Qalandar Reviews Haider (2)

earlier post

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98 Responses to “Qalandar Reviews Haider (2)”

  1. At Saurabh’s request I have opened a new thread for this review. The old one was too cluttered with political discussions to be revived. Hopefully better discussions can take place here. Now in a film as political as this one some of the discussion will entail getting into this [the politics] but comments that veer too far afield and that get into politics in the sense of making statements will be deleted. The decisions won’t be up for review! Sane commenters have nothing to be concerned about. I also take responsibility for contributing to the nonsense in the earlier thread. Whether seriously intended or not certain kinds of discussions draw out the worst elements. What I mean by this isn’t different or opposing perspectives but arguments that aren’t ‘responsible’ even in the most basic ways and are statements of more or less ‘fundamentalist’ positions. If one tries to debate with the Taliban one is the loser for it! In any case I am just explaining where I’m coming from on all this. Hopefully we can have a more productive thread this time around. And again there is nothing wrong with making political points in a film inherently political. But let’s say ‘stupidity’ in the guise of ‘political debate’ will be ruthlessly dealt with!

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    • Wise choice, and certainly anything from Q deserves less background noise. I don’t get as much time to peruse the blog these days but it appears every time I do there’s this precise problem, and from the usual suspects.

      I haven’t seen the film yet, hopefully will be doing so this Friday, will read this review then.

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  2. A fine dissenting view by Mukul Kesavan on the film-

    HUGE SPOILERS AHEAD-

    “What does it mean to adapt a play by Shakespeare? It could mean that a film-maker has an epiphany reading the play; he is struck by how appropriate the structure of the play is for telling some contemporary story, so he sets it in that context and re-purposes it for the present day. There are many Indian political settings where Julius Caesar would tick every box: conspiracy, treachery, assassination, inspired rabble-rousing rhetoric, even fickle mobs. Or it could be that the film-maker comes at the adaptation from the opposite direction: he might just want to film a play by Shakespeare and he uses a particular historical or geographical context as an authenticating locale, to make the play seem plausible or ‘relevant’ to an audience that might find its period Danish setting and its 16th-century English off-putting and opaque.”…

    [SPOILERS AHEAD]

    “Bhardwaj tries to turn Hamlet’s famous incapacity to act into a moral choice: the rejection of revenge. It’s an inspired idea, but Bhardwaj does nothing with it and it ends up as a tacked-on lesson. Nothing in the action of the film or in Shahid Kapoor’s performance leads up to it. Much more consistent with Haider’s hyper-kinetic rage through the film is the savagely violent scene when he kills Haider’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern by smashing their heads in with boulders. When you consider that Haider’s decision not to kill his uncle follows one of Bhardwaj’s patented sequences of utter mayhem, where dozens of people are shot dead (by Haider, amongst others) and the rest blown up by Ghazala, it begins to seem a curiously selective abjuring of revenge.

    Haider is a gorgeously mounted film, made by a gifted film-maker. It’s trouble is that it is a revenge melodrama featuring a suicidally reckless hero who neither kills the villain nor dies in the end. It doesn’t supply the climax the genre demands and it departs from the original to make a moral point, which makes no sense given what’s come before. Its great achievement is to bring Kashmir out of the closet; it’s failure is that it can’t decide whether it wants to picture bleakness or proffer hope.

    http://www.telegraphindia.com/1141006/jsp/opinion/story_18896533.jsp

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  3. (Rashneek Kher) Many years ago, I saw a Nat Geo Special. A snake slithers up a tree to a nest where a bird is watching over her eggs. Frightened at the mere sight of the snake, she takes flight, the snake eats the eggs, destroys the nest and slithers back only to a find an alligator in the swamp. The predator suddenly becomes the prey. The snake manages to escape the powerful jaws of the alligator but not before it is badly bruised, almost unfit to be a predator anymore.

    If you are Vishal Bharadwaj, your movie would not depict the snake as a predator but as mere prey, a badly bruised and injured reptile incapable of doing any harm. What you are told would obviously be the truth but an incomplete one.

