Mahesh Bhatt

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Mahesh Bhatt
Mahesh Bhatt still7.jpg
Bhatt in 2011
Born (1948-09-20) 20 September 1948 (age 74)
  • Film director
  • producer
  • screenwriter
  • Lorraine Bright "Kiran Bhatt"
    (m. 1970)
  • (m. 1986)
FamilyBhatt family

Mahesh Bhatt (born 20 September 1948) is an Indian film director, producer and screenwriter known for his works in Hindi cinema. A stand-out film from his earlier period is Saaransh (1984), screened at the 14th Moscow International Film Festival. It became India's official entry for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for that year.[1] The 1986 film Naam was his first piece of commercial cinema.[2] 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), 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 was a hit and it remains his highest grossing either directed or produced under the banner, "Vishesh Films".[3]

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 1996, he directed Tamanna, which won the National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues. 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.[4] He co-owned film producing company Vishesh Films with his brother Mukesh Bhatt. However owing to differences between the brothers, Mukesh Bhatt took over Vishesh films and in May 2021, it was publicly announced that Mahesh Bhatt was no more associated with the firm.[5]

Early life[edit]

Bhatt was born to Nanabhai Bhatt and Shirin Mohammad Ali.[6] Bhatt's father was a Gujarati Hindu Nagar Brahmin[7] and his mother was a Gujarati Muslim.[8][9][10][11]

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 an assistant director to Khosla.[4]


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

At the age of 26, Bhatt made his debut as a director with the film Manzilein Aur Bhi Hain starring Kabir Bedi and Prema Narayan in 1974. His 1979 Lahu Ke Do Rang, starring Shabana Azmi and Vinod Khanna in lead roles, won two Filmfare Awards in 1980:[12] 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.[13] 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.

Bhatt had one of his biggest releases with musical romance film Aashiqui (1990), in collaboration with T-Series. The film launched Rahul Roy, Anu Aggarwal, and Deepak Tijori in the lead roles and became a major commercial success due to the 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.

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 the writer Shobha De. He directed another TV series, Kabhie Kabhie, in 1997 which was written by Anurag Kashyap, Vinta Nanda and Kamlesh Kunti Singh. 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.

His last film as director was Kartoos (1999) which did average business at the box office. 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).[14][15][16][17] Bhatt also produced The Last Salute, a play directed by Arvind Gaur, based on Muntadhar al-Zaidi's book, starring Imran Zahid.[18][19][20] [21]

Other professional work[edit]

Bhatt is co-owner of the film production house, Vishesh Films, with Mukesh Bhatt. However owing to differences between the brothers, Mukesh Bhatt took over Vishesh films and in May 2021, it was publicly announced that Mahesh Bhatt was no more associated with the firm.[22][23] He is a member of the advisory board of U.S. nonprofit TeachAids.[24]

He has hosted some episodes of two science magazine programmes - Turning Point and Imaging Science on Doordarshan in 1990s.[25]

As of December 2018 Bhatt was a member of the Board of Patrons of the Mother Teresa Awards.[26]

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[27] and defeat BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, as he believes that Mr. Modi is communal.[28] Bhatt also criticizes the communal record of Congress Party, for its role in 1984 Sikh riots. He is planning to make a film, which will address the riots that took place in Delhi.[29] Mahesh Bhatt supported the Islamic preacher Zakir Naik when the latter was denied entry into the United Kingdom for his controversial comments on terrorism.[30]

Personal life[edit]

In 1970, Bhatt married Lorraine Bright (later name changed to Kiran Bhatt). His romance with her was the inspiration for his film Aashiqui.[4] The couple's daughter Pooja is a filmmaker and actress, and son Rahul is an aspiring actor. Bhatt began an affair with 1970s actress, Parveen Babi.[4] The affair did not last long, and Bhatt married Soni Razdan in 1986; to avoid Bhatt having to divorce his first wife, the couple converted to Islam prior to their wedding.[31][4] They had two daughters, Shaheen and Alia.[4][32] Alia is an actress having played roles in more than 20 films. [33][34] Mahesh Bhatt is also an uncle of Hindi film actor Emraan Hashmi and filmmakers Mohit Suri and Milan Luthria. Hashmi is his cousin Anwar's son, Suri is his sister Heena's son and Luthria is his mother Shirin's grand-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".[4] Bhatt in 1992 wrote Krishnamurti's biography titled U.G. Krishnamurti, A Life.[35] 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.[36]


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 Aggarwal 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), Manoj Bajpayee in Dastak (1996), Ashutosh Rana in 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)[37] and Sunny Leone in Jism 2 (2012).[38]

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), Paresh Rawal in Sir (1993), and Shraddha Kapoor and Aditya Roy Kapoor in Aashiqui 2 (2013).[citation needed]

Bhatt is also known for his choice of music.[citation needed] Nadeem-Shravan had their first hit album in Bollywood with Bhatt's directorial Aashiqui.[citation needed] They would collaborate with Bhatt in more films including 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.[citation needed]



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 2 Filmfare Awards including Best Supporting Actress for Helen
1980 Abhimanyu Yes
1982 Arth Yes Yes National Film Award for Best Actress for Shabana Azmi[39]
Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue

