Haider: The Chutzpah To Adapt Hamlet!

Director: Vishal Bharadwaj

Production: Vishal Bharadwaj and Siddharth Roy Kapoor


  • Shahid Kapoor: Haider / Prince Hamlet
  • Shraddha Kapoor: Arshia / Ophelia
  • Narendra Jha: Dr. Hilal Meer / King Hamlet
  • Tabu: Ghazala / Gertrude
  • Aamir Bashir: Liyaqat / Laertes
  • Kay Kay Menon: Khurram Meer / Claudius
  • Irrfan Khan: Roohdar / Ghost
  • Lalit Parimoo: Pervez Lone / Polonius
  • Sumit Kaul: Salman 1 / Rosencrantz
  • Rajat Bhagat: Salman 2 / Guildenstern
  • Ashwath Bhat: Zahoor / Fortinbras

Haider, a poet, returns to his homeland, a war-ravaged Kashmir, only to find that his home has been destroyed. His father had been arrested for housing militants, and his mother, Ghazala was in love with her brother-in-law, Khurram.

Okay, we all know the story of Hamlet. But it is unimaginable that Bollywood could produce such a masterclass adaptation of one of William Shakespeare’s best tragedies.

Vishal Bharadwaj had undertaken the impossible, and has succeeded in making it possible. With excellent direction and an even more brilliant music score, Bharadwaj proves his mettle as both a director and a composer.

Shahid Kapoor is, well…Shahid Kapoor. Only he could have portrayed a sane, but insane Haider to perfection. The viewer will never doubt the sincerity of his angst, grief, rage, and sorrow. Such is his genuine talent. His high-octane performance as Haider will certainly earn him well-deserving awards and accolades.


But it is Tabu who rules the roost. She does not portray Ghazala, she IS Ghazala. She makes the viewer dance to her tunes. Sometimes, she makes them mad at her, and sometimes, she makes them cry for her. Tabu’s performance is so perfect that Shahid and Vishal’s skill almost goes unnoticed. Such is her enchantment.

Kay Kay Menon does well as Khurram, the jealous brother, who makes advances at his sister-in-law. Shraddha Kapoor seems to have a knack for dying in every film of hers, starting from Ek Villain, but she is a bit raw in this one.

To Be or Not to Be is written beautifully by Gulzar as Main Rahoon ki Main Nahi soliloquy. Check it out!

Ah, now for the best part of the film: soundtrack. If Aao Na does not give you goosebumps, nothing ever will. For Aao Na by far surpasses Bismil and Khul Kabhi TohGulzar’s powerful lyrics and Vishal Dadlani’s hoarse singing makes the song rock.

I’ll advise everyone to hear the soundtrack at least once. No wonder if you continuously listen to it for the rest of your life, though.

Overall, Haider, though disturbingly violent and tragic in some parts, is excellent. This one will surely get nominated for some award or the other.


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