– Haider –
Screenplay by Vishal Bhardwaj and Basharat Peer
With the release of Haider, his recent adaptation of Hamlet, Vishal Bhardwaj has completed his Shakespeare trilogy. Translating the Bard’s great tragedies into Hindi and re-imagining them through popular cinema, Bhardwaj has proven himself to be one of Bollywood’s most innovative and controversial directors. His first Shakespeare film was Maqbool (Macbeth), set in the underworld of Mumbai, which was followed by Omkara(Othello) transposed into the badlands of western UP. Now Haider (Hamlet) explores the dangerous and disputed terrain of Kashmir, where the politics of separatism and violence provides a parallel narrative to the Prince of Denmark’s darkest torment. Vishal Bhardwaj brings together a poisonous yet intoxicating mix of sex, brutality and survival in one of the most beautiful valleys in the world.
– Omkara –
Screenplay by Vishal Bhardwaj, Robin Bhatt and Abhishek Chaubey
The film Omkara turned a common form of abuse, “chootiya” (fucking idiot) into a poetic refrain that runs through this tortured narrative of jealousy and desire. Shakespeare’s Othello travelled from Venice to Cyprus and explored racial prejudice and sexual revenge. Based on this classic tragedy, Vishal Bhardwaj’s film depicts the criminal subculture of rural Uttar Pradesh, as a complex drama of power and deceit, as well as desperate longing and possessive love. Bhardwaj’s music, with lyrics written by Gulzar, celebrates the coarse passions of its characters from the brooding hero with his band of ruthless thugs, to the enticing songs of Billoo Chamanbahar, a seductress with the sting of salt on her tongue.
– Maqbool –
Screenplay by Vishal Bhardwaj and Abbas Tyrewala
Nothing could be farther removed from the foggy moors of Scotland, than the gritty streets of Mumbai and a gangster’s hideway on the outskirts of that city. But the grim tragedy of Macbeth seems ideally suited to Vishal Bhardwaj’s retelling of that fatal drama. If he were to have been transported to a cinema today, William Shakespeare would never have recognized his own tale but Bhardwaj remains true to the narrative of murder and betrayal, with indelible bloodstains and prophecies of doom. Maqboolwas the first film in this trilogy, hailed as a landmark in Hindi cinema, when Bollywood seemed to finally come of age.
Harper Collins have published Vishal Bhardwaj’s screenplays in bilingual editions. Purchase these from you local bookseller or on Flipkart or Amazon.com