Indianized Hamlet – Haider

There are innumerable remakes and reproductions of Shakespeare’s novels that have happened, but to use it in a very sensitive context with a sensitive background (especially now that there is some disturbance going on in that place i.e. the story is set in Kashmir) is a very tricky thing indeed. Since I never discuss politics, I am going to go only with the story of the movie I watched yesterday. Its Haider, an Indian adaptation of the Shakespeare play Hamlet. Vishal Bharadwaj is known to make good reproductions of Shakespeare’s novels and plays. Even though I haven’t seen his earlier adaptations Omkara (from Othello) and Maqbool (from Macbeth) (did you notice that he uses the same starting letter and the number of characters of the name of the  play and that of his movies match?) I have heard only great reviews of the same. I did want to watch Haider even though its been three weeks since it release and had some mixed reviews. Overall, it was a very good movie, inspite of it being a tragedy and almost everyone dying. It was slightly slower during the second half than the first half, and I felt that a couple of songs weren’t necessary, but except for that it was done very well. Lot of references to the Shakespeare play was done very well. For e.g. the Ghost is shown as a person with the name ‘Rooh-daar’ where Rooh in Hindi/Urdu means soul/spirit. Even the other names like Haider (for Hamlet), Gazala (for Gertrude), Hilaal (for King Hamlet) all sort of matches. And all the actors have done their role to their best of their ability. Especially Shahid Kapoor as Haider and Tabu as Gazala. They just light up their screen with their presence. I loved the song Bismill, where he performs at his mother’s and uncle’s wedding ceremony is the best of the lot for me. There are other soft numbers, but I like this more. Cinematography was breathtaking. Some places look so heavenly. Art direction also is very good. Tightly interweaving it with politics and touching upon a very sensitive subject and yet bringing the very essence of the Shakespearean play – it is no easy thing. And this movie has done it very well and for that the director and the write gets all the credit. A very good movie.