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Home > Movies > Interviews

The Rediff Interview / Vishal Bharadwaj

'Maqbool is not an underworld story'

Vijay Singh | January 29, 2004

As a musician, his roster reads some 12films. He was hailed as a major talent,but neverbecame a majorstar.

Vishal BharadwajAs a director, his roster reads two films. The first, Makdee, won second prize at the Children's Film Festival in Chicago. His second, Maqbool, has, over the last six months, travelled on the international circuitto Toronto, Florence, Berlin, Marrakech, Bangkok, Japan andDurban.

Perhaps it is William Shakespeare. Perhaps it is the impressivecast. Perhaps it is just self-assured talent. Whatever it is, Vishal Bharadwaj's Maqbool, based on Macbeth, haswon acclaim.

On the eve of the film's release,Bharadwaj spoke to Correspondent Vijay Singh about directing Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Pankaj Kapur, Tabu and Irrfan-- all in one film:

Your film is based on Macbeth.

Yes. It is inspired by Macbeth. It is aloose adaptation of the play.

In Macbeth, the drama is based in the Kingdom of Duncan. I adapted the script of Maqbool to set it against the Mumbai underworld.I have tried to portray all the emotions of the play in my film.

Just like Macbeth goes on a spree and killshis loved ones,the main character in Maqbool [played by Irrfan] does the same thing. He commits a wrong but does not want to accept his wrongdoings. Ultimately, he gets more and more cruel and starts killing all his loved ones.

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But Maqbool is not an underworld story. It is a story planted in the underworld. This story is based on relationships between human beings.

Why have you not used any commercially successful stars in your film?

All the actorsin my film are big stars in their own right,be it Irrfan, Tabu, Pankaj Kapur, Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri. If the role suits the actor, it does not matter to me whether he is a commercial star or not.

Did you approach any big star to act in the film?

I spoke to many people before casting Irrfan. I spoke to Anil Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Akshaye Khanna, but it did notwork out.

After completing Maqbool, I realised the acting chemistry between Irrfan, Pankaj, Tabu, Naseer and Om is out of this world. No one could have performedbetterthan them.

How did this film happen?

This film is co-produced Bobby Bedi and me. Hesaw Makdee and liked that very much. We spoke to each other about Maqbool. I had already written the script. He liked itand gave methe liberty to select the cast. We shot thefilm in Mumbai and Bhopal.

Pankaj Kapur and Irrfan in MaqboolYour cast is dominated byactors who are known to have strong opinions. Did you have any creative clashes?

It is only natural that you take others' opinion aboutyour script. You shouldbe open to suggestions. We did it, too. We had script sessions with all the artistes and it was very healthy.

How much does box-office success mean to you?

It is very important. Once the film becomes a hit at thebox-office, you get the money to produce and direct your next film.

Tell usabout your forthcoming films.

Right now, I am working on twoscripts. One will be produced by Shekhar Kapur called Mantra [starring Preity Zinta].Theother is Timbaktu [reportedly starring Aishwarya Rai and Vivek Oberoi. This film is based on Australian writer I A R Wylie's Pas De Quatre],whichI will produce and direct.

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