    So the unwitting viewer is given a book of history with first four chapters missing, without even making a mention that they ever existed. When you have a movie that is set in the Kashmir of 1995, you have to deal with the baggage of history. You cannot gloss over what happened from 1989 to 1995.

    The filmmaker chooses to ignore those significant years which saw hundreds of temples being razed to dust, thousands of houses burnt after being looted, which saw this very majority, which is portrayed as almost subjugated, participating in a gory ritual of driving away the minorities and being the subjugators themselves.

    There is a convenient script and an inconvenient half truth which makes the very edifice of the movie suspect and thus less credible.

    http://www.dailyo.in/opinion/vishal-bharadwajs-haider-kashmir/story/1/309.html

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    • For some the book, begins in 80s, and for others, centuries ago. You cannot gloss over the genesis of the Muslims in Kashmir, and the plight of Sikh, and then complain that the first four chapters are missing. All stories are complex and everyone wants to simplify to their benefit.

      But the best ending would be to forgive and forget. Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind”.

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      • “forgive and forget” That is awesome, no? Forget wanting separation, move forward, live in peace. I like that a lot! Otherwise it is going to be Israel-Palestinian situation. Chalo, I agree with you on somethings 🙂
        The movie: should one watch it as adaptation of Hamlet purely? It is promoted as such in channels/media. However, critics also say watch it as any hindi movie. I have problem with the latter, of course 😦

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  4. OK, I’m posting my comment from previous thread. When people get back to talking about movie and not politics.

    ***
    Great review. The one thing I don’t agree with many reviews that Haider has very little of Hamlet. I agree Bharadwaj has added lot of Kashmir politics but the film’s main graph is as clear as I can remember from Hamlet. I’ll try to put up main points from Hamlet resembling the movie.

    SPOILERS>>>>

    Hamlet(Shahid)) gets a dream and ghost (Roohdoor – Irrfan)appears and tells him that his uncle Claudius(KK Menon) has killed his father(Narendra Jha). Uncle Claudius ends up marrying Gertrude (Tabu). Hamlet seeks revenge with Uncle Claudius and believes his mother is part of the plan. Hamlet starts behaving as insane person and eventually does a play about the story imitating Claudius killing King Hamlet(Bismil song). Hamlet plans to kill Claudius but doesn’t kill as he is in prayer and killing him will send him to Heaven instead. He is sent out of city out to be killed by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (Salman, Salman) and Hamlet kills them both and escapes from them. Then he confronts his mother and ends up killing Ophelia’s (Shraddha) father(Lalit Parimoo). Ophelia ends up turning insane (even sings a folk song as in Novel) and ends up killing herself. This angers Ophelia’s brother Laertes (Aamir Bashir) and he fights with Hamlet (Shahid) fight at the graye of Ophelia and then finally the climax which is different. Getrude drinks poison meant for Hamlet and dies and then Hamlet kill Claudius whereas its little different in the movie.

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    • The parallel between the two is well made here.
      The plot of the film follows it faithfully, I think.

      Deviations from this would qualify it for having little to do with Hamlet – like if the plot added characters to keep a KM/KP balance.

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    • Master: The film of course, more or less, follows the play in terms of the “plot”. However what the film doesn’t do is deal properly with the themes in the play. So yes the film “follows” the play, but it is not “like” the play.

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  5. I strongly feel that this ‘balance’ or ‘showing the other side’ that everyone keeps talking about would have been possible if there was presence of the other side in the plot. There wasn’t.

    Not sure where this balancing act could be inserted.
    The militant being treated by the doctor got injured because the army dealt with him for being one, and his job was to harm KPs. Well isn’t that something one can imagine? Do we need details?

    Or could they have shown a group of KPs protestng in front of UN office – side by side the kashmiri muslims who were protesting about their missing people and for being ‘half widows’? It would have really been a bhai-bhai/bhai.behen scene. 😉

    The army personell throws up the pictures of Shaid’s father?
    Munna seems to protest over this a lot. IMO the picture is of a man the army is keeping in custody for their belief in his sympathy towards the cause of the separatists. I think his feelings were well expressed in that gesture.

