Mahesh Bhatt

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Mahesh Bhatt
Mahesh Bhatt still7.jpg
Bhatt in 2011
Native name મહેશ ભટ્ટ
Born (1948-09-20) 20 September 1948 (age 68)[1]
Bombay, Maharashtra, India
Nationality Indian
Occupation Director, producer, screenwriter
Spouse(s) Kiran Bhatt
Soni Razdan
Children Pooja Bhatt (b. 1972)
Rahul Bhatt (b. 1982)
Shaheen Bhatt (b. 1988)
Alia Bhatt (b. 1993)
Parent(s) Nanabhai Bhatt
Shirin Mohammad Ali
Relatives See Bhatt family

Mahesh Bhatt (born 20 September 1948) is an Indian film director, producer and screenwriter known for his works exclusively in Hindi cinema. A stand-out film from his earlier period is Saaransh (1984), screened at the 14th Moscow International Film Festival, and became India's official entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for that year.[2] The 1986 film Naam was his first piece of commercial cinema. In 1987, he turned producer with the film Kabzaa under the banner, "Vishesh Films", with his brother Mukesh Bhatt.

Bhatt went on to become one of the most recognized directors of the Indian film industry in the next decade, giving both art-house works such as Daddy (1989) and Swayam (1991, and launching his daughter Pooja Bhatt as a movie actress, ) — as well as commercial romantic hits like Awaargi (1990), Aashiqui (1990) and Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin (1991), in which he cast Pooja with actor Aamir Khan. He next directed Sadak (1991) which remains his highest grossing either directed or produced under the banner, "Vishesh Films".

During the 1990s Bhatt won critical acclaim for Sir (1993), along with other hits such as Gumraah (1993) and Criminal (1994). In 1994 he won the National Film Award – Special Jury Award for directing Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (1993). In 1999, he directed the autobiographical Zakhm, which has garnered the Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration. Bhatt has produced contemporary films such as Jism, Murder and Woh Lamhe.[3] He co-owns film producing company Vishesh Films with his brother Mukesh Bhatt.[4]

Early life and family[edit]

Bhatt was born to Nanabhai Bhatt and Shirin Mohammad Ali.[5] Bhatt's father was a Hindu Gujarati Brahmin and his mother was a Gujarati Muslim of Dawoodi Bohra background.[6][7][8]

Among his siblings is the Indian film producer Mukesh Bhatt. Bhatt did his schooling from Don Bosco High School, Matunga. While still in school, Bhatt started summer jobs to earn money, while also making product advertisements. He was introduced to film director Raj Khosla through acquaintances. Bhatt thus started as assistant director to Khosla. Bhatt married his first wife Kiran (born Lorraine Bright) whom he had met while still a student. His romance with her was the inspiration for his film Aashiqui.[3] Bhatt and Kiran had two children (Pooja Bhatt and Rahul Bhatt) but his marriage stumbled following the difficulties of his early career. Bhatt later fell in love with actress Soni Razdan and married her.[3]


At the age 26 Bhatt made his debut as a director with the film Manzilein Aur Bhi Hain in 1974. His 1979 Lahu Ke Do Rang, starring Shabana Azmi and Vinod Khanna in lead roles, won two Filmfare Awards in 1980:[9] Helen received her first Filmfare as Best Supporting Actress and Madhukar Shinde won it for Best Art Direction. The film did "above average" at the box office.[10] He was noticed and received great critical acclaim with art film Arth (1982), when he turned to his personal life for inspiration but doubt persists as to whether it is an original film. Later, he made many more films taking insights from his personal life wherein he highlighted personal narratives ranging from out-of-wedlock birth, to extramarital affair, and created critically acclaimed works such as Janam (1985) and Saaransh (1984), an exploration of an old couple's anxieties in a universe governed by arbitrary violence, (1986).

Bhatt had one of his biggest releases with musical romance film Aashiqui (1990), in collaboration with T-Series. The film launched Rahul Roy, Anu Agarwal and Deepak Tijori in the lead roles and became a major commercial success due to hugely popular soundtrack by Nadeem-Shravan, which catapulted the music director duo into stardom. He launched his daughter Pooja Bhatt as a lead actress opposite Aamir Khan in Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin (1991). The film was a commercial success and hugely acclaimed for its soundtrack. Bhatt's directorial Saathi (1991) was the only major success for Aditya Pancholi as a lead actor, thus giving a boost to his career. It was the biggest hit of the actor's career.[citation needed]

Bhatt's biggest release during that time was Sir (1993). The film launched Atul Agnihotri opposite Pooja Bhatt and Naseeruddin Shah was featured in the title role of an aspiring and dedicated teacher. The film was a commercial success and gained critical acclaim for Bhatt's direction and the acting of Shah, Pooja, Agnihotri and Paresh Rawal. The film had an acclaimed and popular soundtrack by Anu Malik, which gave a boost to the music director's stellar career and he joined the league of top music directors of Bollywood.

