Vishal Bhardwaj is a Bollywood Multitasker - he's a Writer, Director, Composer and a Singer. Born to Ram Bhardwaj, a poet & lyricist, and Satya Bhardwaj, a homemaker, in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh, he was raised in Meerut. He moved to Delhi as a young man and pursued his graduation in Hindu College of Delhi University, where he involved himself with Delhi Theatres and also met his wife, Rekha Bhardwaj there. He started his career by playing harmonium for not so well known ghazal singers at the various food festivals in Delhi's Pragati Maidan.
With his father being an eminent poet and lyricist, Bhardwaj grew up attending music recordings with his him, where he realized he could be a composer. It was during his 12th standard that his father happened to mention to Usha Khanna that Bhardwaj has composed a tune, which she used in her film Yaar Kasam after listening to it. A. V. Mohan gave him a break in Wahem. He was in his second year of graduation when he recorded his first song with Asha Bhosale.
Bhardwaj's father expired in 1984, due to which he couldn't leave Delhi for a considerably long time for the sake of his domestic responsibilities. He got a job as a Recording Manager in R. V. Pandit's company, who transferred him to Mumbai, the place he craved to be in the most even after the demise of his father, after a few years, quite certainly on emotional grounds. As one thing led to another, he met Gulzar, who asked him to do the Jungle Book, Alice in Wonderland and Gubbare. 5 years later, Pandit launched him as a music composer in a film produced by him and directed by Gulzar - Maachis, a film on the Amritsar Riots. The said music score earned Bhardwaj the Filmfare R. D. Burman Award in 1996.
After composing for few commercial hits like Satya (1998) & Chachi 420 (1998), he won a National Film Award for Best Music Direction for Godmother in 1999. He developed an interest in Film Direction after watching the retrospective of Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski during a film festival in Kerala. Makdee (2002) was his debut as a Composer, Director, Producer and Writer for Story & Dialogues for which he won a 2nd place at for Adults Jury Award at the Chicago Children's Film Festival in the "Live Action Feature Film or Video" Category. Maqbool (2003), a film based on Macbeth by Shakespear, did not do quite well in the box office, but earned international acclaim, winning him an International Indian Film Academy's Technical Excellence Award for Best Dialogue & Best Screenplay (shared with Abbas Tyrewala), & a Zee Cine Technical Award for Best Dialogue & Best Screenplay, and nominations for Golden Kinnaree Award for Best Film at Bangkok International Film Festival, & Zee Cine Award for Best Director & Best Story.
Bhardwaj also directed an 11 minute short film, which is a part of Mira Nair's series of HIV-AIDS awareness films. His next as a Composer, Director and Producer was The Blue Umbrella (2005), an adaptation of Ruskin Bond's story of the same name, which won him a National Film Award for Best Children's Film (shared with Ronnie Screwvala). His immediate next, Omkara (2006), loosely based on Shakespear's Othello, won him a National Film Special Jury Award, a Cairo International Film Festival Award for Best Artistic Contribution in Cinema of a Directora Kara Film Festival Award for Best Music Director and nominations for Filmfare Award for Best Director and International Indian Film Academy's Popular Award for Best Dialogue, Best Director, Best Music Director, Best Screenplay (shared) & Best Story.
After films like Dus Kahaniyaan (2007) as a Writer for Dialogues & Screenplay, Nishabd (2007) as Composer, No Smoking (2007) as Composer & Producer and U, Me Aur Hum (2008) as Composer again, his next commercial hit was Shahid Khan & Priyanka Chopra starrer, Kaminey (2009), which did extremely well at the box office and was nominated for the Filmfare Best Director and Best Music Director Award. Ishqiya (2010) won him a Natinal Film Award for Best Music Direction and a nomination for Filmfare Best Music Director Award, earning more than 15 crores within the first 2 weeks of its release. Yet another adaptation of his, 7 Khoon Maaf, based on Ruskin Bond's Susanna's Seven Husbands was welcomed with overall mixed reviews.
Bhardwaj alongwith producer Ekta Kapoor released the film 'Ek Thi Daayan' in 2013 which did average at the box office with his unconventional story.