    Any idea how this balance could be brought about – without adding more characters and changing the whole texture of the film?

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  6. People forget this isn’t a documentary on Kashmiri politics. It is a fictional story told from one family’s perspective. The truth told from the protagonist’s eyes is not invalidated just because there is an opposing truth too. If people want the full story from all sides go research it, read books, government reports etc. I don’t think it’s a film makers responsibility when he’s making a work of fiction/art to represent all sides of a conflict, especially when that conflict is only a vehicle to push his plot forward.

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    • Well said.

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    • I only have one question for you Sonia.
      “When I saw the song “Bismil” (which was irrelevant to the movie in any case and could have been shot anywhere else in Kashmir) being pictured there with this big black gory puppet inside the temple, I couldn’t resist but ask if Bharadwaj would have dared to do something similar in a mosque, a church or even a gurudwara?”

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      • As far as church/christians go the history of hindi cinema will show you, them as being portayed the characterless, english speaking vamps and villains.

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      • Kashmir has famous mosque ‘HazratBal’ Which has hair strand of Prophet Mohd. There was huge crisis in 1964-65 when it was stolen, leading to killing and loot.

        Will VB had dare to shoot it there and what would have been reaction?

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        • I’m not sure this is a functioning temple.

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          • A temple is always a temple. It is unlike a mosque, which is merely a place to read namaz or a church which is for the congregation to gather. It can be shifted anywhere and that is OK but not so with temple. Anyhow, it will become “controversial” so I will stop here out of fear.

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          • I don’t want to generate another irrelevant debate here but very quickly and though I don’t necessarily disagree with what you say here initially it must also be stated that there are lots of abandoned temples all over India. Whether these are ‘active’ nonetheless is I suppose tantamount to saying that the god is there whether the believer is or isn’t! This is a debatable claim to some degree. Also while it is true that churches or mosques don’t ‘house’ god in the same way it is nonetheless not the case that followers of those traditions consider these sites to be movable property! The idea that these are “just” places to offer prayers isn’t a categorization that people in those traditions would accept. Plus these sites have other functions for which they remain operational for much more than the pure prayer or congregation activities would suggest.

            Anyway I don’t wish to begin a long thread here on the respective status of each.

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          • What I mean is that a temple is not a temple without the idol. This seem to consist of just a section of a wall and bricks. So what does one worship there?
            Hindus don’t need a building. An idol kept out in the open is enough.

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      • What about the puppet offended you? The temple in this case was used as a theater to stage a play. I don’t think vishal was trying to imply anywhere that the puppet was related to Hindu gods or Hindu gods are the devils somehow. That thought never crossed my mind until I read some of the reactions on twitter later.

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        • In Bhardwaj’s Kashmir, the ruins of the Martand Sun Temple are just a prop, a backdrop where ‘Band Pather’ is performed, where menacing dancers with shoes on their feet perform a dance portraying revenge and retribution. It was appropriate that I found myself in the ruins of Martand. With little or no presence of Hindus in Kashmir, it is appropriate that I identify myself only with the ruins of Martand.

          http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-haider-is-not-the-only-story-of-kashmir-2024038

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          • I already read that article and many more on the subject. I just don’t agree with it. I think they’re being too sensitive and not looking at the big picture or taking into account the director’s intent here. When there is not a hint of anything religious in that scene it’s absurd to make it about religion.

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          • You are free to disagree but I NEVER trust Commies/ LWs. Never. Its in their DNA to denigrate one specific faith. And here there is deadly cocktail of Commie VB and Separatist Peer. One is free to interpret any scene as one feels but Why temple? and Why not Mosque or church as temple was not neccessary as KP were already not in movie… If movie was Gazala or haiders POV thn it mosque was natural choice not temple… See one can draw any inferences

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          • ok I think we’ve all said enough on this topic. Let’s move on.

