Review : Movie Haider , A Vishal Bhardwaj Film

Review of Movie Haider

If there’s one filmmaker who knows how to let the Master’s work speak volumes about his incredulous finesse, dexterity and a near-incorrigible propinquity to detail, it’s got to be that man himself- Vishal Bharadwaj.

A multi-faceted and multi-talented person who directs, producers, sings, writes and composes, Bharadwaj’s much fussed about directorial venture Haider is being awaited with bated breath, catapulting commercial (not technical or critical) expectations to a different level altogether.

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Adapted on Shakespare’s ubiquitously acclaimed Hamlet, Haider takes Bharadwaj back to a fascinating world of love, deception and redemption , which as we all know is sublimely reflected in what is truly his home-turf – Shakespearean adaptations.

This is not to suggest that Bharadwaj loosens his grip over other films; far from that. His earlier two movies Matru ki Bijlee Ka Mandola and Saat Khoon Maaf were masterpieces in their own right but failed at the box office.

Commercial failures have a penchant for making us confront the stark ground reality as it really is- that a film is ultimately made for an audience spread across diverse geographic, psychological and cultural clusters and fails to attain its purpose if it simply does not engage them, regardless of how skilfully it was conceptualized and/or implemented.

It is against this backdrop that expectations loom large on Haider, because we know that Bharadwaj’s earlier Shakespearean adaptations have done well at the box office apart from garnering the much-elusive critical acclaim.

Haider tells us the story of the main protagonist Haider, who rushes back home after hearing about his father’s mysterious disappearance. He encounters a rather bewildering situation that inebriates and mortifies him– his mother is in an illicit affair with his uncle. Thereafter, Haider inexorably finds out that his father has not disappeared, but has actually been murdered.

His tumultuous relationship with his mother gets even more complicated following this discovery and what ensues next is we will also have to watch in the theatres on 02 October 2014.

Haider is the third among a series of Shakespeare play adaptations by the director after Maqbool and Omkara

While the play continues to be interpreted in a myriad of ways by readers and revered immensely for its intellectual dilemmas, seriousness, and innate ability to demystify the human psyche– the trailer of Haider seems to be a nuanced yet tad melodramatised than what one would expect for a screen adaptation of Hamlet to be.

Shahid Kapoor is seen with war paint on his face, sometimes even dancing to incoherent sounds of music.

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In one scene he holds a gun to his head, contemplating aloud whether to kill himself or to kill ‘someone’, while his girlfriend, played by Shraddha Kapoor looks on.In the play, Hamlet is shown to be sardonic and pensive, trying to make the difficult choice of whether or not to kill his uncle according to the instructions of his father’s ghost. In the trailer of the film, however, Haider appears to be leading a revolution of sorts, which, although does not seem puerile by any stretch of the imagination, definitely raises an eyebrow or two.

The shooting was done in Kashmir and there were a few controversies as a result of the locations used, especially with the university students. The places where  shooting was done include Dal lake, Pahalgam, Kehribal area in Anantnag, Mattan, Aishan Sahab Zaina Kadal Bridge in old Srinagar, Nishat Bagh, Qazigund, Martand Sun Temple, Naseem Bagh (at Kashmir University Garden), Hazratbal and Sonamarg.

Vishal Bharadwaj himself had originally composed the soundtrack for the film. There are nine songs in the film which include various genres of music ranging from upbeat rock to middle eastern influences and folk tunes. The song, “Roshe Valle” was sung by Tabu herself during filming. In the beginning Bharadwaj wanted this song as apart of the general score of the film but later he added another version of it in the album. Shraddha Kapoor has sung a Kashmiri folk song titled “Do Jahaan” along with Suresh Wadkar; while the song “Aao Na” was sung by Vishal Dadlani.

Shahid Kapoor’s acting looks to be in sync with the tone of the film, and the sheer effort on his part to look the part is evident even in the trailer. We have good reasons to believe that supremely talented actors like Irrfan Khan and Tabu will also absolute justice to their respective roles. Characterisation after all, in Bharadwaj’s movies is essentially about deciphering that which is too obvious to pay attention to.

Haider looks interesting and promising, mainly premised on the fact that Bhradwaj knows his craft too well to be able to make silly errors. Let’s hope the film makes an impact the box offices just as much as the trailer has invoked our curiosity

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