Hail Haider! As soon as the initial reels of Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider start rolling you are straightaway taken into the beautiful valleys of Srinagar. You feel the cold breezes, you feel the chilly snow, you feel the steamy whispers. In Haider, the somewhat left out and untapped beauty of Kashmir is on full display. But, that is not it, film offers much more than that. And leaves you wondering and stunned. Maximum cinematic perfection is achieved when you are left amused with the thought process of the narrator, and you genuinely feel that his thinking starts where your stops. I felt the same as the film concluded. Here Kashmir’s beauty is strikingly sad, rather tragic. Amidst the snow-capped mountains and shiny bright trees, one spots the burnt houses, blood stained walls, curfewed streets and teary eyes. The cold breeze has an awkward sad silences. Vishal Bharadwaj has chosen the extremely appropriate backdrop for the Shakespearean tragedy ‘Hamlet’. More power to him. Dr Hilal Bir (Narendar Jha) is an idealistic man and a dignified doctor. Ghazala (Tabu) is his wife, who respects his dignity but at the same time perceives it as a carelessness.Hilal’s brother Khurram (Kay Kay Menon) is an opportunistic lawyer, his opportunism somehow has catapulted him as an antagonist of this drama. Hilal and Ghazala’s beloved son Haider (Shahid Kapoor) an aspiring poet, returns from Aligarh, where he had gone solely due to his mother’s wish, and comes to know that the roots of his family are very much shaken. His father is disappeared and he has to go searching him, bloody anywhere. Arshiya (Shraddha Kapoor) is a journalist and the second person apart from Ghazala to love Haider more than her life, she is helping out Haider in a hopeless search. The dilemma of Haider at every step and the conflict within himself – ‘Hum hain ki hum nahin‘ – define the proceedings of the film. The first half moves slowly, infusing many similes, metaphors and haunting silences. The entry of Roohdar (Irrfan) leaves you speechless right before the interval.
Film talks about the political situations at the time of insurgency in Srinagar. And family drama unfolds in that background. It hits the dramatic high in Bismil, gets truest to Shakespeare in ‘So jao’ and leaves you choked in Jhelum. The subtlety with the filmmaker handles the oedipus complex conditions, makes you rooting for his brilliance, it’s when you feel that Vishal Bhardwaj achieves the cinematic perfection.
The perfect cast is an icing on cake. Their performances are going to live for many years just like the film. Be it Shahid, Tabu or Kay Kay Menon and even Shraddha.Vishal Bharadwaj can never go wrong with his key players, Shahid, Tabu and Irrfan together prove that. He draws out the acts which go parallel with the mood and soul of the film. Forget about how right or wrong the decision of releasing the film with Bang Bang this week is, such films don’t happen every day. Grab the opportunity that it has released, and watch it. It is bound to give a new dimension to the film making.