While watching the recently released documentary on the National Film Archive Of India founder P. K. Nair (Celluloid Man), they mentioned the list of lost important films Mr. Nair had identified. One of them was 'Khoon Ka Khoon', which was released in 1935 and was based on William Shakespeare's, 'Hamlet'. It was shot in the play within a play format by Sohrab Modi and was one of the first known Shakespeare talkies. Almost, two decades later Kishore Sahu imitated Lawrence Olivier's Hamlet and made a frame to frame similar product, with the same name, starring young Mala Sinha. The makers failed to adapt it to Indian conditions and were followed by many such types of films including an action film made by Kamran Khan (Father of Farah and Sajid Khan) starring Dara Singh also known as 'Khoon Ka Khoon'. In 2003, director Vishal Bhardwaj surprised the entire industry by giving us a brilliant adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth in the form of 'Maqbool', followed by 'Omkara' which was adapted from Shakespeare's 'Othello'. He presented these timeless classics brilliantly, which gelled perfectly with its Indian surroundings. Thus, expectations were on its top level when Vishal announced 'Haider', his third adaptation of Shakespeare's plays. In a long time span of eight years between 'Omkara' and 'Haider' we witnessed few weak movies from Vishal. Thus, let's find out the fate of his latest released film 'Haider', whether it will give us back the Vishal Bhardwaj we all love for his initial films or might give us another self-indulgent film matching up to his last few films.
'Haider' is a story of Haider Meer (Shahid Kapoor), who is trying to find his missing father (Narendra Jha). Haider's mother (Tabu) and uncle Khurram Meer (Kay Kay Menon) are lost in their own world and thus the only support he has is of his beloved Arshia (Shraddha Kapoor). Enters Roohdar (Irrfan Khan), who has a special message from Haider's father, which changes Haider's life completely and what happens next is what the entire film is all about.
Screenplay & Technicalities:
The story as we all know is adapted from Shakespeare's 'Hamlet', but has been beautifully woven into the raw Kashmir set in the mid nineties. The politics and the happenings of Kashmir blend brilliantly with the classic play. The screenplay is indulging and thought provoking, especially in the first half of the film, where the movie goes on a razor sharp mode. The second half, takes the story forward, but slows down in the middle portions. In addition, the pre climax part did not gel with the flow and the style of the film. Nevertheless, the weak points are balanced with a brilliant climax, which haunts you even after the film is over. There are some brilliant scenes, especially every scene featuring Shahid Kapoor and Tabu, Irrfan's track, Shahid's public speech followed by his outrage and many more. Kulbhushan Kharbanda's scene is the sole and the theme of the film, wished the makers would have given it more detailing then the impact would have been more powerful. On the flip side, few tracks needed some explanations and detailing, especially Tabu and Shraddha's characters at the end. The narrative style should have been bit gripping, mainly in the middle portion of the film. The cinematography is of top notch and the picturesque location of Kashmir takes this movie on another level. The locations are integral part of the film and works as a character in the movie.
Music & Direction:
Music by Vishal Bhardwaj might not be as popular as his earlier films, but is totally poetic and brilliantly placed in the film. 'Jhelum' chokes you with its pain followed by 'Aaj Ke Naam' in the end credits. 'Gulon Mein Rang Bhare' is romantically beautiful. 'Bismil' is on the lines of 'Ek Haseena Thi' from the movie 'Karz', where there was humungous drama in the song. It is very tough to surpass the drama created in 'Ek Haseena Thi', but 'Bismil' brilliantly outshines the classic song and sets its own mark. 'Aao Na' is another good song, but not properly placed in the film.
It is very tough for a director to match up to the expectation level set by their own films. Vishal Bhardwaj too comes up with the baggage of two great films and few lost ones, thus there were equal chances of 'Haider' falling in any of these brackets. However, Vishal gets everything right in 'Haider' and does full justice to the Shakespeare's 'Hamlet'. Unlike other filmmakers, he works hard in the detailing of every small element associated with this film. Such films maintain the pride of Indian cinema and will lure the good film lovers for posterity.Performances:
Shahid Kapoor gives one of his best performances in this movie. A good actor mostly performs through their eyes and here, Shahid too performs brilliantly with his eyes. Tabu gives yet another powerful performance and her scenes with Shahid are spellbinding. You can feel her every emotion through her brilliant performance. Wished, the makers would have given her character a proper justification at the end. Shraddha Kapoor looks cute and beautiful. Her chemistry with Shahid looks fiery and goes well in the romantic portions of the film. However, her role should have been more elaborated. Kay Kay Menon, Narendra Jha and Lalit Parimoo lend good support. Irrfan Khan and Kulbhushan Kharbanda's cameo is powerful. Ashish Vidyarthi and Aamir Bashir were wasted.
So bol meri "FILMI KHOPDI" iss film mein kitna hain Dum?
Dum? Well, if you love good, intelligent, meaningful cinema, then 'Haider' is your film of the year. The movie might not be on the lines of Vishal Bhardwaj's 'Maqbool' or 'Omkara', but is definitely in his top three best films and one of the finest adaptation of 'Hamlet' from our country. The masala film lovers might find this movie a bit slow and arty due to which most of them would prefer to avoid it, but for rest, it is a treat to cherish. Instead of terming 'Haider' as a plain adaptation of Shakespeare's drama, I would re-term it as a picturesque, poetic and a philosophical adaptation of Shakespeare's drama made by people who love cinema, for the people who love cinema.Ratings : 4/5