Haider is a Bollywood adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. It is director Vishal Bhardwaj’s third movie with a Shakespeare theme. The story of Hamlet is a great tragedy and Bhardwaj transports it to modern day India in 1995 right in the midst of the Kashmir conflict. Therefore this adaptation has a political background and meaning which makes it more than just an adaptation, it stands alone as a great feature.
For many it might not visually be the first thing you think of when you think Bollywood, no bright colors or cheerful songs. Instead most of it is a more grim and brutal story told through shades of grey. Hamlet was one of Shakespeare’s longest plays and that translates well in to this 162 minute Bollywood film. For most of the time it manages to keep your attention but there are parts where it is easy to drift away.
Personally I expected a lot more singing and dancing, the few dance numbers that are featured are very well themed and choreographed to fit seamlessly in to the mood of the storyline. It was my first ever Bollywood experience so I did not have much to compare it to other than my own expectations of the genre. I was surprised by many things, the acting and casting was very good and believable first and foremost. Second I was stunned throughout the movie by the beauty of the scenery and landscapes. Last but not least I was mesmerised by the storytelling, it was so good that for most of the time I did not even think about the fact that they spoke a language I could not understand. This is definitely the last time I will be watching a Bollywood film.
Erica Atalia has seen Bollywood movies before, check out this clip to hear her thoughts on Haider:
Check out this link to read more about the conflict in Kashmir:
Check out the trailer below: