One-line Review: The turmoil of Kashmir and human relationships binds 'Haider'
Positive points: Noteworthy performances, Realistic and different take on Kashmir
Negative points: Lengthy film
Plot: Haider (Shahid Kapoor) comes back to Kashmir to discover his scattered life as his father Dr. Hilaal Meer (Narendra Jha) has gone missing and his childhood house is now reduced to ashes by Indian militant force. Further, he gets even more impaired when he witnesses his step-mother Ghazala (Tabu) and uncle Khurram (Kay Kay Menon) getting cozy just few days after his father's disappearance.
Disowned by his family, Haider sets himself to trace his father with the help of his girlfriend Arshiya (Shraddha Kapoor), who is a journalist by profession. He knocks each and every possible door to know the where-about of his father, but meets disappointment at every step. Suddenly, a mysterious man named Roohdar (Irrfan Khan) comes in his life to answer his quest. He tells Haider how his own uncle Khurram used his political power to plot his father's death for marrying his step-mother Ghazala. He also passes his father's message of taking revenge from all of them who were responsible for his death.
Knowing about his father's death make Haider lose his mind, now whether he will be able to take the revenge or will get even more trapped in Kashmir's ruining politics remains the quest.
Direction and other technical aspects: Director Vishal Bhardwaj has done a commendable job sharpening the skills of the talented star-cast and bringing out their best performance till date. His way of storytelling to explain the twisted human relationships wins him applause. Also, he and his co-writer Basharat Peer have wonderfully scripted the turmoil in the state of Kashmir in 1990s and the turmoil being faced by Haider.
Cinematographer Pankaj Kumar has shown us that Kashmir which was never before projected on-screen. Right from the gray climate to the despair of people's face everything appeared real from his lens.
Performances: To start with Tabu as Ghazhala is mysteriously gorgeous. She comes across in various shades, at one point you will see her as dishearten "half-widow" of her missing husband, while at other moment she appears lovey-dovey in her brother-in laws arm. Her erotic relationship with her son also comes as surprise.
Haider is Shahid Kapoor's best performance till date. In the first half, you are bound to feel pity on him after seeing his unfulfilled attempts. Post interval, he goes crazy shaving his head. His love-hate relationship with his mother is a must-watch.
Music: Out of all the nine tracks, "Aao Na" and "Bismil "hit the corner of listener's mind. Other tracks are averagely composed keeping film's Kashmiri cult in mind.
Final verdict: Shakespeare's 16th century drama 'Hamlet' is wonderfully crafted into film 'Haider' set at the backdrop of 1990s Kashmir. Vishal Bhardwaj has made it evident that the complexities of human relationship are still the same which used to exist centuries back. All the actors have equal importance in the film and therefore each one of them has played their part with utter perfection. Only thing which hindered the perfection was the length of the film. Or else, 'Haider' is a "must-watch" during the ongoing long weekend.