top of page

It’s like going back in time when I shot Omkara here at Lucknow University: Vishal Bhardwaj

Vishal Bhardwaj at Lucknow University (BCCL / Farhan Ahmad Siddiqui)

Director-poet-writer and now singer Vishal Bhardwajcouldn’t help reminiscing his days spent in Lucknow. The 'Maqbool' and 'Haider' director was in the city to attend an event at the Lucknow University (LU) last weekend. At the university, Bhardwaj was reminded of the days he had shot the film 'Omkara' there with actors Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor-Khan and Vivek Oberoi. "It’s like going back in time when I shot 'Omkara' here at Lucknow University," said Vishal, adding "We got the permission very easily to shoot in the university but what had been difficult was to shoot here. Because – and it was understandable – itne bade stars yahan shooting kar rahe thay and at that time, Lucknow mein shootings bahut kam hoti thi. So people weren’t so used to seeing stars from so near. Isliye it became a little tough for us to contain the crowd of students jo shooting dekhne aa jate thay. It’s all come back to me today when I came here. Bahut-bahut maza aaya tha yahan shoot karne mein. I remember woh ek scene tha 'I just called to say I love you' wala, jisme Vivek gaa raha hai aur Kareena baithi hui hai practicing the song. Woh scene humne yahan hi shoot kiya tha, aur kaafi cheezen kari thi. That time, the students were very excited to see the shooting toh uss excitement ko control karna mushkil ho gaya tha. One day we had to cancel the shooting and complete it the next day because it had become impossible to control the crowd. Of course, I can understand that excitement of the students, itne saare stars thay unke beech. But I think after Omkara so many film shooting have happened here that people have now got used to seeing stars in Lucknow. Uss waqt toh nahi hoti thi aur itne bade stars nahi aate thay."

Vishal Bhardwaj (L) posed with a sketch of his made by (R) Abhinav Dwivedi as SP Singh, LU VC (centre) watches (BCCL/ Farhan Ahmad Siddiqui) "Humne aur bhi bahut jagah 'Omkara' ki shooting kari thi Lucknow mein. In fact, a lane here has been named Omkara because that’s where we shot the fight scene of Vivek Oberoi. So when filmmakers come to Lucknow to shoot, they’re given the reference of Omkara gali. Then I also shot the 'Dham Dham Dhadaiya' song on the outskirts of Lucknow,” he shared.

Talking about his days spent in the city as a youngster, Vishal recalled, "I have spent a lot of time here. When I used to play cricket, we would be camped at a ground in Gulabganj for months. The inter-state cricket team used to be selected here, the tournament also used to be held here. I’ve lived in Lucknow for months. Later also I have visited Lucknow several times. My maasi used to live here in Daliganj, now my cousins stay here. Then one has to look for a reason to eat Tundey ke kebab, which brings me here often."

Apart from 'Omkara', Vishal also shot a commercial starring Lucknow-born actor Aditi Sharma a few years ago. "Main abhi bhi aksar aata rehta hoon yahan," he said, adding, "Lucknow is such a beautiful city with so much of history. Aur ek bahut hi kamaal ka culture hai yahan ka jo ki kahin aur nahi hai. Woh jab aap shehar mein kadam rakhte hain toh woh aapko feel hone lagta hai. So it's always a pleasure to be here in Lucknow." In an interaction with the media and the students, the 'Rangoon' filmmaker expressed his disdain at all the controversy regarding the film 'Padmaavat'. Expressing his thought succinctly, Bharadwaj said, “Films are still made for entertainment but they are given a different shift altogether, 'Padmaavat' was made for entertainment, what’s so objectionable in it? What do I say about this? Aajkal, films se cheap publicity bahut jaldi milti hai. Aur film ke liye bhi bahut achha hota hai. Ki mazaa aa gaya 250 crore ekdum se kama liye bina kuchh kiye hue."

The director-writer, who’s taken to singing extensively these days and recently also released a set of his poems, agrees that he’s now succumbing to the pressure of doing too many things, all at once. "I can see the effect of multitasking. I forget where I have kept my specs but I remember what that character is doing in that story. So this multitasking is taking its toll on me now. I’m getting tired of it now and really want to cut down on it," he said.

"Mujhe iska dukh bhi, if I'll be frank, of doing too many things together, because I feel if I had done only music then perhaps, it would have been of a different level altogether. But ek level ka success achieve karke, then I shifted to direction. So now I realize that meri udaan jo hai woh thodi Bach aur Beethoven hai aur mein kar raha hoon Bollywood ka music. So maybe from outside someone may feel I am very successful but in my hearts of hearts I feel incomplete. That perhaps, if I had just stuck with one thing, I would have done much much better. Ek hi jagah energy lagayi and didn’t excel in it."

After that confession ask Vishal what he would like to concentrate now and he instantly replies, "Music! Music is something else. Films toh bahut hi pareshani wala kaam hai. Take 300 people to the set, motivate them, actors ke nakhre jhelen phir falani senaon ki dhamki se deal karein. Itni saari senayen khadi ho gayi hain ab toh. Toh isse achha hai music apne ghar mein banayen, AC kamre mein baith ke, record karein aur gaayen."


Featured Posts
Recent Posts