Near to reality, Haider stands out from the rest

Opinion – So what was on show yesterday? Was it the poetry, the tale of despair, the history of deceit and deception or everything? After a long span of time, it feels that Bollywood is grown up.

Haider is not another Bollywood movie on Kashmir. If you want to unlearn the narratives about Kashmir you are grown up with, you are recommended to watch Haider. Unlike other Bollywood films, Haider presents an insight on Kashmir issue. It dares “Khoon mango ge kheer deingay… Kashmir mango ge cheer deingay” with “Iss par bhi leingay Azaadi…uss paar bhi leingay Azaadi”.

Naa shaam naa savera
Andhera hi andhera
Naa sham naa savera
Andhera hi andhera
Hai roohoon ka basera, so jaao!

Stunned, amazed, thrilled and numb, that is what Haider does to you. It is so disturbing that it will leave you restless. The redness of blood on perfect white snow will flash in front of you for the rest of the day. The film is brutally dark and amazingly beautiful.

The colors are used in such a way that they complement the dark theme of the film. And to mention the superb cinematography, the craft actually does go hand in hand with art and bring out celluloid frames to life. The lens is enabled to capture darkest side of the narrative while framing the scenic.

The execution is flawless, merging traditional hues of Kashmiri folk art with the magical verses of Gulzar and marrying best of the literature with oldest of the conflict.

Characters in the film are absolutely justified and lived by the actors. Performance of Shahid Kapoor is worth appreciating for all the variations that he beautifully executed. He is to be applauded for living many lives together on screen within one role in the film. Tabu and KK menon are brilliant as usual and Shraddha Kapoor is commendable for playing a Kashmiri girl to the maximum.

The essence of the film is its nearness to the reality. The deliberate attempt of keeping it raw and grim is what catches the attention.

Clearly not a film about shikara ride and Dal lake, Haider stands out from rest of the lot. It has managed to blast the stereotyped Kashmir and in the meantime successfully establish itself as a bold film unlike cheap Bollywood thrills. It is a mature attempt to translate the story untold, of the largest prison of the world, using metaphors and symbols.

Haider is a must watch film for every storyteller.


Athar Rather(The author is a part-time storyteller & full-time learner. He has previously made two documentaries on Kashmir and is currently working on a film project. He can be reached at email salafiathar@gmail.com)