Vishal Bhardwaj on Wednesday said he considers himself a “gangster at heart”, a signature that reflects in his filmography.
The director-music composer was asked how he was able to deviously score melodious songs and yet show violence in his films.
To this he replied, “I think I’m a gangster at heart. And the violence is more captivating on screen. If two movies are been released side-by-side, say one of Vivekananda and Dawood Ibrahim, everyone will go and see Dawood Ibrahim.”
He said that like all people, his past experiences have moulded him but now the violence that had seeped into his being has “subsided”.
“But I try to find poetry in violence and there are many factors which had happened with me and which happen with everyone. Everyone goes through so many experiences in life. I think violence has now subsided within me. What I have experienced as a child that has taken shape of some violence within me. The best way was to take it out on screen rather than in life… To unburden myself, to clean myself.”
The filmmaker was in conversation with documentary filmmaker-writer Nasreen Munni Kabir for NDFC’s Film Bazaar Knowledge Series session titled ‘Badlands & the ‘Gender”.
Bhardwaj said he finds that women characters are more interesting to explore.
The director has made films such as Makdee, Maqbool, Ishqiya, 7 Khoon Maaf and recently Pataakha that had fleshed out female parts.
“I have seen in my family that women have more strength. Men can look very strong physically from outside but in interiority they are weaker than the females. I’ve seen when the time of crisis comes, women come out stronger.
“Also in our cinema, in those days in the late ’80s and ’90s, we were using the female characters as props and even in early 2000s. Now female protagonists are at power with the male stars but otherwise whenever you go to a financier, even till ‘7 Khoon Maaf’, if you have a female protagonist, they would ask to cut down the budget by 30-40 per cent. We have not explored female characters in our cinema.”
He also talked about his frequent collaborator, actor Tabu and how they have been lucky for each other since the time he composed music for her film “Maachis”.
“She’s such a fantastic actor and she doesn’t make a big fuss about it that I’m doing some great homework or research. She actually makes fun of it (the process). I have seen her so that many times. She is emotionally so correct in whatever she plays and she was the first person to say yes to ‘Maqbool’. She was initially scared thinking if she would be able to pull it off.”
Bhardwaj said Tabu is the perfect “combination of spontaneity and not taking it seriously”.
“That’s why her performances come out so good. She doesn’t burden herself with the weight of something,” he added.
The duo later also worked together in Haider.