Star Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Tabu, Kay Kay Menon, Irrfan Khan
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
Producer: Vishal Bhardwaj, Siddharth Roy Kapur
Music Director: Vishal Bhardwaj
The Highs: Great performance by the actors, Great background music, Superb handling of the subject by Vishai Bhardwaj, Probably the first time Indian cinema talks about the issues that plagued Kashmir in the nineties when terrorism was at its peak.
The Lows: Almost nothing, unless you’re a youngster or a college student who turned up for the movie because the tickets of Bang Bang were unavailable.
This is not your typical Bollywood masala movie; in fact its a direction where Bollywood rarely treads. The story-line is somewhat complex and it may come across as a serious movie. Its one of the rare Bollywood films that depicts the issues facing the state of Kashmir. Talks of demilitarization of the state, ghost ids, persons going missing, the plebiscite that never happened are spoken of; these issues have never been talked about in mainstream cinema earlier.
The Haider team must be praised for their courage to show the other side of the issue, that is to go beyond Pakistan bashing (so typical in Bollywood) for Kashmir’s troubles and speaks about the alleged atrocities of the Indian Army on Kashmiris.
You will also know what the word ‘chutzpah’ (the ‘c’ in the beginning is silent when you pronounce the word) mean as it has been quoted several times in the movie. To give it an Indian twist (double-meaning), the charcters joke about ‘chutzpah’ pronouncing the word as ‘chootspaa’ in the movie. They also equate it to AFSPA (Armed Forces Special Powers Act, the security law which gives armed forces immunity from prosecution while operating in the militancy-hit areas but has been criticised by human rights groups).
The movie is primarily shot in Kashmir and you can see some excellent footage of the valley. The background music is superb and nicely complements the screenplay. Vishal Bharadwaj has done a great job with the movie. Bhardwaj shows great skills by weaving a heart wrenching tale of betrayal, loyalty, love, angst, pain and a man (Shahid Kapoor) torn in between them all.
Even if you have knowledge of Hamlet, you’ll surely enjoy Haider. Although Bang Bang may be high on buzz currently, I’m sure more people will throng to the theatres to see Haider in the days to come.