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          • “I NEVER trust Commies/ LWs. Never. Its in their DNA to denigrate one specific faith”-

            Hmm…Got it!

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          • Good You got it.

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          • Just one query (and my last bit)- If, as you claim, that “it’s in their DNA to denigrate one faith”, then by that account Commies shouldn’t be blamed at all because they are like all that congenitally and so they can’t do anything about it even if they want to, right?!

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    • ” It is a fictional story…”
      Thank god for that. All this while, I thought all this really happened in Kashmir!! Phew

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  7. An important question needs to be asked that how many of these people in the media (or otherwise) who are more or less saying that Haider isn’t a worthwhile film simply because it’s anti-Armed Forces or is anti-India have also tried to examine the film through the lens of Hamlet or have tried to deal with it on narrative and technical levels?! Agreed that you can diss the film if you want to on political/ideological grounds, but it’s also sometimes one’s responsibilty to not completely ignore some of film’s other strengths (some of which are very easily visible).

    I have not even see one detailed piece (it doesn’t have to be a “review”) on the film which tries to understand how Haider fares as a Hamlet adaptation.

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      • good piece..

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        • 🙂

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          • “Such talented directors, such command over the craft of cinema, so much exposure to the best films of the world—why can’t they make us feel? Since they keep winning our heads, shouldn’t they try the same for our hearts? For only then can they become great film makers.”
            I vaguely remember having argument with Sattu on this very topic, here on SS, a while back. I think his stand was that it need not pull your heart strings, if I remember it correctly.

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          • yes I still say that.. but it depends on what is being attempted. But certainly it is not a problem in a definitional sense.

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          • The reviewer also says;

            >Which begs the question: Does a film necessarily have to emotionally impact the viewer? No, certainly not. As a commercial art form, it’s principal duty is to keep the viewer engrossed, which Haider certainly does, to a large extent.

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          • As long as he doesn’t delete our comments!
            🙂

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          • “But certainly it is not a problem in a definitional sense.”
            I watched Ray’s agantuk just now and even that movie made me cry (and I hardly ever cry in movies; not the crying type and agantuk is hardly a “make you cry” movie). If you see drama like Haider and not cry, then it is failure of movie maker, no?

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          • No. Because every film is not made to tug at your heartstrings! I actually don’t really see Ray as that kind of overtly emotional/sentimental storyteller either. Being touched is one thing, crying another. Of course people respond differently to different things, that’s not what I’m arguing about. But there are any number of filmmakers who make films with very different ‘values’. Some of the greatest filmmakers fall in this category. Yes, in a commercial sense it’s always riskier adopting the latter strategy but that’s hardly a blemish on the film itself. Now given Bhardwaj’s subject (I haven’t seen the film) one could argue that in this sort of film it might be more problematic not to have that sort of direct appeal to the viewer but that still doesn’t argue against the overall point. In general it’s completely incorrect to think that a film must always make that sort of visceral emotional connection with the viewer. The other overvalued, equally false category is that of ‘identification’. This idea that one must always be able to identify with situations in film. Or more precisely the latter might be possible as long as one isn’t a passive viewer who expects the film to do all the work. One must as a viewer also be willing to build that bridge which might sometimes include greater exposure and/or greater education in these matters.

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          • Di, I’ve deleted your comment to Bandra NRI. Don’t refer to him by that ‘name’. He doesn’t like it. In general the two of you shouldn’t engage with each other if there’s constantly going to be bad blood.

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          • These “talented directors” with “command over their craft” do make us feel. They make us feel compassion. My compassion acquired extra sensory mode thanks to cinema (amongst other things).

            Now some say that these directors are useless, “they don’t make us feel”. They say such things only because these people only understand the feeling of “hate”.

            Remember to love is legal (still), but hate is a crime. People will respect you for spreading love/compassion, but will put YOU in jail for spreading hate.

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        • @Bliss: this is the best way for him to say “sorry” to you 😉 🙂

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          • I don’t carry such things… Neither praise nor criticism affects me 🙂

            Hope Satyam sees new pattern in me now 😛

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  8. This piece was hilarious and I sorta agree with her (though I don’t like her a lot personally).

