Movie Review; HAIDER


Haider is a 2014 Bollywood film directed by Vishal Bhardwaj and co-written by Basharat Peer and Bhardwaj. The film has a brilliant star cast including Shahid Kapoor in the title role, the film also features Tabu, Shraddha Kapoor, and Kay Kay Menon in lead roles, alongside Irfan Khan in a special appearance. Haider is also the most anticipated movie of the year because it is the third Shakespearean adaptation by Vishal Bharadawaj after Maqbool (2003) and Omkara (2006).

Haider is a tragedy about vengeance, resentment, intricacies and relationships. Haider is an official adaptation of Hamlet set in the backdrops of Kashmir. Kashmir, a land of dispute, has been shown like never before. Since the trailer of Haider is out it has created a lot of expectation from the audience.

The film focuses on human tragedy and revolves around a character called Haider wondering how he can avenge his father’s disappearance or even supposed death. Shahid kapoor plays the role of Haider. Haider starts looking for his disappeared father in many police stations and refugee camps across Kashmir. There is no clue of him and he is equally depressed by his mother’s relationship with his uncle. Tabu essays the role of his mother (ghazala) and kay kay menon as uncle (khurram). Haider returns home to Kashmir after receiving news of his father’s mysterious disappearance from Roohdhar. Haider swear to avenge his father’s death. While there, he learns that his father has been detained by security forces for his involvement with militants. An intriguing conflict transpires as mother and son have contradictoray views on the father’s suspected murder. Haider sets out to avenge his father’s death, with Khurram being at the top of his vengeance list. Haider tried to shoot Khurram as per his father’s wish but is reminded of his mother’s words “revenge only results in revenge” and thus decides to leave Khurram. Khurram begs Haider to kill him to free him from burden of guilt and to avenge his father’s death but Haider doesn’t kill and leaves. The movie begins and ends with highly dramatic situations.

Vishal bharadwaj itself is the lifeline of Haider. He is known for his skill in presenting age-old literature with a modern flair.  This term he experimented with an extraordinary Interpretation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Adapting and setting Hamlet in the Kashmir of 1995 is a genius idea by Vishal. The magnificent backdrop of Kashmir is profitably used for the unfolding of the film’s most manipulating bits. The movie is presented in a fine way. Without Vishal’s directorial skills, Haider couldn’t have been the experience that it turned out to be now. Through the excellent screenplay, Vishal proves that Shakespeare’s classic is very much capable of captivating the audiences of today. With the main plot unchanged, director adds his individual tone and style in the narration. Bhardwaj makes full use editing to create the type of ambience required for his film. Cinematography is of astounding. The locations are breathtaking. Vishal is able to draw attention to his Indian culture while paying tribute to the English inspiration of his story.  The cinematographer depicts Kashmir in an exquisite way. The original songs and film score are composed by the director itself. The music is soul touching.

The cast is an outstanding asset to the film. Shahid Kapoor owns the title role as Haider, giving brilliant output to each scene. Shahid goes deep into himself for Haider. His immense talent is on full display. His tone and attitude are devastatingly remarkable. It is his career’s best performance. Shahid brings in every emotion live on the screen. Tabu comes into form after a long time. No one could have played the role of Ghazala like Tabu. She gives yet another stuning performance in her career. Tabu plays the mother’s role to the core. Tabu depicts every emotion with a sense. Tabu’s mind boggling portrayal of a woman added to the success of the movie. Her performance can be considered as the prime asset of the film. Kay Kay Menon appears in a different shade and steals the show every now and then with his acting skills. Shraddha Kapoor looks better and performs a very difficult role on her shoulders very well. Irfan Khan played a perfect role, even though his role is limited.

Haider is a 161 minute long engaging drama which doesn’t let you get bored because of his fine writing skills. Haider is a masterpiece and is not an action or entertainment masala flick.  Since it’s a niche film it may not appeal to all. People who are accustomed to watching masala entertainers may find this film slow. But then there are people who genuinely love cinema. Such film lovers won’t be disappointed. The movie can be termed as Vishal’s best work. Although the movie lacks complete commercial value, its fine storyline will keep the audience attract strongly from start to end.

Haider is a brilliant cinematic experience that is beyond melodrama and unrealistic fantasies and typical Bollywood cliches. The movie offers a highly stimulating cinematic experience for a thinking audience. Overall, the movie is exceptional and distinctive.


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