Vishal Bhardwaj’s Financial Sacrifice: Rs 30 Lakh Lost, No Earnings From Maqbool


Filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj’s acclaimed 2003 drama, “Maqbool,” is hailed as a modern masterpiece in Hindi cinema. However, the journey to bring this cinematic gem to life was filled with financial challenges and personal sacrifices.


A Director’s Dilemma

"Director Vishal Bhardwaj opens up about the challenges behind making Maqbool, disclosing how he sacrificed Rs 30 lakh in fees and hasn't earned a penny from the film till today. Read on to discover the filmmaker's dedication and financial struggles in bringing Maqbool to the silver screen."

In a recent interview, Bhardwaj revealed the hurdles he faced, highlighting that he hasn’t earned a single penny from “Maqbool” to date. Two weeks before the scheduled shoot, he contemplated quitting the film due to financial constraints.

Sacrificing Fees for Vision

Bhardwaj made significant sacrifices, giving up his fees for directing, writing, editing, and composing music to secure a specific location crucial for the film’s aesthetic. The desired haveli, chosen to evoke an old-world charm, became a pivotal element in the director’s vision.


Budget Woes and Last-Minute Changes

Co-producer Bobby Bedi dropped a bombshell just 15 days before the shoot, informing Bhardwaj that the budget couldn’t cover the unit’s travel from Mumbai to Bhopal. This prompted a difficult decision – shoot in a different location or abandon the film.

A Weekend of Disheartenment

Disheartened by the potential collapse of the project, Bhardwaj turned off his phone for an entire weekend. The turning point came when Bedi’s team visited him, proposing a solution that required Bhardwaj to contribute his Rs 30 lakh salary for the shoot.


No Financial Returns, but Priceless Rewards

Despite being a co-producer, Bhardwaj disclosed that he never received any payment for “Maqbool.” However, he emphasized that the film’s intangible rewards far outweighed the financial sacrifices.

Upholding Creative Vision

Bhardwaj’s determination to honor his vision extended to even the smallest details. When faced with the crew’s inability to procure the right-sized carrom board, the director took matters into his own hands, literally throwing money at the situation.

A Cinematic Triumph

“Maqbool,” a cinematic adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, went on to achieve critical acclaim and was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. Bhardwaj’s commitment to his craft and the film’s success overshadowed the initial financial setbacks.

In retrospect, these challenges, sacrifices, and unwavering dedication have become part of the unique narrative behind the creation of “Maqbool,” solidifying Vishal Bhardwaj’s legacy in the world of Indian cinema.

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