    “When you are an incredibly skilled and seasoned actress like Tabu and you know you are going to be required to be emotional and weepy from scene one-th to scene endeth then please temper and grade your performance in a way that the audience is not going “someone, anyone please just give her whatever she wants to stop her sniffling”.

    “Vishal had all the ingredients right but is terribly let down by a confused and meandering screenplay. I wanted to shout Hara-kiri. He has always made films that the audience has to play catch up with. In Haider he treats us like fools – over narrates and goes into flashback to explain every little point. Stop dumbing down films, let us do some of the work and trust we are not idiots. We get it.”

    http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/movie-review-haider-hamlet-harakiri-shahid-kapoor-shradha-kapoor-vishal-bhardwaj-tabu/1/393602.html

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  9. Review by a Kashmiri Pandit.
    “Should I be grateful to Vishal Bhardwaj for mentioning Kashmiri Pandits twice during dialogues in the film, highest-ever in Bollywood since 1990? I wonder. The film does anger many who know how an ancient Martand Temple was converted into a dancing studio with a giant-size Satan depicted within its broken walls. Was permission denied for a similar shoot inside Jama Masjid or any of the mosques in the valley? Was there even an attempt made by the creative team? It does reflect in many ways the tolerance and intolerance of the Kashmir story.”

    http://www.newslaundry.com/2014/10/06/reflections-on-%e2%80%aahaider%e2%80%ac-and-the-ignored-narrative-of-%e2%80%aa%e2%80%8ekashmir%e2%80%ac/

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  10. *sigh*
    Once again the thread is becoming a ‘religion’ based discussion.
    Lamenting that there are no hindus to keep up the temple is so stupid.
    There is still the shankaracharaya mandir and the Amarnath cave, isn’t there?

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    • Hey…I only “cut and pasted” reviews from other sites. And in one author is Kashmiri Pandit. So we need to air all sides, to be fair. Anyhow, it is author’s viewpoint. And I haven’t said very much at all. I do appreciate the movie. Even the temple scene for what it is. This way I came to know, otherwise I was unaware. 😦

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      • This fulm’s discussion is nothing without its politics. It is the elephant in the room. Am not sure how Satyam expects people to comment about VB’s craft or Tabu’s acting or Hamlet?
        In an ideal world may be but not in real life and when it is such a charged topic all kinds of comments will be thrown about.
        I would rather people say what they really feel even if politically incorrect. That makes it more interesting. And, it might get repetitive too. As long as intent is not to be malicious just for the sake of it.

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        • You’re right Rajen but I wasn’t objecting to that. Some here cannot stay restrained enough. If you range all over the place it becomes chaotic. I am also not arguing for political correctness. But some statements are so bigoted it’s hard not respond harshly but then once again one is not actually discussing politics as it pertains to the film.

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        • In Oscar worthy, brilliant-briiliant performance by Aamir Khan, in the movie Earth. I believe towards the end of the movie. And he doesn’t speak. Just the eyes. Which side he is on. The betrayal. Fantabulous. Time to revisit Earth. Quite relevant.

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  11. Fine read here-

    “With Haider, Tabu reprises the part of a woman whose unfulfilledness in her marriage sets in motion — if unwittingly — a cycle of destruction. Ghazala — Bhardwaj’s take on Hamlet’s mother Gertrude — takes the devotion that comes to her from men as natural, whether her brother-in-law playing the fool to amuse her, or her son Haider, her relationship with whom contains a visible strain of possessiveness. In both films, Tabu plays to perfection the woman of sexual vitality. (In both Maqbool and Haider, the only other female character is an innocent young girl in love.)

    Ghazala is not as morally compromised in the matter of her husband’s death as Nimmi was. But Haider, like Hamlet, believes for most of the narrative that she knowingly brought it about. Her compulsions, though not entirely clear, do seem to stem from her desire for sexual fulfilment. And Bhardwaj knows what this means for most of his audience. It is no coincidence that he gives Ghazala a line where she says she will be the villain no matter what she does. And yet Haider, as a film, does not make her the villain of the piece.

