Tuesday, October 07, 2014


While Haider is not equal to Gulzar's Maachis, the comparison inevitably springing to mind even though the latter's focus was militancy, which is only the backdrop to the former's storyline, it is, apart from Blue Umbrella, probably Bhardwaj's best, and certainly a better work than Shakespeare's Hamlet itself. Set in a raw Kashmir, with the film relentless in its dark thrust and building up of tension (in spite of knowing the broad contours of the story), the film scores with its nuanced understanding of Kashmiris' fight and their concerns: it does not take sides except that of humanity, just like Haider's father does not; and it does not flinch from showing Indian army's cruelty and what it leads to. Where the film fails is its too many songs, pointless (and unsuccessful attempts of) comedy (Maine Pyar Kiya odes seem to have become quite popular in films these days, from Filmistan to here), and an important supporting cast who fail to act: that is, Shraddha Kapoor and Irrfan Khan. In a film whose nucleus is its characters, it is important to have the people playing them right: thankfully, Tabu has played a stellar role (another similarity with Maachis), and Shahid Kapoor has also done a good job. Yet, without especially Shraddha's role being played to the standard the story wanted, one cannot have the film needed. In addition, the film would have gained by showing a spirit as spirit, rather than an escaped prisoner. Right now, in fact, the film tries both: and loses by it. The original play's beauty is that nothing is certain; the film does start out on those lines, but gradually tries to educate the viewer, to lessen the uncertainty.

Otherwise, the cinematography is beautiful, and the background score is gripping and suitable; and what is the best is Bhardwaj with his over-the-top wackily dark humor. The gravediggers in their graves, the bald look of Shahid, and dialogues playing with 'to be or not to be' in various guises: all fit the mood. If only the director could have shaved off half an hour of it, it could yet have been a great film even with the other flaws intact.

No comments:

Post a Comment