Starring: Shahid Kapoor Shradha Kapoor, Tabu, Kay Kay Menon, Irrfan Kapoor and many more
Editing : Aarief Shiekh
Cinematography: Pankaj Kumar
Music, Written and Directed by: Vishal Bharadwaj
Vishal Bharadwaj, who is very well known for presenting very old literature with modern touch returns this time for his own interpretation on William Shakespeare’s Hamlet (maybe thats why the film name is starting with ‘H’ too). His previous interpretations were Maqbool (based on Macbeth) and Omkara (based on Othello). He joins hands with one of his previous hero Shahid along with many big acting stalwarts. The hype was good as how it will be for all Vishal’s films. So lets see how the movie is turned for the Indians.
The film is set in 1995, when militancy in Kashmir was at its peak. Haider (Shahid Kapoor), a young student who returns home from university on receiving news of his father’s disappearance after being picked up by the army. Equally upsetting is the discovery that his mother, Ghazala (Tabu), has taken up with his father’s brother, Khurram (Kay Kay Menon). When Haider learns the truth behind his father’s death, he’s plunged into grief and rage, and is possibly losing his mind. Whether he was able to find his father or not is the fitting finale of the film.
Vishal Bhardwaj’s story telling is poetic without any doubt but the pace is so leisurely that the interest gets evaporated for the majority audience. The second half gets the needed pace which makes us glued to the seat. Through the intriguing screenplay, Bhardwaj proves that Shakespeare’s classic is very much capable of captivating the audiences of today. While it lacks complete commercial value, its intricate storyline will keep the audience mesmerised from start to finish.
Shahid Kapoor delivers his strongest performance yet, skillfully going from helpless to grieving to obsessed with revenge. The film though belongs to Tabu, who infuses an aching vulnerability to her part. Fragile and heartbreaking, she is the trump card used by the director. Kay Kay Menon sinks his teeth into the slimy Claudius role, and Shraddha Kapoor, blessed with the most expressive eyes, oozes earnestness as Arshia, torn between familial pressure and her childhood sweetheart. With minimal dialogue, Irrfan Khan leaves a lasting impression as the shadowy stranger bearing a crucial message.
As if conducting an orchestra, Bhardwaj lines up his instruments, employing camera, music, and artful production design to deliver a moody drama that feels consistently authentic. Pankaj Kumar’s cinematography, in particular, is the man of the moment. The stunning landscapes and the inventively shot play-within-a-play song-sequence aside, we get a real, lived-in sense of Kashmir as inhabited by the characters themselves. The drama is pumped up by swelling orchestral background music, calling attention to itself. Haider is superb, witty, violent, tragic – magic all because of the man. Mr.Bharadwaj, take a bow. Splendid interpretation with all guns well loaded and attacked perfectly. This film is a highly stimulating cinematic experience for a thinking audience. So dont miss this chutzpah..!! 🙂