Vishal Bharadwaj is not a singer or composer or director… he is a poet. His movies cannot be classified in a particular genre, they are poems! After coming out of the theatre, a connoisseur comes out from an experience which is so complex & enriching that he would want to stay in it for next few days & just keep thinking about it.
He can mould Shakespearen plays in Indian context (Maqbool, Omkara), he can explain the importance of Science to children with a gem of storytelling (Makdee), he can take you deep into the mind of a troubled goon & make you empathize with him (Kaminey), he can justify a woman who killed her 6 husbands before finally settling with the 7th (Saat Khoon Maaf) and he can blast sharp, in-your-face satire on burning issues like SEZs, agricultural lands & Socialism in the most random & rib-tickling way (Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola).
Though sometimes I feel that Indian audience just does not deserve an artist like Bharadwaj, because 90% have absolutely no idea of what exactly Bharadwaj puts behind those movies. Like I said, he is a poet; his dialogs & scenes can, in fact, be assigned figures of speech because they are like a part of a gigantic poem or a larger-than-life play. You won’t even realize that he cracked a huge joke in a dialog or even in the way he shot a scene… that way I think the joke’s on us because it simply proves that we lack the intelligence to understand what he wants to convey. So, it would take 2-3 turns of watching his movies to completely understand the sheer depth of every element he uses… maybe more.
The surprising fact is that he became a director because he disliked the interference of film makers in his music when he worked for them as a music director! Now that’s just a whole lot of committment to music. So in his recent Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola, he used Qawwali-like aspects in a Karaoke party song (Oye Boy Charlie)! Or presented a song on corruption like a jingle which street actors use in street plays for awareness (Chor Police). Or the beauty of fusion in Khamakha where there was romance, Indian & African folk. A lot has already been spoken about the awesomeness of Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola here & here, so I would just say in reply, “my thoughts exactly.” In all, his movies are just too deep, metaphorical & detailed for Indian cinema goers, who look for entertainment in the form of foreign locations, designer clothes, dream songs & sequences, brainless plots & cliched styles of narration.
I am sure all movie makers would claim that they work hard in making the movies, which is true, but Vishal Bharadwaj stuff is so much more than just hard work. It takes genuine creativity, talent & huge huge amounts of guts to make movies with the plots & styles he chooses. I feel angry & find it painful to see almost empty cinema halls when I go to watch his movies while packed houses for 100-crore movies, which have absolutely no substance. Hence, I had decided long back to not ask for any reviews or opinions when it comes to Bharadwaj movies; I watch & form my own opinion. People have claimed that they got bored, slept, left during interval when they had gone to watch his movies; let me tell such people, Vishal Bharadwaj movies are too intelligent for you! You have the right to dislike his movies or disagree with his concepts but only if you watch them completely & understand them.