    And in this, in their recognition of Gertrude’s sexual vitality as something that does not necessarily make her villain, Haider follows in the footsteps of those feminist literary critics who first pointed out that Gertrude’s attachment to Claudius was clearly a weakness of the flesh, not of the intellect. “The character of Hamlet’s mother has not received the specific critical attention it deserves,” began Carolyn Heilbrun in a path-breaking 1957 essay which went to challenge the longtime portrayal of Gertrude as weak, silly, vacillating, sheeplike and shallow. Male critics, wrote Heilbrun, found it impossible to imagine that a woman over 45 could arouse or experience sexual passion, so they ignored what the Ghost, Hamlet, and Gertrude herself tell us in the play, insisting on turning her “frailty” into something more than an admission of sexual need.

    Ghazala is not frail, and she has much more influence in this narrative than Gertrude did. The (masculine) revenge motive remains crucial, but Bhardwaj effectively robs it of pivotal status: “intekaam se sirf intekaam paida hota hai”. And yet the sacrificial ending he gives us seems to suggest an identification of woman and motherland that left me somewhat discomfited.

    http://trishagupta.blogspot.in/2014/10/sons-and-lovers-redux.html?spref=tw&m=1

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  12. I’ve removed some of the political news links and the related comments..

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  13. Bandra NRI.. I’ve deleted Di’s comment too.. you guys can keep wasting your time doing this.. eventually I’ll still delete stuff..

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  14. What has Bliss done to you that you become cry baby ?

    Satyam : I mostly here interact with You ( fight/argue), Rocky and Di and never with others so have to respond to Bandra.

    Attack?

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    • let this comment by Bliss be the last one in this context. No one should respond to this otherwise the whole thread will be taken up by it and I’ll just deleted everything. This applies specially to you Bandra NRI and now don’t start arguing with me about what’s fair and what others are doing. Everything will be deleted.

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      • Lol the blog seems more like a teacher-student playground with constant ‘quiets &.behave yourself.’

        Self discipline aur hum desiyon ka milna mushkil hi nahin namumkin hai…… liked munna’s comment the other day about being model citizen etc..…..holds good here too !

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  15. This one is from Saifu (not me); delete it if you like
    “”Politics is a game I don’t want to play. After a long time, we have a government at the centre which came to power with a thumping majority. We must stop being paranoid as Muslims, fearing that Narendra Modi will turn into a monster. I don’t think he will. He is a great leader who has proven himself and I’d like to see him achieve the rest of his goals.””

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    • I think if we keep discussing about Kashmir politics which is relevant to the movie then I guess it is alright. If you talk about Muslims then someone will give reply and things go out of context of movie. We have seen how political discussions degenerate and ultimately there is no discussion because no one is listening.

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    • I don’t think enough people have talked about AFSPA; why do we need it or why is it draconian?

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    • Not sure what Saif has said has got to do with Haider.

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    • One Saif does not represent 1.6 Billion Moslem just like one rabid racist like you cannot tarnish an equally large population of Hindus.

      Talk about movies. You do not have the credibility to talk about religion.

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  16. Like someone said, there are many stories of Kashmir. And there are many different ways of seeing and talking about Haider. This is perhaps the most interesting and exhilirating one I have read.
    “This may just be me – I don’t know if anyone else has brought up this point – and perhaps, like many on social media tend to think so, Bhardwaj *is* in fact paying tribute to Salman through the characters and his songs and film clips. But to think of it, is it a mere coincidence that among the many camps that potential terrorists are taken to, is a camp in which the men in uniform are watching a Salman Khan movie? Where I am concerned, Vishal Bhardwaj has, with Haider, unabashedly made a statement on the condition of cinema in India, and with a film this fantastic, stoned ‘Bollywood’ in the face, to prove that a great piece of cinema can also be pretty ‘mainstream’.”
    http://tanejamainhoon.com/2014/10/03/haider-movie-review/

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  17. If the dispute is truly political without a religious dimension to it, how does Bhardwaj justify the rape, genocide and expulsion of Kashmiri Hindus? Ah that’s simple. Bhardwaj explains this away by making the Indian Army the spokesperson of the plight of Kashmiri Hindus, in effect reinforcing the image of the latter as “informers/mukhbirs” of the Indian State and the Army. Therefore, the “natural reaction” of Kashmiris towards the Army, according to Bhardwaj, can legitimately extend to wiping out an entire community and culture for being loyal to the Indian Union.

