Mahesh Bhatt

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. It 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.

Mahesh Bhatt
Bhatt in 2011
Born (1948-09-20) 20 September 1948[1]
OccupationDirector, producer, screenwriter
Spouse(s)Kiran Bhatt (aka Lorraine Bright) (m. 1970)
Soni Razdan (m. 1986)
ChildrenPooja Bhatt (b. 1972)
Rahul Bhatt (b. 1982)
Shaheen Bhatt (b. 1988)
Alia Bhatt (b. 1993)
Parent(s)Nanabhai Bhatt
Shirin Mohammad Ali
RelativesSee Bhatt family

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 remains his highest grossing either directed or produced under the banner, "Vishesh Films".hhhj

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

Bhatt was born to Nanabhai Bhatt and Shirin Mohammad Ali.[5] Bhatt's father was a Hindu Nagar Brahmin [6] and his mother was a Gujarati Muslim.[7][8][9][10]

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] Bhatt and Soni have two daughters Shaheen Bhatt and Alia Bhatt.


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:[11] 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.[12] 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 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. It was the biggest hit of the actor's 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 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.

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).[13][14][15][16] Bhatt also produced The Last Salute, a play directed by Arvind Gaur, based on Muntadhar al-Zaidi's book, starring Imran Zahid.[17][18][19] [20]

Other professional work

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.[21]

He has hosted some episodes of two science magazine programmes - Turning Point and Imaging Science on Doordarshan in 1990s.[22]

As of December 2018 Bhatt was a member of the Board of Patrons of the Mother Theresa Awards.[23]

Political views

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[24] and defeat BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, as he believes that Mr. Modi is communal.[25] Bhatt also criticizes the communal record of Congress Party, for its role in 1984 Sikh genocide. He is planning to make a film, which will address the 1984 Sikh genocide that took place in Delhi.[26]

Personal life

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][27] The couple have two daughters, Shaheen Bhatt and Alia Bhatt. Emraan Hashmi is his cousin 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.[28] 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.[29]

Mahesh Bhatt has been involved in campaigning for the cause of Kashmiri Pandit resettlement in the valley.[30]


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).[31]

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

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.


