Vishal Bhardwaj roped in Shahid Kapoor, Tabu, Shraddha Kapoor, Kay Kay Menon and Irrfan Khan for the desi adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Haider is the third installment of Bhardwaj’s Shakespeare trilogy after Maqbool and Omkara
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What is it about?
Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider is set in Srinagar during the ’90s. Shahid Kapoor plays Haider who returns to hometown in Kashmir after he receives the news that his father (Irrfan Khan) has gone missing. Tabu plays the role of Haider’s mother, Ghazala. Irrfan Khan (Roohdar) plays a doctor who provides shelter to injured militants in his own house. Soon the house is blown up, and the Haider’s father goes missing.
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After returning to Kashmir, Haider realises that the security forces have abducted his father for shielding militants. He also comes to know that his mother has married his Chacha (Kay Kay Menon) after his father goes missing. Haider soon learns that his father is no more and intense drama follows as the mother and son come to terms with this. Following this, Haider comes to know the person responsible for his father’s death. What will Haider do now? Well, you have to watch the film to find it out.
Though Haider is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the film is about how Bhardwaj handles the relationship between Ghazala, Haider and the uncle. You can’t expect the adaptation of Hamlet to be an easy breezy film, but the film makes you wish things would speed up. The Kashmir scenes in Haider shot by Pankaj Kumar will make you sigh and what the people of the state have gone through will make you weep. Full marks to Vishal for the dialogues of the film; you will find it hard to believe that Hamlet is not penned by him, and that it cannot be set anywhere but Kashmir. His adaptation is as strong as the original play. Coming to performances, it is Shahid Kapoor and Tabu who steal the show with their brilliant performances. Irrfan’s cameo is small but impactful.
Shraddha Kapoor who plays Shahid’s love interest, Arshiya seems lost in the film. Some of the dialogues may go over your head unless you speak Urdu. Since its 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. So if you’re one of them, you won’t be disappointed.
Haider is not just another movie but a brilliant cinematic experience that is beyond melodrama and unrealistic fantasies and typical Bollywood cliches. If you have an appetite for tragedy and revenge dramas, this one cannot be skipped.