In 1995 he moved to television, then a newly opening medium in India. He made two TV series in 1995: the English language A Mouthful of Sky written by Ashok Banker and the popular Hindi language serial Swabhimaan scripted by writer Shobha De. He directed another TV series, Kabhie Kabhie, in 1997 which was written by Anurag Kashyap, Vinta Nanda and Kamlesh Kunti Singh. He is known to have copied many Hollywood movies into mainstream Hindi movies without even acknowledging it. For example, Fugitive was remade in Hindi as Criminal. He has many times copied portion of Hollywood movie scene and enacts into his films. Following this, he directed dramas like Dastak (1996), the debut film of Miss Universe 1994-turned-actress Sushmita Sen, and Tamanna (1997), and tried his hand at comedy with Duplicate in 1998. Zakhm (1998) based on the Mumbai riots of 1993.

Kangana Ranaut and Mahesh Bhatt posing for the camera
Bhatt with Kangana Ranaut at the success party for Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai in 2010

His last film as director was Kartoos (1999). Thereafter, Bhatt retired a director and took to screenwriting, churning out stories and screenplays for over twenty films, many of which were box-office successes, like Dushman, Raaz, Murder (2004), Gangster (2006), Woh Lamhe (2006), based on the life of actress Parveen Babi, along with many more. His banner vishesh films still continues operating today as one of Indian Cinemas leading production banners. Bhatt entered into the world of theatre with his protege Imran Zahid as of now he has produced three plays.The Last Salute, based on Muntadhar al-Zaidi's book of the same title, a journalist investigating atrocities Trial of Errors, that opened on 29 March 2013 in Delhi. stage adaptation of Bhatt of his movie, Arth (film).,[11][12][13][14] Bhatt also produced The Last Salute, a play directed by Arvind Gaur, based on Muntadhar al-Zaidi's book, starring Imran Zahid.[15][16][17] [18]

Other professional work[edit]

Bhatt is co-owner of film production house, Vishesh Films, with Mukesh Bhatt. He is a member of the advisory board of U.S. nonprofit TeachAIDS.[19]

He has hosted some episodes of two science magazine programmes - Turning Point and Imaging Science on Doordarshan in 1990s.[20]

Political views[edit]

Bhatt believes the Congress party is committed to secularism. In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, he campaigned in a Karvan-e-Bedari (caravan of awareness) asking people to vote for Congress[21] and defeat BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, as he believes that Mr. Modi is communal.[22] Bhatt also criticizes the communal record of Congress Party, for its role in Rajiv Gandhi Sponsored 1984 Sikh genocide. He is planning to make a film, which will address the 1984 Sikh genocide that took place in Delhi.[23]

Bhatt's critics have accused him of spreading divisive communal polarisation.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Bhatt fell in love with Lorraine Bright and got married when he was 20 years old. Bright changed her name to Kiran Bhatt.[3] The couple have two children, a daughter Pooja Bhatt, a former actress, now a producer, and a son Rahul Bhatt, an aspiring actor. The marriage ended when Bhatt had an affair with the glamorous actress of the 1970s, Parveen Babi.[3] The affair did not last long. Bhatt later married Soni Razdan in 1986.[3][25] The couple have two daughters, Shaheen Bhatt and Alia Bhatt. Emraan Hashmi is his cousin brother Anwar Hashmi's son and thus his nephew.

In the 1970s, he became a follower of Osho, and later found spiritual companionship and guidance with philosopher, U.G. Krishnamurti. Bhatt calls Krishnamurti his lifeline and says "Take him away, and I am empty".[3] Bhatt in 1992 wrote Krishnamurti's biography titled U.G. Krishnamurti, A Life.[26] Apart from this he has edited several books based on conversations with U.G. Krishnamurti. Bhatt's latest book A Taste of Life: The Last Days of U.G. Krishnamurti was published in June 2009.[27]


