Haider Movie Review: This One Has Its Chutzpah
After a couple of misadventures called 7 Khoon Maaf and Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola, Vishal Bhardwaj is back, and how! For quite some time now I had wondered if the man behind some unforgettable, if not classic, affairs like Kaminey and Omkara would bring some true entertainers on the big screen that would be acceptable for a larger segment of audience and not just wah-wah slamming 'insiders' and critics who hail anything and everything with 'that European touch' to it.
With Haider, Vishal shows yet again that if he puts it all together in right quantity, the fusion of art and commerce can actually lead to some good returns that lead to engaging, entertaining and exciting affair that can be an unaplogetic Hindi film than just being a 'piece of cinema'!
Not that at times in the film there are those 'aah, see I can be allowed to bring some elements of indulgence in there' moments. But then that that's still permissible, isn't it, when for a good part of the film you do get to see not just a new story but also some stylishly shot sequences coupled with credible acts that give Haider its 'chutzpah'!
Chutzpah - That's right! If 'all is well' turned out to be the motto of the masses after 3 Idiots, don't be surprised if 'chutzpah' turns out to be the buzz word amongst at least the younger generation post Haider. Agreed that the word, which comes close to the combination of being unabashed with certain level of over confidence, is mostly used as a negative connotation. However in case of Haider, one has to acknowledge the team for its chutzpah in a positive manner.
That is pretty much demonstrated in the manner Haider begins to unfold, keeps the intrigue quotient on, has one thinking throughout, comes up with a twist in the tale, throws a double twist soon after, leads the protagonist to feel disgusted by the realities, makes one wonder who is double crossing whom, brings to fore a tragedy or two and then eventually announces badla.
(Spoilers ahead) In the middle of this all there are some deviations though. A couple of scenes are jerky though and come out of nowhere. Transition of Shahid from someone who just realised the truth behind his father's death to a youngster losing his mind and subsequently making his speech with a tape-recorder hanging down his neck appears preachy. Even though well intentioned, it is a distraction. Later the sudden emergence of three old men digging graves, though visually stunning, is just placed as a metaphorical outing and that's about it. In fact there are at least three-four points in the film where one sees the narrative reach its peak (the fabulous interval point, the fabulously picturised and choreographed Bulbul song which reminds of Ek Haseena Thi from Karz Shahid's encounter with the two Salmans, the moment of reckoning when Shahid is all set to kill K.K.) but then the subsequent scenes slow down the pace a little. Like the love song between Shahid - Shraddha only adds to the film's length and so is the scene where Shraddha is in a trance of sorts when Tabu strikes a conversation with her after a family tragedy.
Thankfully, by and large Vishal keeps the pace on which means overall Haider stays on to be engaging enough, while hinting of 'chutzpah' every now and then. If the shoot-out at the film's beginning is very well done, Irrfan's entry in the film is one of the best ever in the recent times. Shahid's expressions, every time he sees Tabu and K.K together, remind one of the kind of disgust that was written on his face in lesser seen Fida where he felt the same when Kareena Kapoor Khan betrayed him for Fardeen Khan. Tabu does well in a manipulative part where she is unsure about whether to forget everything or seek redemption. K.K. is reliable as ever and plays a complex part really well by coming up with a balanced act. Shraddha has a minor part to play and is decent in the way she approaches it. She brings on smiles though with her Kashmiri English pronunciation. Lalit Parimoo, who plays her father, has an interesting part to play and registers a good presence. Ashish Vidyarthi is superb in his couple of scenes. Narendra Jha as Shahid's father is good. Out of the two Salmans, the shorter one is excellent in his mimicry of the superstar. Aamir Bashir has a very short role and one expected more of him due to his Kashmiri origin. However, over and above everyone, it is Irrfan who shines in practically every scene. He is brilliant.
All of this, coupled with the fact that the film is visually stunning, has a new story to tell, carries ample drama moments with some good intrigue element to add make sure that Haider makes for a good watch.
This one has its chutzpah!