• Monday, April 22, 2024

Arts and Culture

The top 10 Mahesh Bhatt films

Telling Stories: Mahesh Bhatt


Legendary Bollywood filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt will turn a year older this week and celebrate his 74th birthday on September 20.

The writer, director, and producer has masterminded popular movies, which have entertained cross-generational audiences across the decades. He has also introduced new talent and kick-started franchises. The movie maverick will no doubt receive warm wishes on his big day, including from his superstar daughter Alia Bhatt and famous son-in-law Ranbir Kapoor.

Eastern Eye decided to join the celebrations by listing his top 10 movies.

Arth (1982): After a number of misfires, Bhatt made his big breakthrough as a writer and director with this all-time Bollywood classic based on his own extra-marital affair. Shabana Azmi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda and Smita Patil played the lead roles in a drama about a marriage being destroyed by infidelity. Shabana Azmi would win multiple honours for her stunning performance, including a National Award for Best Actress.

Saaransh (1984): This story of an elderly couple coming to terms with the loss of their only son received rave reviews and was India’s official entry for the 1985 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Anupam Kher completely transformed himself for the star-making role and won a well-deserved Filmfare Award for Best Actor. Writer-director Bhatt would win a Filmfare Award for Best Story for his deeply emotional drama.

Naam (1986): This film is largely remembered for the iconic song Chithi Aayi Hai, but it is so much more than that. Bhatt was on directing duties for this powerful drama of two brothers taking contrasting paths and how one of them goes abroad to seek a better life, but is faced with tragedy. This film documented the immigrant experience brilliantly and remains relevant today.

Daddy (1989): Bhatt was once again on directing duties for this low-budget film with a big giant beating heart. His daughter Pooja Bhatt made her acting debut opposite Kher in this stand-out drama of a young girl who helps her father overcome his alcoholism. The unique film would win various awards, including multiple acting honours for lead star Kher.

Aashiqui (1990): Rahul Roy and Anu Aggarwal made their film debuts in this iconic romantic drama, which produced one of the biggest selling soundtracks of all time. Bhatt directed the intense love story, which connected strongly with audiences. He would later produce successful spiritual sequel Aashiqui 2 (2013), which also had wonderful songs and a memorable love story.

Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin (1991): This stunning adaptation of legendary Hollywood film It Happened One Night (1934) is one of the greatest Bollywood road movies of all time. Bhatt brilliantly directed the story of an heiress who runs away and ends up going on an unexpected journey with a loud-mouthed journalist. Pooja Bhatt and Aamir Khan are superb in the lead roles of a marvellous musical filled with memorable moments.

Sadak (1991): Bhatt directed this powerful romantic thriller starring Sanjay Dutt and Pooja Bhatt. The story of a taxi driver trying to help a young woman sold into prostitution had many powerful moments and one of the most memorable on-screen villains of all time. Like many of his films, the box office success had a brilliant soundtrack.

Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (1993): Bhatt directed this multiple award-winning film, which was heavily inspired by classic Hollywood film Houseboat (1958). Aamir Khan and Juhi Chawla headlined the film about a man who is the guardian of his deceased sister’s mischievous kids, and how a runaway woman positively impacts them. The heart-warming film had great music and a beautiful central love story.

Zakhm (1999): Many would argue that this powerful drama is the finest film of Bhatt’s career. He wrote and directed the heartfelt story based on actual events. The story sees a Hindu man fighting to give his Muslim mother a proper burial, in the light of inter-religious riots and radicals determined to cremate her. Through flashback, we see the painful background to his plight. It would win a Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration and lead star Ajay Devgn earned a National Award for Best Actor.

Raaz (2002): The supernatural horror inspired by Hollywood film What Lies Beneath (2000) kick-started a new Bollywood phase for Bhatt as a writer. The sleeper super hit would trigger a successful franchise. Other successful films he would write included Jism (2003) and Gangster (2006). He would also produce multiple hits during this phase including Murder (2004), which also evolved into a franchise.

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