Year Film Director Producer Writer Cast Notes
1974 Manzilein Aur Bhi Hain Yes Kabir Bedi, Prema Narayan, Gulshan Arora
1977 Vishwasghaat Yes Sanjeev Kumar, Shabana Azmi, Kabir Bedi
1978 Naya Daur Yes Rishi Kapoor, Bhavana Bhatt, Danny Denzongpa
1979 Lahu Ke Do Rang Yes Vinod Khanna, Shabana Azmi, Danny Denzongpa, Helen Won 2 Filmfare Awards including Best Supporting Actress - Helen
1980 Abhimanyu Yes
1982 Arth Yes Yes Shabana Azmi, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Smita Patil, Rohini Hattangadi, Raj Kiran Won Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue
Won National Film Award for Best Actress-Shabana Azmi[32]
Nominated- Filmfare Award for Best Film
Nominated- Filmfare Award for Best Director
Remade in Tamil as Marupadiyum
1984 Saaransh Yes Yes Anupam Kher, Rohini Hattangadi, Soni Razdan Won Filmfare Award for Best Story
National Film Award for Best Lyrics - Vasant Dev
India's official entry to the 57th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film[33]
Nominated- Filmfare Award for Best Film
Nominated- Filmfare Award for Best Director
1985 Janam Yes Yes Kumar Gaurav, Anupam Kher, Shernaz Patel, Kitu Gidwani
1986 Aashiana Yes Mark Zubair, Deepti Naval, Soni Razdan
1986 Naam Yes Sanjay Dutt, Kumar Gaurav, Nutan, Poonam Dhillon, Amrita Singh
1987 Aaj Yes Kumar Gaurav, Anamika Pal, Smita Patil, Raj Babbar
1987 Kaash Yes Yes Jackie Shroff, Dimple Kapadia, Anupam Kher
1987 Thikaana Yes Anil Kapoor, Smita Patil, Amrita Singh, Suresh Oberoi, Rohini Hattangadi
1988 Siyaasat Yes Neelam Kothari
1988 Kabzaa Yes Sanjay Dutt, Raj Babbar, Amrita Singh Based on On the Waterfront
1989 Daddy Yes Anupam Kher, Pooja Bhatt, Soni Razdan, Manohar Singh National Film Award – Special Mention - Anupam Kher[34]
1990 Awaargi Yes Anil Kapoor, Govinda, Meenakshi Sheshadri, Anupam Kher
1990 Jurm Yes Vinod Khanna, Meenakshi Sheshadri, Sangeeta Bijlani, Shafi Inamdar
1990 Aashiqui Yes Rahul Roy, Anu Aggarwal, Reema Lagoo Won 4 Filmfare Awards
Nominated- Filmfare Award for Best Director
1991 Swayam Yes Waheeda Rehman, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Rohini Hattangadi, Anupam Kher, Paresh Rawal, Soni Razdan
1991 Saathi Yes Aditya Pancholi, Mohsin Khan, Varsha Usgaonkar, Paresh Rawal, Anupam Kher
1991 Dil Hai Ke Manta Nahin Yes Aamir Khan, Pooja Bhatt, Anupam Kher Nominated- Filmfare Award for Best Film
Nominated- Filmfare Award for Best Director
Based on It Happened One Night
Remade in Tamil as Kadhal Rojavae
1991 Sadak Yes Sanjay Dutt, Pooja Bhatt, Sadashiv Amrapurkar Won Filmfare Award for Best Villain - Sadashiv Amrapurkar
5th highest grossing Hindi movie of the 90's decade
Remade in Tamil as Appu
1992 Saatwan Aasmaan Yes Vivek Mushran, Pooja Bhatt
1992 Junoon Yes Rahul Roy, Pooja Bhatt, Avinash Wadhawan, Rakesh Bedi Based on An American Werewolf in London
1992 Maarg Yes Vinod Khanna, Hema Malini, Dimple Kapadia, Anupam Kher, Paresh Rawal Originally titled Prem Dharam when launched in 1988 but released as Maarg straight to video
1993 Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee Yes Pooja Bhatt, Rahul Roy, Pooja Bedi TV movie (Zee TV)
1993 Gunaah Yes Sunny Deol, Dimple Kapadia
1993 Sir Yes Naseeruddin Shah, Pooja Bhatt, Atul Agnihotri, Paresh Rawal Based on Bulundi
Remade as Gangmaster
1993 Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke Yes Aamir Khan, Juhi Chawla, Kunal Khemu Won 5 Filmfare Awards including Best Film
National Film Award – Special Mention (shared with producer Tahir Hussain)
Nominated- Filmfare Award for Best Director
Based on Houseboat
1993 Gumrah Yes Sridevi, Sanjay Dutt, Anupam Kher, Rahul Roy, Soni Razdan
1993 Tadipaar Yes Mithun Chakraborty, Pooja Bhatt, Anupam Kher
1994 The Gentleman Yes Yes Chiranjeevi, Juhi Chawla, Paresh Rawal Remake of Tamil movie Gentleman
1994 Naaraaz Yes Mithun Chakraborty, Pooja Bhatt, Atul Agnihotri, Sonali Bendre
1995 Milan Yes Jackie Shroff, Manisha Koirala, Paresh Rawal
1995 Naajayaz Yes Naseeruddin Shah, Ajay Devgan, Juhi Chawla
1995 Criminal Yes Akkineni Nagarjuna, Ramya Krishna, Manisha Koirala A Telugu – Hindi bilingual film
Based on The Fugitive
1996 Papa Kehte Hai Yes Yes Jugal Hansraj, Mayuri Kango, Anupam Kher
1996 Chaahat Yes Shahrukh Khan, Pooja Bhatt, Naseeruddin Shah, Anupam Kher, Ramya Krishna
1996 Dastak Yes Sushmita Sen, Mukul Dev, Sharad Kapoor, Manoj Bajpayee
1997 Tamanna Yes Yes Paresh Rawal, Pooja Bhatt, Sharad Kapoor, Manoj Bajpayee
1998 Duplicate Yes Shahrukh Khan, Juhi Chawla, Sonali Bendre Based on The Whole Town's Talking
1998 Angaaray Yes Akshay Kumar, Akkineni Nagarjuna, Pooja Bhatt, Sonali Bendre, Paresh Rawal Based on State of Grace
1998 Dushman[35] Yes Kajol, Sanjay Dutt, Ashutosh Rana Based on Eye for an Eye
1999 Zakhm Yes Yes Ajay Devgan, Akkineni Nagarjuna, Pooja Bhatt, Sonali Bendre, Kunal Khemu Won Filmfare Best Story Award
Screen Award for Best Story
Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration
1999 Yeh Hai Mumbai Meri Jaan Yes Saif Ali Khan, Twinkle Khanna Originally titled Mr. Aashiq, audio released under that name as well
1999 Kartoos Yes Sanjay Dutt, Jackie Shroff, Manisha Koirala Based on Point of No Return which was based on the French movie Nikita
1999 Sangharsh Yes Akshay Kumar, Preity Zinta, Ashutosh Rana Based on The Silence of the Lambs
2001 Kasoor Yes Aftab Shivdasani, Lisa Ray, Ashutosh Rana Based on Jagged Edge
2001 Yeh Zindagi Ka Safar Yes Jimmy Shergill, Ameesha Patel
2002 Raaz Yes Yes Bipasha Basu, Dino Morea, Ashutosh Rana Based on What Lies Beneath
2002 Gunaah Yes Dino Morea, Bipasha Basu, Ashutosh Rana, Irrfan Khan
2003 Saaya Yes John Abraham, Tara Sharma, Mahima Chaudhry Based on Dragonfly
2003 Footpath Yes Yes Aftab Shivdasani, Emraan Hashmi, Rahul Dev, Bipasha Basu, Irrfan Khan Based on State of Grace
2003 Jism Yes John Abraham, Bipasha Basu Based on Body Heat which itself was based on Double Indemnity
2003 Inteha Yes Vidya Malvade, Ashmit Patel, Nauheed Cyrusi Based on Fear
2004 Murder Yes Mallika Sherawat, Emraan Hashmi, Ashmit Patel Based on Unfaithful which itself was based on the French movie The Unfaithful Wife
2005 Rog Yes Irrfan Khan, Ilene Hamann Based on Laura
2005 Zeher Yes Shamita Shetty, Emraan Hashmi, Udita Goswami Based on Out of Time
2005 Nazar Yes Meera, Ashmit Patel, Koel Purie
2005 Kalyug Yes Kunal Khemu, Emraan Hashmi, Smiley Suri, Amrita Singh, Deepal Shaw, Ashutosh Rana
2006 Gangster Yes Yes Kangana Ranaut, Emraan Hashmi, Shiney Ahuja
2006 Woh Lamhe Yes Yes Kangana Ranaut, Shiney Ahuja
2009 Raaz - The Mystery Continues Yes Kangana Ranaut, Emraan Hashmi, Adhyayan Suman
2009 Tum Mile Yes Emraan Hashmi, Soha Ali Khan
2011 Murder 2 Yes Yes Emraan Hashmi, Jacqueline Fernandez, Prashant Narayanan Based on The Chaser
2012 Jism 2 Yes Yes Sunny Leone, Randeep Hooda, Arunoday Singh
2012 Raaz 3D Yes Bipasha Basu, Emraan Hashmi, Esha Gupta
2013 Murder 3 Yes Yes Randeep Hooda, Aditi Rao Hydari, Sara Loren Remake of The Hidden Face
2015 Mr. X Yes Emraan Hashmi, Amyra Dastur, Arunoday Singh Also singer of Mr.X(title song)
2015 Hamari Adhuri Kahani Yes Yes Vidya Balan, Emraan Hashmi, Rajkummar Rao
2016 Love Games Yes Patralekha, Gaurav Arora, Tara Alisha Berry
2016 Raaz Reboot Yes Emraan Hashmi, Kriti Kharbanda, Gaurav Arora, Suzanna Mukherjee
2018 The Dark Side of Life: Mumbai City Himself, Kay Kay Menon, Neha Khan Acting debut, Post production
2020 Sadak 2 Yes Sanjay Dutt, Pooja Bhatt, Alia Bhatt, Aditya Roy Kapur


