9 best Vishal Bhardwaj movies to add to your weekend watch list; Omkara to Khufiya

Vishal Bhardwaj seamlessly blends genres, crafting compelling narratives with a unique directorial style. Check out some of Vishal’s best movies here!

Updated on Feb 20, 2024  |  06:49 PM IST |  67.4K
Omkara and Khufiya official poster
Picture Courtesy: IMDb

Vishal Bhardwaj, a luminary in the field of Indian cinema, stands as a multifaceted artist renowned for his contributions as a filmmaker, composer, and screenwriter. Born on August 4, 1965, in Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh, Vishal Bhardwaj’s films have significantly enriched Bollywood with unique storytelling prowess and distinct directorial style.

Bhardwaj's filmography is characterized by compelling narratives that often draw inspiration from classic literature, notably Shakespearean works, seamlessly transposing them into the Indian socio-cultural milieu. Naming some of the best Vishal Bhardwaj movies like Maqbool, Omkara, and Haider, the director has carved a niche for himself, exploring the complexities of human relationships and societal intricacies. Beyond his directorial achievements, Bhardwaj's musical compositions further underscore his artistic versatility, solidifying his legacy as a trailblazer in the world of Bollywood cinema. 

9 best Vishal Bhardwaj movies to watch:

1. Maqbool 


Known as one of Vishal Bhardwaj’s best films, it is a gripping Indian crime drama based on Shakespeare's Macbeth. Set in the Mumbai underworld, the film stars Irrfan Khan as Maqbool, the loyal henchman of a powerful don (Pankaj Kapur). As ambition and betrayal unfold, the movie explores themes of power, guilt, and complex relationships. With stellar performances and Bhardwaj's directorial finesse, Maqbool stands as a compelling cinematic adaptation, earning critical acclaim for its unique narrative and atmospheric storytelling.

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  • Cast - Irfaan Khan, Pankaj Kapur, Tabu
  • IMDb Rating - 8/10
  • Movie Genre - Crime, Action, Drama, Tragedy
  • Release Date - 2003

2. Omkara 


Omkara directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, is a riveting Indian crime drama adapted from Shakespeare's Othello. Set in the rustic heartland of Uttar Pradesh, the film stars Ajay Devgn as Omkara, a powerful and betrayed figure, and Saif Ali Khan as Langda Tyagi, his cunning and treacherous ensign. The narrative explores themes of jealousy, love, and political intrigue, delivering a powerful cinematic experience. 

  • Cast - Ajay Devgn, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Vivek Oberoi, Naseeruddin Shah, Konkona Sen Sharma
  • IMDb Rating - 8/10
  • Movie Genre - Action, Comedy, Thriller, Romance
  • Release Date - 2006

3. The Blue Umbrella


The Blue Umbrella directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, is a heartwarming Indian drama based on Ruskin Bond's novella. Set in a picturesque Himalayan village, the film revolves around Biniya (Shreya Sharma), a young girl who possesses a magical blue umbrella. The narrative beautifully captures the simple joys of life and explores themes of greed and compassion. With its enchanting cinematography and touching storyline, The Blue Umbrella is a visually stunning and emotionally resonant cinematic gem.

  • Cast - Shreya Sharma, Pankaj Kapur
  • IMDb Rating - 7.3/10
  • Movie Genre - Comedy, Musical, Children’s
  • Release Date - 2005

4. Haider


Haider, is one of Vishal Bhardwaj’s blockbuster movies,it  is a gripping Indian crime drama and a modern-day adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Set against the backdrop of the Kashmir conflict, the film stars Shahid Kapoor as Haider, a young man on a quest for vengeance. The narrative intricately weaves personal and political turmoil, exploring themes of betrayal, loss, and the impact of conflict on human relationships. 

  • Cast - Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, Shraddha Kapoor, Kay Kay Menon, Irrfan Khan
  • IMDb Rating - 8/10
  • Movie Genre - Action, Romance, Tragedy, Crime, Thriller
  • Release Date - 2014

5. Kaminey

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Kaminey, directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, is a dark comedy-drama set in the backdrop of Mumbai's underworld. The film follows the parallel lives of twin brothers, both portrayed by Shahid Kapoor, whose paths intersect with crime, politics, and unexpected twists. Bhardwaj's skillful direction and a dynamic performance by Kapoor makes Kaminey a gritty, fast-paced film with a unique narrative style.