Nominated - Filmfare Award for Best Film & Best Director

1984 Saaransh Yes Yes Filmfare Award for Best Story
National Film Award for Best Lyrics (Vasant Dev)
India's official entry to the 57th Academy Awards (Best Foreign Language Film)[40]Filmfare Award for Best Story
Nominated: Filmfare Award for Best Film 7 Best Director
1985 Janam Yes Yes
1986 Aashiana Yes
1986 Naam Yes
1987 Aaj Yes
1987 Kaash Yes Yes
1987 Thikaana Yes
1988 Siyaasat Yes
1988 Kabzaa Yes Based on On the Waterfront
1989 Daddy Yes National Film Award – Special Mention - Anupam Kher[41]
1990 Awaargi Yes
1990 Jurm Yes
1990 Aashiqui Yes Won 4 Filmfare Awards
Nominated - Filmfare Award for Best Director
1990 Haque Yes Yes
1991 Swayam Yes
1991 Saathi Yes
1991 Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin Yes Nominated: Filmfare Award for Best Film & Best Director
Based on It Happened One Night
Remade in Tamil Kadhal Rojavae
1991 Sadak Yes Won - Filmfare Award for Best Villain (Sadashiv Amrapurkar)
Remade in Tamil as Appu
1992 Saatwan Aasmaan Yes
1992 Junoon Yes Based on An American Werewolf in London
1992 Maarg Yes Originally titled Prem Dharam when launched in 1988. Released straight on video
1993 Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee Yes TV movie (Zee TV)
1993 Gunaah Yes
1993 Sir Yes Based on Bulundi
Remade as Gangmaster
1993 Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke Yes Filmfare Awards including Best Film
National Film Award – Special Mention (shared with producer Tahir Hussain)
Based on Houseboat
1993 Gumrah Yes
1993 Tadipaar Yes
1994 The Gentleman Yes Yes Remake of Tamil movie Gentleman
1994 Naaraaz Yes
1995 Milan Yes
1995 Naajayaz Yes
1995 Criminal Yes Telugu–Hindi bilingual based on The Fugitive
1996 Papa Kehte Hai Yes Yes
1996 Sardari Begum Yes Best Feature Film in Urdu
National Film Award/Special Jury Award: Kirron Kher
National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress: Rajeshwari Sachdev
1996 Chaahat Yes
1996 Dastak Yes
1997 Tamanna Yes Yes
1998 Duplicate Yes Based on The Whole Town's Talking
1998 Angaaray Yes Based on State of Grace
1998 Dushman[42] Yes Based on Eye for an Eye
1998 Zakhm Yes Yes Filmfare Award for Best Story
Screen Award for Best Story
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 Based on Point of No Return/ French movie La Femme Nikita
1999 Sangharsh Yes Based on The Silence of the Lambs
2001 Kasoor Yes Based on Jagged Edge
2001 Yeh Zindagi Ka Safar Yes
2002 Raaz Yes Yes Based on What Lies Beneath
2002 Gunaah Yes
2003 Saaya Yes Based on Dragonfly
2003 Footpath Yes Yes Based on State of Grace
2003 Jism Yes Based on Body Heat which itself was based on Double Indemnity
2003 Inteha Yes Based on Fear
2004 Murder Yes Based on Unfaithful which itself was based on the French movie The Unfaithful Wife
2005 Rog Yes Based on Laura
2005 Zeher Yes Based on Out of Time
2005 Nazar Yes
2005 Kalyug Yes
2006 Gangster Yes Yes
2006 Woh Lamhe Yes Yes
2007 Awarapan No Yes No
2009 Raaz - The Mystery Continues Yes
2009 Tum Mile Yes
2010 Kajraare Yes
2011 Murder 2 Yes Yes Based on The Chaser
2012 Jannat 2 No Yes No
2012 Jism 2 Yes Yes
2012 Raaz 3D Yes
2013 Murder 3 Yes Yes Remake of The Hidden Face
2015 Mr. X Yes Also singer of title song "Mr. X"
2015 Hamari Adhuri Kahani Yes Yes
2016 Love Games Yes
2016 Raaz Reboot Yes
2018 The Dark Side of Life: Mumbai City Acting debut, Post production
2020 Sadak 2 Yes
2022 Judaa Hoke Bhi Yes


Year Show Director Producer Notes
1995–1997 Swabhimaan Yes No
1995 A Mouthful of Sky Yes No
1997 Kabhie Kabhie Yes No
2014 CEO's Got Talent No No Judge[43]
2014–2019 Udaan No Yes
2016–2018 Naamkaran Yes Yes [44][45][46]
2017–2018 Tu Aashiqui No Yes [47]
2020 Dil Jaise Dhadke... Dhadakne Do No No Creator[48]
2022 Pehchaan No Yes Also host[49]

Web series[edit]

Year Title Platform Note
2019 Yours Truly ZEE5


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  24. ^ "Mahesh Bhatt, leading Indian cultural icon, joins the TeachAIDS Advisory Board". TeachAids. 31 October 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  25. ^ "Indian Science Communication Society". Retrieved 9 July 2016.
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  35. ^ Mahesh Bhatt (1992). U.G. Krishnamurti, A Life. Viking. ISBN 9780140126204.
  36. ^ Mahesh Bhatt (2009). A taste of Life: The last Days of U.G. Krishnamurti. He considers himself as an alcoholic in one of the TV shows with Rohit Roy, but eventually, he overcomes the alcoholism. Penguin Group India. ISBN 978-0-14-306716-0.
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  45. ^ Bureau, ABP News (31 July 2016). "Noted TV actress set to make comeback with Star Plus!".
  46. ^ "CineTalkers". Cine Talkers. 30 August 2016.
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  49. ^ (30 March 2022). "Mahesh Bhatt to make his OTT debut as he turns host for a reality series Pehchaan". Times of India. Retrieved 9 May 2022.

External links[edit]