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.

Movie Review : ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ (**Two Star)

Matru-Ki-Bijlee-Ka-Mandola-Poster-1(By Akshat Sharma)Vishal Bhardwaj’s stature as a competent director in Bollywood is well too known. He gave us movies like ‘Maqbool’, ‘Makdee’, ‘Kaminey’ and ‘Omkara’ but these movies had some storyline and a matching screenplay to keep pace with it. Watching a Vishal Bhardwaj film could be an experience in itself if he gets his story and screenplay in place. If these two vital ingredients are missing in his film then you get confused a film like ‘7 Khoon Maaf’ or a ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’.

‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ is not a cinematic disaster but the message it wants to communicate is so hazy and ambiguous that even after the movie ends you don’t know what exactly has happened in those two hours. The confusion begins with the title itself because the title doesn’t make any sense. Why the movie is called ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ ? Is it a quirky rhyming scheme or some kind of creative absurdity? No explanations!  To be very frank ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ doesn’t even sound like a Hindi film. No wonder some people thought it could be a Telugu movie!

When the film was being promoted ahead of its release the director had claimed that the movie was about land acquisition and it was a political satire. As cinegoers we understand the limitations of being a mainstream Bollywood director but it doesn’t mean he has the licence to play with our wits and makes us feel like ‘Gulabi Bhains’.

Harphool Mandola aka Harry (Pankaj Kapoor) is a builder who also operates as a land shark. He wants SEZ (Special Economic Zone) in the vicinity of his village and dreams of smoking chimneys instead of lush green agricultural fields. Matru (Imran Khan) is a ‘Jattan Ka Chora’ who after completing his education from Delhi is forced to work as a bonded labourer to Mandola because his grandfather had taken some kind of loan from him.

Harry’s daughter Bijlee (Anushka Sharma) is a bindas village belle who doesn’t mind getting a strategically placed tattoo in Hindi screaming ‘Dekho Magar Pyar Se’. Like all typical Indian fathers Harry wants his daughter to marry Badal (Arya Babbar), the son of a corrupt female politico Chaudhuri Devi (Shabana Azmi). This matrimony is supposed to be an integral part of the SEZ land acquisition which would catapult Harry into the big league of builders.

If narrated in linear motion this story would have been easier to grasp but Vishal Bhardwaj takes the random route. His characters do random things in the first half and do not make any meaningful progress till the interval. Just before the interval there is a twist and the film gets political with Matru doubling up as Mao.

The story meanders aimlessly in the second half as well but the screenplay holds the film to a certain point. We get some nuanced lines from the characters. Pankaj Kapoor comes to his own in the second half and makes the movie bearable. He along with Shabna Azmi comes up with the best performances in the movie.

Imran Khan doesn’t look convincing playing a Jat lad and so is Anushka Sharma. She is a complete misfit in the film. ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’s music is also very average with only the title track creates some buzz at the end.

‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ is an average film which fails to meet the high standards set by the director. Watch it only if you are willing to see veterans like Pankaj Kapur and Shabana Azmi displaying their ability to perform with conviction without much storyline support.

First Look: Trailer For ‘Ek Thi Dayan’

day12The first trailer of Ek Thi Daayan has been released online by Balaji Motion Pictures. Directed by Kannan Iyer, the film has an impressive star cast including actors like Emraan Hashmi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Kalki Koechlin and Huma Qureshi in the leads.

Playing the role of some kind of magic artist actor Emraan Hashmi is shown drawing sketches on his board and it appears that it has some connection with the witches depicted in the film. Produced by Ekta Kapoor, Shobha Kapoor and Vishal Bhardwaj this movie scheduled for release in April later this year.

‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ Is A Political Satire : Director

matru12-dec29‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ is one of the most eagerly awaited movies of the year 2013. Scheduled for all India release this Friday on January 13, 2013 the movie is tipped to be a political comedy. The movie deals with issue of land scam in a state like Haryana but the director Vishal Bhardwaj is quick to add that the texture and tone of the movie is not at all serious.

“The film’s plot is based on the issue of land scam but I have not personalised this to anyone,” Vishal Bhardwaj informed the media while addressing a press conference. “It has happened in every big state. We have just added a fun element to that serious issue in the film. So, the tone of the film is not serious but issues are very serious. It’s a satire, comedy. You can say it’s a political comedy,” he added.

Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola has an interesting star cast featuring Imran Khan, Anushka Sharma, Shabana Azmi and Pankaj Kapur.

First Look : Trailer For ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’

The first trailer for Vishal Bhardwaj’s upcoming film ‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ has been released online for the audience.  Vishal has casted actors like Imran Khan, Anushka Sharma, Pankaj Kapur, Shabana Azmi and Arya Babbar in this movie and the shooting is in full swing as the year comes to a close.

‘Matru Ki Bijlee Ka Mandola’ is scheduled for early January 2013 release. Take a look at the trailer..