Haider Movie Review


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Release date
: 02 Oct 2014
Starring: Shahid Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor, Tabu
Producer : Vishal Bhardwaj
Director : Vishal Bhardwaj
Music Director : Vishal Bhardwaj


The story of Haider is set in Kashmir, where Dr. Hilal Meer and his wife Ghazala (Tabu) live. One fine day, Hilal brings home an injured militant for treatment, which lands him into trouble and then he disappears leaving Ghazala all alone.

Ghazala now starts living with Hilal’s brother Khurram (Kay Kay), who is in love with his Bhabhijaan. Ghazala’s son Haider (Shahid) arrives home, only to know that his mother and Chacha are getting married. Haider now decides to take revenge and find out where his father is. Will Haider be successful in his revenge forms the rest of the story.

Plus Points:

Filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj has already proven his worth with films like Omkara, Maqbool and Kaminey. This film is no less and also adds just another feature in his cap. The movie has the perfect blend of a stunning emotions. Speaking of performances, it is only Vishal who can bring the best out of Shahid Kapoor. The actor is brilliant in every scene and portrays the role of a man on a mission with perfection.

But the one person that takes this poetry in motion to yet another level is Tabu. Calling this her best performance till date wouldn’t be wrong. Kay Kay Menon too plays his part extremely well, and outshines in every scene. Irrfan, may have done a cameo, but every time he enters the screens, he takes the scene to just another level.

Minus Points :

Even after such perfect casting, the only flaw is Shraddha Kapoor who seems to be lost in the plot. Her performance becomes monotonous. Another negative part in the movie is the run-time. Also being a film of a niche genre, not many people will be able to connect with it.


When it comes to performances, everyone is on the same page in this film. Shahid Kapoor brings out his genetic brilliance and gives an ace performance. From covering Hamlet’s vulnerability to his anger about deceit, Kapoor delivers it all with breathtaking valor and immense sincerity. He slips from frame to frame, mood to mood with precision and ease that only someone who is convinced and confident can get.

Shraddha Kapoor as Oephilia or Arshiya as in the film, is great. Beautiful, innocent and smooth, she is better than most of her ungrateful roles.

Tabu brings her own to Gertrude. She plays Ghazala with flair and have a haunting quality to her silence. When her son tells her she has two faces, the heartbreak shows on her face. Her beauty is such in the film that it reflects her state of mind. Her happiness speaks through her eyes, her pain shows even before she has slapped her son to express the same. Only Tabu could have brought alive Gertrude in Ghazala.

Irrfan Khan in few scenes in the film, is pitch perfect. He is the Quintessential Shakespearan prop that drives Hamlet and the actor is at his wicked best. Treat yourself if you can replicate his ‘Badla’. So much said in one word!

Kay Kay Menon is far away from his last few stints and gives Claudius (Khurram) his own color. I loved how his demeanor shifted in the presence of different people. Earnestly loving towards Ghazala, he is genuinely venomous towards Haider and Menon does it with utmost brilliance.

Narendra Jha has little to play but is smashing in his minuscule part.


A humanitarian doctor finds himself fighting for life in Kashmir. When his wife asks why is he treating a militant, he smiles. She asks, “Kiski taraf ho aap”, he replies, “Zindagi Ki.” The doctor goes missing and his son Haider, a poetry student from Aligarh returns to find his realities transformed. There is a translucent maze through which he watches his mother laugh without inhibitions, while his chacha dances around with childlike mirth, singing a folksy Kahmiri lullaby. In that one scene, Bhardwaj and Peer lay out the basic themes of the play. The first hour of the film tracks a hapless Haider frantically looking for his father, refusing to believe he is dead. The most striking scene that shapes his mental state is when he and his mother discuss the aftermath of his father’s disappearance.

Tabu in a very powerful scene tells Haider, how repulsive and inattentive his Abbuji was. She elaborately describes her relationship with her husband expressing how he smelled of death and blood. It made her throw up. And in the same vein she explains how Haider was all she had and ever will have to look forward to.

Oedipus Complex is not evidently delved into but in Shahid’s words from his interview to Koimoi, it is running in undertones, latently present for the takers. The sexual tension between Ghazala and Haider are seen in hints. There are fleeting references of it. I mention this to stay clear of the fact that this isn’t why I call the film bold. It is Bhardwaj’s ability to retain the soul of Hamlet changing its form so drastically that mesmerises me.

The real enthusiasm of the play is revealed only when the Ghost walks into the scene but in Haider, the conversations with the ‘Ghost’ doesn’t drive the narrative. The monologues are reformed adequately and retained mostly but compared to Maqbool and Omkara, Haider risks deviating more than the usual. The constant harping on the word Chutzpah is for a reason!

And finally Haider is definitely larger than Hamlet in terms of volume it speaks of. A state torn between the animosity of two warring nations, Haiders are not a rare sight amidst the unrest of the Valley. Infusing the drama of disappearing people and giving it a relevant voice, Haider ups the Shakespearean drama, gives it a relatable look and sets it in a time of utter stagnation and helplessness, making it a consistent, coherent and engaging story.

Technical Aspects:

‘Haider’ is a brilliant adaptation of Shakespeare’s novel, ‘Hamlet’. For the ones, who have not read the book yet, they too wont feel lost in the film. Vishal has very neatly added his own art in the film in the form of Kashmir. Leaving aside the city’s scenic beauty, Vishal rather focuses on the dilemma that the people here go through.

All the songs are awesome and well fitted in the plot, especially ‘Bismil’, which is brilliant composition. Dialogues written by Vishal are amazing, especially the way in which Haider expresses the problems of Kashmir by saying ‘Hum Hain Ya Hum Nahi’ and ‘To Free Or Not To Free.’


On the whole, Haider is one work of art with creativity at its best. Vishal Bhardwaj brings out stunning performances from Shahid Kapur and Tabu who take this film to another level. All those who like hard hitting films with an edge, this is one film you should not miss.