Vishal Bhardwaj, Bollywood's master of portraying Shakespeare's plays, ends the trilogy with Hamlet's screen adaptation ‘Haider'. As a classic filmmaker he is, William Shakespeare couldn't have found a better orator than Bhardwaj for the narration of Hamlet's tragedy.
Director- Vishal Bhardwaj
Music Director- Vishal Bhardwaj
Vishal brings out the essence of a burning vengeance within Hamlet for his mother Gertrude and uncle Cladius. Narrating it on the Indian ground and adding the most violent Kashmir- to be freed or not- isn't a cake walk for any filmmaker.
Vishal takes the bravest step, attempts to deal with it and present it with responsibility. He never ruins the raging issue and sails with it immensely in an artistic manner. But it's just the backdrop.
Vishal's drama is more about Haider's painful and retaliation journey set in exotic Kashmiri. Wait, the term ‘exotic' couldn't be used for Bhardwaj's ‘Kashmir', which has grey shades. Beautiful valleys and breath-taking surrounding don't give chilled breeze to your eyes instead the burning anguish sets afire the entire surrounding.
Dr. Hilal Meer (Narendra Jha) gives shelter to injured militants suspecting, which the authorities pick him as they believe Hilal has information about other militants. But now is he dead or alive, no one knows, so Ghazala (Tabu) is half widow and half bride.
On learning this, their innocent son Haider (Shahid Kapoor) comes back to Kashmir but till then her mother is married to her brother-in-law Khurram (Kay Kay) who had his roving eyes on Ghazala much before.
Soon Haider realizes that his father is no more and Khurram is the man behind his demise. With grief for his father and fire of vengeance within, Haider comes to terms with his mother and uncle and the love-hate relationship follows thereafter.
Vishal's Hamlet never misses a chance of evocation through his tight narration about the unusual relationship between mother and his son. His Ghazala is not wholly wrong but is just victimized by the unexpected conditions and moreover by Khurram.
She cares for Haider but is also confused about how to handle the whole scenario. On the other hand, Haider too is in a dilemma that his mother should be loved or not. Bhardwaj's way of narrating it could be tricky to gasp for few but the point of fact is that it has a deeper meanings.
To what limit an innocent son could go to avenge his father's death, while still he is impasse, Bhardwaj explains it with layer by layer and alongside he touches the conditions of Kashmiri natives with which they were living in the 90's. Haider gives you lesser occasions to chuckle except of few including Salmans. It's grim and gritty as it also focuses on the human tragedy in the region and it makes Haider heady.
Without abruption the romance between Haider and Arshia (Shraddha Kapoor) takes an acceptable place. However, we wished the speed to be pacer, the little yawning coming in could have been avoided. The Urdu accent and brilliant dialogues by Vishal at numerous occasions add up to realistic factors but for laymen it may go above his/her head.
Performances of actors hit the right chord. Like Kashmir's stunning locales (cinematographed by Pankaj Kumar), which are picture-perfect and look like a painting, the performances too are soothing and reminiscent.
Shahid Kapoor's grief for his father, anxiousness for his uncle and a strange desire for his mother is carried phenomenally. He is an actor at par and he proves in and as ‘Haider'. In the first half he is repeated but his mad and confused avatar in the second half brings out his best.
Shraddha as a Kashmiri journalist is brilliant. Not just limited to songs, the actress has much meat in this flick. For both Shahid and Shraddha we hope more such roles come their way.
Kay Kay Menon brings conniving and clever act in Khurram. Tabu, as trapped in numerous feelings brings out the most apt expressions.
Also playing a music director, Vishal Bharwaj's ‘jodi' with lyricist Gulzar fits perfectly. The songs are beautiful with lyrics technically thought over and penned. While Khul Kabhi brings romanticisms with snow-white winter breezing through your mind, ‘Bismil' portrays the local culture. The background score is finely crafted and accompanies the theme of the movie.
Haider is a classic creation minus Bollywood's cliché elements. It needs patience and your devotion.