Year Show Network Director Producer Notes
1995-1997 Swabhimaan DD National Yes
1995 A Mouthful of Sky DD National Yes
1997 Kabhie Kabhie Star Plus Yes
2014–2019 Udaan Colors TV No Yes
2016–2018 Naamkaran Star Plus Yes Yes [36][37][38]
2017–2018 Tu Aashiqui Colors TV No Yes [39]


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  4. best story on india
  5. "My wife and my audience, both took time to understand me: Emraan Hashmi - Times of India".
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  12. "Box Office 1979". Archived from the original on 20 October 2013. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
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  14. "Review: Now, communalism and counter-insurgency ops on stage". Zee News. 30 March 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  15. "Imran Zahid gets applaud in Mahesh Bhatt's 'Trial of Error'". The India Awaaz. 30 March 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  16. Madhur Tankha (29 July 2013). "Arth stages a comeback". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  17. "Mahesh's next on Iraqi journalist". Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  18. Uday Bhatia (19 January 2012). "A footwear-flinging Iraqi journalist inspires a new play, says Time Out". Time Out. Archived from the original on 19 March 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2013.
  19. Mahesh Bhatt (14 May 2011). "Footprints of dissent, First Person-Mahesh Bhatt". The Hindu. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  20. Rana Siddiqui Zaman (3 June 2011). "Shoe act hits the stage". The Hindu. Retrieved 21 June 2013.
  21. "Mahesh Bhatt, leading Indian cultural icon, joins the TeachAIDS Advisory Board". TeachAIDS. 31 October 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  22. "Indian Science Communication Society". Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  23. "Board of Patrons - Mother Teresa Memorial Awards". Mother Teresa Memorial Awards. Retrieved 31 December 2018.
  24. "Mahesh Bhatt's karvan comes to Congress' rescue". Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  25. "Modi is communal, should be defeated, says Mahesh Bhatt". Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  26. "Mahesh Bhatt planning to make a film on 1984 Skih riots by Congress". Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  27. Suparn Verma (19 March 1998). "The return of Razdan". Retrieved 17 February 2012.
  28. Mahesh Bhatt (1992). U.G. Krishnamurti, A Life. Viking.
  29. 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 show with Rohit Roy, but eventually, he overcomes the alcoholism. Penguin Group India. ISBN 0-14-306716-8.
  30. Khalid Bashir Ahmed (23 June 2017). "Kashmir, exposing the Myth behind the narrative". SAGE publishing India. Retrieved 26 August 2018.
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  34. "37th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
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  37. Bureau, ABP News. "Noted TV actress set to make comeback with Star Plus!".
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