Haider, the movie adaptation of the Shakespearean tragedy ‘Hamlet’, is a cold, brutal yet poetic tale of revenge set aptly in the frigidly beautiful Kashmir valley. It is a tale of disturbing internal conflicts and complicated relationships with a compelling plot of vengeance.
It is the story of Haider (Shahid Kapoor) who is returning from college to his homeland owing to his father`s disappearance after the Army arrests him for sheltering militants. Haider, on his return, learns of the affair going on between his mother (Tabu) and his quirky, treacherous Uncle (Kay Kay Menon) and soon after, learns about his father`s murder facilitated by his Uncle. He, thus, sets out to kill his uncle.The narration is extremely compelling for a movie of such serious nature. The tragic story is a vivid poetry that magnificently describes different shades of love, vengeance and sheer madness of human beings using visuals, words and silence. Even the background score and songs change moods along with the tale.
This powerful and deep story has equally impressive characters and required powerful performances. That is exactly what you get from the cast. Shahid Kapoor delivers one of the best acting performances in recent times and, I believe, has a firm grip on the National Award.He lives his character onscreen as a disturbingly tragic young man who swings between tender, lovable boy and a complete revenge-driven maniac. Tabu, as the arcane lady who is caught between the love for his son and adoration for her partner, has put in a fabulous performance which will remain with you long after you leave the cinema hall. Finally, Kay Kay Menon as an amusing but detestably villainous uncle of Haider is absolutely brilliant and would’ve been a show stealer if not for Shahid Kapoor. Shraddha Kapoor as Haider’s lady-love, even though gets shadowed by the three mentioned above has done a good job. Irffan Khan does an interesting cameo which seemed like a walk-in-a-park for him. Rest of the cast including the witty Salman brothers played their parts really well.
Vishal Bharadwaj will win all the accolades. He has scripted(along with Basharat Peer) and directed a wonderful tribute to the legendary artist. This is arguably one of the best, if not the best onscreen adaptation of a Shakespearean tragedy. Pankaj Varma of the Ship of Theseus fame cranks the camera for Haider and does a great job. The movie, despite its dark melancholic nature is not at all dull and so Aarif Sheik with the cuts deserves some praise.
Vishal Bharadwaj’s background score and songs are terrific especially the title track “Aao Na”, which sets a haunting mood to the climax, is a brilliant one. ‘Haider’ is a movie which uses the songs incredibly well. Each song depicts each emotional state of mind of Haider. Watch out for VIshal’s own rendition ‘Jhelum’, a melancholic beauty.
If you are looking for an over-the top action flick with slap-stick wits, this is not your movie. This is a movie showcases the plight of folks who live in one of the most militarized zones in the world, a tale of ruthless vendetta. I would be terribly disappointed if Shahid Kapoor and Tabu do not win a lot of awards.