  • Cast - Shahid Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Amole Gupte, Tenzing Nima, Shivkumar Subramaniam
  • IMDb Rating - 7.4/10
  • Movie Genre - Action, Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Release Date - 2009

6. 7 Khoon Maaf


7 Khoon Maaf , directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, is a dark and intriguing Indian thriller. Based on Ruskin Bond's short story, the film follows Susanna Anna-Marie Johannes (played by Priyanka Chopra), a woman who marries multiple times, each union leading to her husband's demise. Exploring themes of love, betrayal, and revenge, the movie unfolds as a gripping tale of Susanna's tumultuous relationships. Bhardwaj's directorial finesse and Chopra's compelling performance make 7 Khoon Maaf a captivating and unconventional cinematic experience.

  • Cast- Priyanka Chopra, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Irrfan Khan, Vivaan Shah, Naseerudin Shah, Usha Uthup, Annu Kapoor, Konkona Sen Sharam
  • IMDb Rating- 6.3/10
  • Movie Genre - Dark Comedy, Thriller, Musical
  • Release Date - 2011

7. Pataakha


Pataakha, directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, is a comedic drama centered on the tumultuous relationship between two sisters, Champa 'Badki' Kumari (Radhika Madan) and Genda 'Chhutki' Kumari (Sanya Malhotra). Set in a rural village, the film captures the sisters' constant quarrels, vividly portraying the highs and lows of their bond. With Bhardwaj's storytelling prowess, the movie blends humor and emotion, providing a fresh and entertaining take on sibling dynamics amidst the rustic backdrop of rural India.

  • Cast- Radhika Madan, Sanya Malhotra, Vijay Raaz, Sunil Grover, Namit Das, Saanand Varma
  • IMDb Rating- 7.2/10
  • Movie Genre - Action, Comedy, Adventure, Tragedy
  • Release Date - 2018

8. Khufiya 

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Khufiya, a web series directed and produced by Vishal Bhardwaj, encompasses biography, action, and crime genres. Starring Tabu, Ali Fazal, Wamiqa Gabbi, and Ashish Vidyarthi, the series revolves around the life of Krishna Mehra, a spy tasked with uncovering the mole selling India's defense secrets. Employing her dual identities as a spy and a lover, she navigates the complex mission. The series premiered on Netflix on October 5, 2023, offering an intriguing narrative of espionage and suspense.

  • Cast - Wamiqa Gabbi, Tabu, Ali Fazal, Azmeri Haque Badhon, Ashish Vidyarthi
  • IMDb Rating - 6.1/10
  • Movie Genre - Thriller, Spy, Action, Suspense
  • Release Date - 2023

9. Rangoon


Rangoon, directed by Vishal Bhardwaj, is a period drama set against the backdrop of World War II. Starring Saif Ali Khan, Shahid Kapoor, and Kangana Ranaut, the film follows the love triangle between an Indian film actress, her mentor, and a soldier. Bhardwaj weaves together romance, war, and political intrigue, creating a visually striking narrative. While praised for its performances and cinematography, Rangoon received mixed reviews for its complex plot.

  • Cast - Saif Ali Khan, Shahid Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut, Richard McCabe, Aalaap Majgavkar, Pankaj Kumar, Lin Laishram
  • IMDb Rating - 5.6/10
  • Movie Genre - Action, Romance, History, War
  • Release Date - 2017

In 1997, Vishal Bhardwaj won the Filmfare R. D. Burman Award for New Music Talent for Maachis and later secured the National Film Award for Best Music Direction for Godmother. His consecutive triumphs included The Blue Umbrella, honored with the National Film Award for Best Children's Film, and Omkara, which earned the National Film Award – Special Jury Award. Bhardwaj garnered dual Filmfare nominations for Kaminey as Best Director and Best Music Director. Bhardwaj's Shakespearean trilogy, comprising Maqbool, Omkara, and Haider, was showcased at the British Film Institute in London, commemorating William Shakespeare's 400th death anniversary. 

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ALSO READ: Vishal Bhardwaj thought Priyanka Chopra and Shahid Kapoor’s Kaminey won’t work: ‘There was so much conflict’

Best Vishal Bhardwaj movies

Is Haider based on Hamlet?
Yes, Haider is a modern-day adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet.

Are Rekha Bhardwaj and Vishal Bhardwaj related?
Yes, Rekha Bhardwaj and Vishal Bhardwaj are husband and wife.

What is the Indian Shakespeare trilogy?
Maqbool, Omkara, and Haider form the Indian Shakespeare trilogy.

Is it worth watching Haider?
Yes, with an IMDb of 8. It is worth watching with powerful storytelling and performances.

What are the upcoming films of Vishal Bhardwaj?
As of now, Vishal Bhardwaj has not announced any projects.

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About The Author

Drenched in the vibrant hues of Bollywood, Rajni Singh is an entertainment journalist with 3 years of experience in the

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Credits: IMDb
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