    You see, every community, except the Hindus, is entitled to “react naturally” to alleged excesses and perceived victimization. “Natural reaction” is only human and never communal when it comes from non-Hindus, more so when it is directed at Hindus.

    http://blogs.swarajyamag.com/2014/10/10/the-politically-correct-realism-of-haider/

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  18. Today after watching Haider, i’m befuddled at extremist positions being taken by different people as i couldn’t find any such depiction of provocative nature in the movie. This was a vehicle to showcase the other side of the story, which IMHO it did very well with out being preachy or didactic. Till now we have been used to watching the Kashmir from Indian point of view, but Vishal Bhardwaj did make an endeavour to present the opposite side, which though might not be fully true nor false but somewhere in between was needed to be told. So rather than indulging in mudslinging, we should see it just as a piece of art which might not suit our perspectives but still warranted the other side’s representation.

    I do have my reservations regarding some issues shown in the movie, but it does not take away the luster of the movie and its mind-blowing performances. Shahid Kapoor is undoubtedly the soul of the movie as he infuses Haider with the pinpoint accuracy and precision and exhibits the human frailties with aplomb. His metamorphosis in to lunatic avenger shows his evolution and range as an actor. He is the axis of the movie around which all character revolve. Tabu is very good but i didn’t find this to be her best as she has already played such roles with perfection, so nothing rare, but nevertheless a brilliant performance. KK disappointed me with his portrayal of Haider’s uncle as he has the potential to elevate this role to another level, nonetheless an efficient performance. Shraddha Kapoor excels as Haider’s lover as the role demanded an antithesis to Haider which Shraddha played convincingly. Narendra Jha was effortless and awe inspiring as Haider’s father and the best of the lot. He left an indelible impact in such a short role with his craft, splendid. Irrfan was good as usual and other characters also played their roles with a lot of sincerity. Kudos to Vishal Bhardwaj for making a masterpiece as the other version of the Kashmir needed to be told, which VB has presented very well. Art is very subjective as it it could please but at the same time antagonise as well, so one should not expect it to be following the popular belief but as an instrument to stimulate and provoke and showcase the other side, however small or insignificant it may seem. Haider is testimony to what art is capable of achieving- MENTAL STIMULATION.

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    • Agreed. I’m also not quite sure what people found so offensive about the film. I don’t think the army came across particularly badly. And the ‘villain’ was a member of the same family, ie the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ were all from the same community.

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      • Agree completely Salim as movie ought to be seen in humanistic light leaving aside jingoism as it was a story about human ambition, frailty, treachery, dilemma, love, lust, passion, kindness and lot more than about Kashmir, India or Pakistan. What an intriguing tale told with extreme pathos, love it or hate it but lingers with you, this is the power of cinema. Heroes or villains are human beings not Kashmiris or Indian army as it is the lust for power which is the crux of this tragic story. No community or institution is denigrated if you are willing to watch the movie with your head open. It’s the depiction of human psychology and emotions which drive the narrative. The constant fight with inner demons by the characters is well woven by VB as it is the central theme of the movie. Be it Haider, Gazala or other characters, they are driven by their own ideology and emotions which make them do their deeds irrespective of their religion,ethnicity or region. So it would be naive to reduce this excellent effort to just settle scores. It leaves you with a lot of questions which are intricate and dare i say impossible to have single answers. Take a bow VB.

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    • Nice review.

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  19. All sorts of spooky spoilers follow…

    Your review was a welcome read, Q, as always. LINK TO POST

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