Haider (2014)

Adapting his 3rd Shakespearean text, Vishal Bhardwaj has pushed the envelope as far as he could, shocking the audiences to the micro problems of Haider’s life and macro problems of Kashmir.

The story is simple, and has been shown with a reality that kicks you in your face. The writing is deep, with little nuances you should watch out for by all principle characters. The visuals have been captured with a haunting flavour, telling the tales of deceit, murder, love and insanity.

Shahid Kapur proves yet again why he is set far apart from his peers. His madness, restrain and ‘tragic ballet like’ dance on Bismil speaks volumes for his talent. He looks the part, switches between sanity and unpredictability, giving us an insight into the trauma he has suffered.

Tabu comes a close second to Shahid, playing his mother, showing all sides of a woman who seems to be morally wrong but has her own tale. Her performance is filled with anguish, love for her son and husband and a characteristic streak which cannot be described, only experienced.

Shraddha is present for a few scenes and plays the ‘female lead’. Irrfan Khan plays the metaphorical saviour while Kay Kay Menon embodies a typical Shakespearean character with various shades. Khulbhushan Kharbanda has a few wise words to share and two ‘Salman Khan’ addicts provide some much needed comic relief.

When you read Hamlet you marvel at how well the director has been able to adapt it, given the political landscape and trying to fit the plot in an Indian family set-up. But he comes away leaving you in shudders, at how depraved humanity can be and how much our conscience fights evil inside our mind.

It is a heavy film, slow paced to mirror the life they lead and layered with terror, despair and hurt. One of the finest films of 2014, where all involved braved to swim against the current and present such a piece of art.

3.5/5

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