVINCING TABU TO PLAY MOTHER IN HAIDER
For Hamlet there were many choices. But for the mother, I only wanted Tabu. When I went to her, she said, "I’ll play a mother to anyone but Shahid Kapoor." Tabu and I are very old friends so I had a deeper ego. But then I had to break my ego. I don’t want to harm myself with my ego, if someone else is being harmed it’s okay! Then I went back to her and told her – It’s not about playing mother to Shahid Kapoor. It’s about playing Gertrude from Shakespeare. And I think that’s what did it.
ON THE FAILURE OF RANGOON
We worked on the script for 11 years. If I had known the reason for its failure, I would have rectified it before making it. To me Rangoon is a beautiful film. When Omkara released it was criticised really badly. Many articles were written on how I was ruining our culture by using that kind of language in a film. Now 10 years later people say, "What a film that was!"