As a director and producer, Mahesh Bhatt has a legacy of mentoring many actors and actresses and launching their careers, giving big names to Bollywood. He is notable for launching the careers of Anupam Kher in Saaransh (1984), Rahul Roy, Anu Agarwal and Deepak Tijori in Aashiqui (1990), daughter Pooja Bhatt in Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin and Sadak (1991), Atul Agnihotri in Sir (1993), Sonali Bendre in Naaraaz (1994), Samir Soni in A Mouthful of Sky (1995), Sharad Kapoor, Sushmita Sen and Mukul Dev in Dastak (1996), Ashutosh Rana in Tamanna (1997), Manoj Bajpayee in Dastak (1996) and Tamanna (1997). Dushman (1998) and Sangharsh (1999), Aftab Shivdasani in Kasoor (2001), Dino Morea and Bipasha Basu in Raaz (2002), Aparna Tilak in Footpath (2003), Emraan Hashmi in Footpath and Murder (2004), Mallika Sherawat in Murder (2004), Kunal Khemu in Kalyug (2005), Shiney Ahuja and Kangana Ranaut in Gangster and Woh Lamhe (2006).

Bhatt has also given breakthrough to many stars, bringing turning point in their careers. These names include Sanjay Dutt and Kumar Gaurav in Naam (1986), Aditya Pancholi in Saathi (1991), Aamir Khan in Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin (1991), Juhi Chawla in Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (1993), which also fetched her Filmfare Award for Best Actress and Paresh Rawal in Sir (1993).

Bhatt is also known for his choice of music. Many composers had their first mainstream success in Bollywood while working with him. Nadeem-Shravan had their first hit album in Bollywood with Bhatt's directorial Aashiqui, which established them as the biggest music directors for the next decade. They would collaborate with Bhatt in many films to create successful soundtracks. Examples include Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin, Sadak and Saathi (1991), Junoon (1992), Tadipaar and Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke (1993). Nadeem-Shravan went on to compose music for several productions of Vishesh Films.

Anu Malik had a stellar career as a music director going into the 1990s. He composed music for Bhatt's directorial Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee (1993). The soundtrack became successful and the success of Bhatt and Malik continued with another hit soundtrack in Sir (1993), thus catapulting Malik as one of the top music directors of Bollywood. Malik composed music for many of Bhatt's movies including Naaraaz (1994), Naajayaz (1995), Tamanna (1997) and Duplicate (1998) and would remain a composer for many of Vishesh Films' movies during the 2000s.

Pakistani singer Atif Aslam got his first break in Bollywood when his songs "Woh Lamhe" and "Aadat" were used in Bhatt's movies. Aslam rose to stardom in India and went on to become a famous and successful playback singer for Bollywood movies.

Bhatt has frequently cast major names including Naseeruddin Shah, Mithun Chakraborty, Aamir Khan, Juhi Chawla, Shahrukh Khan, Pooja Bhatt, Atul Agnihotri, Ashutosh Rana, Sonali Bendre, Rahul Roy, Manisha Koirala, Jackie Shroff and Emraan Hashmi in his films.


Year Film Director Producer Writer Notes
1974 Manzilein Aur Bhi Hain Yes
1977 Vishwasghaat Yes
1978 Naya Daur Yes
1979 Lahu Ke Do Rang Yes Won Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award

Filmfare Best Art Direction

1980 Abhimanyu Yes
1982 Arth Yes Yes Won Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue

Won National Film Award for Best Actress-Shabana Azmi

1984 Saaransh Yes Yes Won Filmfare Award for Best Story

Nominated for India's official entry – 1985 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

1985 Janam Yes Yes
1986 Aashiana Yes
1986 Naam Yes
1987 Aaj Yes
1987 Kaash Yes Yes
1988 Thikaana Yes
1988 Siyaasat Yes
1988 Kabzaa Yes
1989 Daddy Yes Won 2 Filmfare Awards

National Film Award – Special Jury Award

1990 Awaargi Yes
1990 Jurm Yes
1990 Aashiqui Yes Won 4 Filmfare Awards
1991 Swayam Yes
1991 Saathi Yes
1991 Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin Yes
1991 Sadak Yes Won Filmfare Award for Best Villain

5th highest grossing Hindi movie of the 90's decade

1992 Saatwan Aasmaan Yes
1992 Junoon Yes
1992 Maarg Yes Originally titled Prem Dharam when launched in 1988 but released as Maarg straight to video
1993 Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee Yes TV movie (Zee TV)
1993 Gunaah Yes
1993 Sir Yes
1993 Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke Yes Won 5 Filmfare Awards

