3 indianised takes by Vishal Bharadwaj on the respective legendary works of William Shakespeare. The first time he attempted , the second time he re-created .But this time around, he not only does the above two but also succeeds in perfectly indianising miya Shaik peer. It’s ironical that the co-writer of Haider ( along with Vishal Bharadwaj) is a certain Mr. Basharat Peer! Reincarnation anybody? Seems unlikely given his credentials.Well we’ll leave that to some other blog.
Set in tumultuous Kashmir, the state of India where god created heaven and man hell, Haider grips your attention right from the start. Dr. Hilal Meer (Haider’s father) is taken away by the army for treating and sheltering a militant inspite of the prevailing insurgency. Ghazala (Tabu) ,his wife takes refuge in the arms of his brother Khurram Meer (Kay Kay Menon) and that’s when the boy suspects a rat. Enter Roohdaar (Irrfan khan ) and the ball is set for Revenge. Roohdaar claims to be a friend of Dr.Meer’s in prison. He paints Khurram as the reason for Dr.Meer’s death and breathes Intekaam (revenge) into Haider as a Farman (message ) from his murdered father. He compels him to avenge his father’s death by killing his uncle in cold blood and facilitates all that he can, to enable Haider to have his vengeance.
Caught between the hate for his uncle, love for his mom and devotion towards his dad, Haider is left nearly psychotic as he tries to figure out who and what exactly caused his father’s death. He is left wondering which side of the coin to trust and finds himself at crossroads every time he meets his mother. As he further battles his inner turmoil and betrayal from friends, his thirst for revenge only intensifies.
The screenplay borrows itself beautifully from the original as each and every character is successfully recreated to suit the Indianised plot. The direction by Vishal Bharadwaj is fantastic to say the least and he successfully extracts his pound of flesh from all the actors. From Kulbhushan Kharbanda ( hardly two scenes ) to Shahid Kapoor ( in almost every frame) all leave an impact.
This is by far Shahid’s best work till date. He captures the psyche of Hamlet perfectly and portrays it to the T with equal madness and agony. If there is any director in Bollywood who has done justice to his talent it is Vishal. Earlier Kaminey and now with Haider, Shahid Kapoor is definitely a contender for this year’s best actor in Bollywood. Tabu, Kay Kay Menon and Irrfan Khan are such class performers that any given character , they play it in a way only they can. All of them fit into this drama seamlessly. Shraddha kapoor as Arshia (Haider’s love) does justice to her small role.
The songs and the cinematography blend Kashmir with the script beautifully. A very special mention here for the wonderfully soothing lyrics penned by the great Gulzar. His poetry is spellbinding as much as the soothing landscapes of Kashmir. May it be Jhelum or Anantnag or Baramulla, interwoven they compliment each other perfectly. Every song takes the story forward. From the Haunting Jhelum to the tongue-in-cheek Aao naa at the graveyard all pack a punch of their own. However the best of the lot is Bismil. Shahid’s theatrical portrayal of angst through his body language is wonderfully choreographed by Sudesh and together they light up the screen.
Filmed at the marvelous Martand Sun temple of Kashmir, this song is the soul of this film. In fact after watching this song this temple is on my must visit places now.
Watch the making here- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o4JHI5EwHk. This will well go down in bollywood history amongst the best songs ever.
The only downside for me was the way the movie ended. Felt that was the only spot where it was weaker than Hamlet. Apart from that there is no other area where the movie will let you down. Even the dialogues are crackling to say the least. However if there is one portion where i strongly disagree with the writer/filmaker it is on the one sided depiction of the Indian Army. The Kashmir issue is much more than that and any viewer of this film or reader of this blog should Google it for more. If not for the Indian army the situation in J&K could have been even worse. However let us not take away the effort behind this movie by just focusing on this angle.
Overall iss Haider ke ‘Chutzpah’ mein ‘Hai-DUM’!