Veteran British actor Sir Derek Jacobi praises Radha Bharadwaj’s acting in Phobia for “…its quiet and expressive integrity,” which “is teeming with inner life.” Acclaimed director Keith Gordon lauds Bharadwaj for having created a “moving and complex character” with her performance as the protagonist in Phobia, and commends the film as “extremely suspenseful, poetic…” Phobia is one of writer-director Bharadwaj’s feature projects.
Radha Bharadwaj was born in India, where she was already a notable figure as writer-director and actress in experimental stage, and moved to the United States in her late teens to study film. She is a rarity in Hollywood, being an Asian American female director who creates English language features that are not narrow, ethnic tales but mysteries and thrillers that are universal in theme and scope.
Her scripts uniformly feature rich, complex and unusual characters—this, coupled with her ability to direct actors to powerful performances, has enabled Bharadwaj to draw major talent to her films.
Bharadwaj’s screenwriting and directing feature debut is Closet Land. The critically acclaimed surreal psychological drama stars Alan Rickman (Harry Potter films, Truly, Madly, Deeply, Die Hard) and Madeleine Stowe (The Last of the Mohicans). Director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind) produced the feature. Philip Glass (Mishima, The Hours) provided the music score, and Oscar-winner Eiko Ishioka (Dracula, Mishima) designed the film’s stark, hallucinatory set and its costumes.
The screenplay for Closet Land won the prestigious Nicoll Screenwriting Fellowship sponsored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The script was also chosen to participate in the highly competitive Sundance Screenwriting Laboratory, sponsored by the Sundance Film Institute.
Closet Land was released in the United States by Universal Pictures. The film participated in noteworthy film festivals such as the Toronto International Films Festival, San Sebastian International Film Festival, the Women in Film Festival, Los Angeles; Stockholm International Film Festival, to name a few.
Bharadwaj’s second feature is the Victorian gothic mystery, Basil. The period thriller, set in the United Kingdom, stars Christian Slater (Heathers, Interview with a Vampire), Sir Derek Jacobi (I, Claudius, Hamlet), Claire Forlani (Meet Joe Black) and Jared Leto (Requiem for a Dream). The director’s cut for Basil was twice selected to be the closing night film for the prestigious Special Presentation series at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Radha Bharadwaj’s feature projects in development include the romantic thriller Death by Drowning, the psychological thriller Phobia, and the film noir Delilah. She has attached talented young actor Ryan Donowho (A Home at the End of the World, Imaginary Heroes, Broken Flowers, television’s The O.C.) to play one of the two male leads in Phobia.
Bharadwaj’s current writing projects involve a collection of short stories. She is also developing a provocative new television drama.
Tribeca All Access® | 2006