Last year, his film Haider impressed critics and movie-goers. But the Shahid Kapoor-Tabu-starrer also ran into controversy, as it was set in the insurgency-hit Kashmir of 1995. Now, with the movie winning five National Awards, film-maker Vishal Bhardwaj is “very happy” with the honour. But, he adds, “I’m a bit sad for Shahid. He should have got the National Award for Best Actor. I feel his was the best male performance (of last year).”
Nonetheless, he feels that Haider’s win “proves the power of democracy”. Given the controversies faced by the film, he expected a snub. “But when we (industry representatives) met the Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting (Rajyavardhan Rathore) recently, he said that the Ministry has nothing to do with whatever is happening in the Central Board of Film Certification, and that they are pained by the board’s attitude. He said they would set things right,” says Bhardwaj.
In the next week or so, the film-maker says he’ll decide on his next film, out of the two or three stories that he currently has in mind. He also speaks proudly of the Broadway version of Monsoon Wedding (2001), which he was working on in the US recently. He says, “I am composing 16-17 original English songs for it. It will open in August 2016. It’s going to be the biggest musical high for me next year.”
While Vishal has made several critically acclaimed films such as Maqbool (2003) and Omkara (2006), among others, the film-maker considers Haider to be his most successful film so far. “It has done very well in terms of box-office collections, critical acclaim, and it also won five National Awards. This film has also made me fearless,” says the director.
On another note, while Vishal is on cloud nine after bagging the National Awards, he admits that while making a film, winning an award is the last thing on a film-maker’s mind. “At that time, you are only concerned about one thing — whether what’s written on paper (in the script) can be achieved or not. So, at that time, awards are nowhere in your thoughts. But if someone says that he doesn’t care about National Awards, then that person is lying.”