By: PTI | New Delhi | Published: May 20, 2018 10:27:22 pm Bollywood filmmaker Vishal Bharadwaj talks about his connection with William Shakespeare. Related News

It was love at first sight for Vishal Bhardwaj when he chanced upon William Shakespeares Macbeth and found his Mumbai-based gangster drama Maqbool in the tragedy, making the Bard his biggest source of inspiration. Bhardwaj, who has also given Shakespearean tragedies — Othello (Omkara) and Hamlet (Haider)– an interesting twist to suit Indian sensibilities, says his instant connection with the authors writings was an accident.

“I fell in love with Shakespeare accidentally. I had made Makdee and after that I wanted to make a film on gangster genre. But I wanted to make a film which was beyond gang wars, bullets, guns and blood. “We have a godson, whose name is Alaap. He was studying in Dehradun and I was coming to Delhi with him in a train. I was getting bored so I asked him to give me a storybook. So, thats how I read Macbeth. I felt it could be a very good story for a gangster film. I read it again after coming back to Mumbai and I started adapting,” Bhardwaj said during a session titled “Word to Screen: Translating Shakespeare and Ruskin Bond” at the ongoing 13th Habitat Film Festival.

Bhardwaj said his initial “ignorance” towards Shakespeares literature was “bliss” for him as he was able to adapt “Macbeth” fearlessly. “When I was adapting Shakespeare for the first time I didnt have the realisation what I was getting into. I was just looking at the masses, who didnt know much about Shakespeare. I felt no body will get bothered with whatever I was doing with his literature.

“I was fearless. I had this instinctive connection with his literature, which probably nobody else had. I just wanted to see the conflicts he had in our own culture and society,” he said. The director, however, faced serious nerves when Maqbool premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2003 and he realised the importance of Shakespeares work in world cinema.

irrfan khan and tabu in maqbool Maqbool premiered at Toronto International Film Festival in 2003.

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“I realised that I was in a dangerous zone when the film was screened at Toronto International Film Festival. There was a premiere and then media interactions. That was the time I realised that it was dangerous. “The only thing I had in my mind at that time was thank God I did a decent job. Otherwise they would have ripped me apart,” he recalled.

Bhardwaj, who is currently reading two classics by the iconic English writer, said his mentor and frequent collaborator Gulzar believes he is “exploiting Shakespeare the brand. But I disagree with him. I tell him, for me, Shakespeare is an inspiration. I chose to have Shakespeares name when I was told it will be harmful for me. I am acknowledging my source. I cant say it is my own, if I am using references from his writings,” he said.

“Probably… I do it so that I can steal his writings openly,” he quipped.

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