Can Live My Life on Shakespeare: Vishal Bhardwaj

Jaipur
Can Live My Life on Shakespeare: Vishal Bhardwaj
File-AP PHOTO/MANISH SWARUP
Can Live My Life on Shakespeare: Vishal Bhardwaj
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+0553

Filmmaker Vishal, who has adapted three of Shakespeare's plays into movies says he can spend a lifetime on the preeminent dramatist's texts.

"There is so much variety and depth in Shakespeare's text. I can pick up any play and make a movie on it. I can simply live my life on Shakespeare," Bhardwaj said during a session at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival.

The session titled "Hamlet's Dilemma" featured the filmmaker along with journalist and co-writer of his recent flick Haider, Bhasharat Peer besides British theatre director Tim Supple and English professor Jerry Broton.

The session was moderated by Suhel Seth and mostly concentrated on the use of Shakespeare, and in particular, his tragedy Hamlet in Hindi cinema.

The 49-year-old filmmaker had made the first of his Shakespearean adaptation, Maqbool, based on Macbeth in 2003.

Omkara marked the second of Bhardwaj's Shakespearean endeavours, this time an adaptation of  Othello.

The third installment of Bharadwaj's Shakespearesque trilogy, Haider an adaptation of Hamlet, hit the theatres in October last year.

While the film received appreciation from all quarters, several questions were directed towards the filmmaker for only highlighting the plight of Kashmiri Muslims in the state and ignoring that of Kashmiri Pandits.

"The story of Kashmiri Pandits is not a less tragedy at all. But cinema gives you a choice and it was my choice to make a movie on this subject. Basically, my film's time period and the topic didn't allow me to focus on that tragedy," Bhardwaj said in reply to a question.

"Why only ask me? When Vidhu Vinod Chopra, a pandit himself, made Mission Kashmir no one asked him anything. The film was made in 2000 and the exodus happened much before- he could have made a film as well. I would like to make a film on that issue as well, but at my own time," Bhardwaj said.

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The filmmaker revealed to the audience how he had struck the idea of making Hamlet against the backdrop of Kashmir.

"I was reading journalist Basharat Peer's book Curfewed Night which is an account of the Kashmri conflict. I didn't intend to convey a political message but I realised that whatever had happened in Kashmir we have not been able to capture that in our films. We haven't been very unfair to the pain of Kashmir especially mainstream cinema," he said.

Pointing out that Hollywood would have done at least 100 films on such a conflict, Bharadwaj said, "I felt that as filmmakers we don't do our film deeply how could we miss in such a treasure I don't mean treasure in terms of the tragedy but as a subject. Haider definitely has a political tone but we wanted to underline that...No body is right and no body is wrong...Everyone was walking on a string..." he said.

"Infact to me Kashmir became Hamlet itself...In the film it's a resonating theme to be a militant or not to be, to be on this side of the border or not to be, that's an underlined theme...," added Bhardwaj.

Co-writer of the film Basharat Peer also recalled how the duo got working on the film.

"I hadn't woven the book with a cinematic theme, when Vishal had met me first...He said can we do it in Kashmir. I found that the themes of betrayal, of tension and all the dark forces in hamlet...I found those scenes in Kashmir conflict too and then went straight to the text."

"I am enthused by the fact that the world’s largest film industry is actually using a script writer who was born many many years ago and his work is being used to such fine acclaim," Peer said. 

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