December 9, 2017
His core desire was just to sing his heart out, but
filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj, in the later stage of his life, utilised his sense of
music in a much meaningful manner in storytelling.
A rare gem in the Indian film industry, he has made his mark not only with his series of the Indian adaptation of William Shakespeare's plays in the form of films like "Maqbool", "Omkara" and "Haider", but also known for his distinct voice as a playback singer and music composer.
Some of his last few films like "Madaari", "Haider", "Talvar" and "Rangoon" as a film director and music composer, give a sense of his opinion on socio-political issues.
Asked how he uses the power of music in his films, Bhardwaj told IANS here: "I always try to use music as part of the narration that fits in. In films, the story and a certain situation choose the music... the narration demands it.
"In a way, it is limiting but that is what film music is about."
Giving an example of how he chooses tunes for a situation in his film, he said: "The tune of the song ‘Jhelum' was what I had composed in the year 1985. After so many years, I got a chance to use the song in ‘Haider' in 2014.
"I think I am fortunate to use that tune and it holds the same relevance in this era. This is how film music works... A situation chooses its tune."
The National Award-winning filmmaker then recalled the time when he composed the tune.
He said he had composed the tune of "Jhelum" after the demise of his father, in 1985. In the film also, the song has been used when the character Haider, played by Shahid Kapoor, looks for his lost father and in the end of the search, he finds out that his father is dead.
"Yes, that is the connection, and therefore the film ‘Haider' will remain close to my heart, always," Bhardwaj, consumed by emotions, said as he took a deep breath.
Born in Chandpur village of Uttar Pradesh, as a child Bhardwaj had a keen interest in cricket, poetry and music. In fact, he played for the state team of under 19. However, a major injury changed his destiny of becoming a cricketer and after a struggle, he started working as a music director for films like "Maachis", "Satya", "Hu Tu Tu", "Godmother" and "Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar".
Then he made his debut as a film director in 2002 with the film "Makdee".
As he is making his singing debut for the seventh season of Royal Stag Barrel Select MTV Unplugged, he has recreated one of his own compositions "Paani paani re" from "Maachis". The episode will be aired on Saturday.
Bhardwaj has collaborated for it with Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. Recreating the song has been quite an experience, he said.
"I was nervous, but when I went on stage, I was confident because in between I practiced a lot. You know one feels fearful if not prepared enough. I gained the confidence by practicing the song so much that in the end, the fear went off," said Bhardwaj.
"It was an interesting process for me to re-imagine the song, which actually not me, but my music producer Ketan Sodha did. He brought a fresh approach to the song.
"‘Paani paani re' was recorded in 1995. It was an honour for me to sing with him and share the stage with him. It is almost like a duet, where he sang along (through his instrument Mohan Veena)."