Bollywood filmmaker-composer Vishal Bhardwaj.
Bollywood filmmaker-composer Vishal Bhardwaj.File photo | PTI

Some magic happened there: Vishal Bhardwaj on 20 years of 'Maqbool'

The filmmaker said he struggled till 2004 before getting a chance to make the film and the rest, as they say, is history.

NEW DELHI: Some magic happened there, says Vishal Bhardwaj about his much acclaimed "Macbeth" adaptation "Maqbool", which completes 20 years of its release on Tuesday.

The film, the first of his Shakespeare trilogy, didn't do well in theatres, didn't make much money and there was no actor willing to take on the title role -- finally played by Irrfan Khan.

"Maqbool", which also starred Tabu, Pankaj Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri, set the Shakespearean tragedy in the Mumbai underworld.

"When I look back, the one thing that I feel very nice and proud of is that I could achieve a timeless quality in that film. It is not just because of me but the whole unit and actors... Some magic happened there," Bhardwaj told PTI in an interview.

He credits the film, which released on January 30, 2004, for making him a "star filmmaker" overnight.

"Even now, when you watch the film, it does not feel dated. I have to sometimes remind myself that it's already 20 years because it feels like I was struggling just recently to make 'Maqbool'. It didn't do well in theatres. It didn't do any business but so much appreciation," he said.

Bhardwaj, 58, started out as a music composer in the film industry and turned to direction with "Makdee" in 2002. He already had the script ready for "Maqbool" at the time.

"But when I tried to make 'Maqbool', I could not get money or stars. I approached everybody, except Aamir, Shah Rukh and Salman, and almost everyone rejected it. Some said, 'Arrey, hero loser hai', 'Arrey, ye to badi depressing film hai', 'Underworld is done to death, 'Satya and Parinda are already there so who can make a better film than this'?" he recalled.

The filmmaker said he struggled till 2004 before getting a chance to make the film and rest, as they say, is history.

Bhardwaj later went on to complete his Shakespeare trilogy with "Omkara", an adaptation of "Othello" in 2006, and "Haider" from "Hamlet" in 2014.

He now wants to look at Shakespeare's comedies but said it will take some time.

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