Vishal Bhardwaj has always made movies which stand apart from the rest. He’s already adapted two of William Shakespeare’s classics in the past (Maqbool – “Macbecth”, Omkara – “Othello”), and Haider (an adaptation of “Hamlet”) is another example of why he’s one of the finest Indian directors today.
Kashmir is considered paradise on earth, and Haider is a movie which showcases the plight of the people living in this paradise. Vishal does this by seamlessly integrating the tragedy of Hamlet into the riots of Kashmir (1995) which causes a number of civilian disappearances. Though a little slow towards the beginning, Haider kicks in beautifully thanks to some exceptional screenplay and direction. The way the entire storyline is showcased in one song is pure brilliance.
Shahid does an exceptional job in the lead role, and his performance at Lal Chowk is absolutely brilliant. Kay Kay Menon gets a meaty role, and for the fine actor that he is, performs with great ease. Sharddha Kapoor looks perfect as a Kashmiri beauty, and Irrfan shines in his brief appearance. But the real star of Haider is the mother torn between her man and son, Tabu She downplays for the most part, but does it so beautifully that you can’t help but fall in love with her character. Brilliant!
Music by Vishal Bhardwaj is another asset to this beautiful tragedy. The background score is probably the best I’ve come across for a Bollywood film – exceptional. Editing by Aarif Sheikh is perfect and cinematography by Pankaj Kumar is beautiful.
Is it worth your time and money??: As a film, Haider is exceptionally well made. But unfortunately, it isn’t a movie for everyone. So watch it only if you enjoy tragedies, or are eager to watch some amazing performances entwined into a perfect script.
Worth mention: Tabu; Shahid’s performance at Lal Chowk; background score.
Technical Aspects: 9/10