Frequently uses human vocals as instruments blended with his music.(e.g. the "Tau tau" song in Makdee (2002), vocals of Sunidhi Chauhan in "Beedi" song from Omkara (2006), the "Dhan-Te-Nan" song in Kaminey (2009))
Frequently uses lyrics by Gulzar in his directed movies (e.g. The Blue Umbrella, Omkara, Kaminey))
His movies frequently have characters speak in a very thick local Indian accent and local slang in the dialogue (e.g. the Mumbai accent in Maqbool, the Himachal Pradesh accent in The Blue Umbrella, the Uttar Pradesh - Bihari accent in Omkara)
Often uses excessive alcohol intake or drunk talk as root of all the events or mishaps that follow in his films. (eg Pankaj Kapur's bodyguard's drinking at his orders leading to his murder in Maqbool (2003), the drunk talk between Rajjo and Langda Tyagi and drunk Kesu (cunningly made to drink by Langda Tyagi) creating a scene by beating up Rajjo after the 'Beedi' song sequence in Omkara (2006), drunk Pankaj Kapur bringing home injured Siddharth and saving his life in Blood Brothers (2007/I))
Vishal is known for his collaborations with Gulzar, who opted for Vishal's music in all his directorial ventures since Maachis (1996). In turn, he has provided lyrics to all of Vishal's films.
Son of film lyricist Ram Bhardwaj.
His brother came to Bombay in 1990 to become a film producer. He was not able to. He struggled a lot. He died of a heart attack in 1995.