Movie Review: ‘Haider’ by Neha Ravindran

haider-2Movie: Haider

Director: Vishal Bharadwaj

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, Kay Kay Menon, Shraddha Kapoor

Genre: Drama

Vishal Bharadwaj has yet again plunged into the world of Shakespearean plays, and has emerged this time with the Indian adaptation of Hamlet. Now there are two problems with that. Firstly, till now you have cribbed about the complicated nature of Shakespearean plays, then you my dear! are in for a whole new definition of complex with Hamlet a.k.a. Haider. Second, Hamlet in Shakespeare’s longest play, nearly 4 hours long. So when you try squeeze it into a two and a half hour movie, the chopped off snippets are bound to come back and haunt. But Haider puts to rest all my apprehensions and suspicions. Vishal Bharadwaj with his astute directorial sense has crafted a masterpiece with his new film. It is one of those rare experiences, which leaves you speechless, astound and numb to your very core. Haider is not merely a movie, it is as real as it is fictional. Bharadwaj has brought to life theatrical realism with this movie.

Haider (Shahid kapoor) is a young man who is search of his beloved father who was arrested by the Indian Army for militancy. Arshia (Shraddha kapoor) is a journalist (and also his childhood lover) helps his search from camp to camp for his father. Ghazala (Tabu), Haider’s mother, is a traitor in his eyes for her increasing closeness to her brother-in –law. Then Haider receives a message of revenge from his father and his world turns upside down. Set in the backdrop of 1995’s Srinagar, the increasing dissent among people against AFSPA and issue of growing militant groups forms the core of the movie. Love, deceit, death, betrayal and insanity are the central figures personified through the characters.

Haider is one of the best roles essayed by Shahid so far into his career. And proving his potential, Shahid delivers one of his best performances in this movie. Every character has an etched space here. Tabu is mesmerising in her role of Haider’s mother, the half widow-half bride as she calls herself. Kay Kay Menon, without doubt a fantastic actor, lives upto our expectations from him. Shraddha Kapoor stands her ground despite being pitted against actors with great calibre. The journey of man through the insanity of a sane life has been captured with astonishing clarity and perfection. Symbolism reflected in the movie prods multiple interpretations and leaves the audience with lingering questions. Can a man be sane under the guise of sanity? Is revenge the ultimate freedom from the binding chains of loss and pain? Can love justify deceit or is the notion of love deceit in itself? How dead are the living and how alive are the dead for us?

If I were to describe the movie in one word, then I would call it haunting. Every scene, every dialogue every character will haunt every belief that you hold close and even those that you don’t. Haider is a must watch for all those who love to see the lines between reality and cinema blur into a spectacular experience.

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