National Film Award – Special Jury Award

1993 Gumrah Yes
1993 Tadipaar Yes
1994 The Gentleman Yes Yes
1994 Naaraaz Yes
1995 Milan Yes
1995 Naajayaz Yes Nominated Filmfare Award for Best Actor
1995 Criminal Yes A Telugu – Hindi bilingual film
1996 Papa Kehte Hai Yes Yes
1996 Chaahat Yes
1996 Dastak Yes
1997 Tamanna Yes Yes
1998 Duplicate Yes
1998 Angaaray Yes
1998 Dushman[28] Yes
1999 Zakhm Yes Yes Won Filmfare Best Story Award

National Film Award for Best Actor and Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration

1999 Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan Yes Originally titled Mr. Aashiq, audio released under that name as well
1999 Kartoos Yes
1999 Sangharsh Yes
2001 Kasoor Yes
2001 Yeh Zindagi Ka Safar Yes
2002 Raaz Yes Yes
2002 Gunaah Yes
2003 Saaya Yes
2003 Footpath Yes Yes
2003 Jism Yes
2003 Inteha Yes
2004 Murder Yes
2005 Rog Yes
2005 Zeher Yes
2005 Nazar Yes
2005 Kalyug Yes
2006 Gangster Yes Yes Won Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut
2006 Woh Lamhe Yes Yes
2009 Raaz - The Mystery Continues Yes
2009 Tum Mile Yes
2011 Murder 2 Yes Yes
2012 Jism 2 Yes Yes
2012 Raaz 3D Yes
2013 Murder 3 Yes Yes
2015 Mr. X Yes
2015 Hamari Adhuri Kahani Yes Yes
2016 Love Games Yes
2016 Raaz Reboot Yes


Year Show Network Director Notes
2014-present Udaan Colors TV Yes
2016-present Naamkaran Star Plus Yes [29][30][31]


  1. ^ Sawhney, Anubha (18 January 2003). "The Saraansh of Mahesh Bhatt's life". Times Of India. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "14th Moscow International Film Festival (1985)". MIFF. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Sawhney, Anubha (18 January 2003). "The Saraansh of Mahesh Bhatt's life". Times Of India. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  4. ^ best story on india
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "Purnima". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "I have great reverence for women: Mahesh Bhatt". 01/18/2014. 
  8. ^ "Mahesh Bhatt's article about Ramzan, Ramadan". Retrieved 14 December 2013. 
  9. ^ "Lahu Ke Do Rang Awards". IMDB. Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "Box Office 1979". Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  11. ^ Kalsi, Jyoti (25 January 2011). "Mahesh Bhatt talks about 'The Last Salute'". Gulf News. Retrieved 5 April 2011. 
  12. ^ "Review: Now, communalism and counter-insurgency ops on stage". Zee News. 30 March 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "Imran Zahid gets applaud in Mahesh Bhatt's 'Trial of Error'". The India Awaaz. 30 March 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  14. ^ Madhur Tankha (29 July 2013). "Arth stages a comeback". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 August 2013. 
  15. ^ "Mahesh's next on Iraqi journalist". Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  16. ^ Uday Bhatia (19 January 2012). "A footwear-flinging Iraqi journalist inspires a new play, says Time Out". Time Out. Retrieved 22 June 2013. 
  17. ^ Mahesh Bhatt (14 May 2011). "Footprints of dissent,First Person-Mahesh Bhatt". The Hindu. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  18. ^ Rana Siddiqui Zaman (3 June 2011). "Shoe act hits the stage". The Hindu. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "Mahesh Bhatt, leading Indian cultural icon, joins the TeachAIDS Advisory Board". TeachAIDS. 31 October 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2010. 
  20. ^ "Indian Science Communication Society". Retrieved 2016-07-09. 
  21. ^ "Mahesh Bhatt's karvan comes to Congress' rescue". Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  22. ^ "Modi is communal, should be defeated, says Mahesh Bhatt". Retrieved 26 April 2014. 
  23. ^ "Mahesh Bhatt planning to make a film on 1984 Skih riots by Congress". Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  24. ^ "Mahesh Bhatt's critics have accused him of spreading divisive communal polarisation". Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  25. ^ Suparn Verma (19 March 1998). "The return of Razdan". Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  26. ^ Mahesh Bhatt (1992). U.G. Krishnamurti, A Life. Viking. 
  27. ^ Mahesh Bhatt (2009). A taste of Life: The last Days of U.G. Krishnamurti. He consider himself as an alcoholic in one of the TV show with Rohit Roy, but eventually he overcomes the alcoholism. Penguin Group India. ISBN 0-14-306716-8. 
  28. ^ India (9 October 2015). "'Dushman' will bring Indians, Pakistanis closer: Mahesh Bhatt". The Indian Express. Retrieved 11 October 2015. 
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^

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