This is not a review of the film at all. This is purely what I felt after I watched another masterpiece from Vishal Bhardwaj.
After all the hype and expectations brimming over the top, I abstained from checking any Twitter and Facebook updates just to avoid clouding my thoughts before I watch Haider since I was strongly looking forward to it. A film which, according to me is Vishal’s best after Maqbool portrays the grim relationship the beautiful people of Kashmir share with the armed forces. Kashmir has been under Armed Forces Special Act since 1958 due to the threat it faces from our divorced partner Pakistan. This act has time and again come under scrutiny for flouting human rights, inflicting unimaginable torture on innocent citizens, random killings and disappearance of family members. A lot of films have been shot in Kashmir for its breath-taking beauty and scenic locations but Vishal Bharadwaj presents a lesser known Kashmir.
From the lead actors to the supporting actors, everyone has done absolute justice to their role in the film. Shahid simply nailed it by getting into the thick of his character and mouthing certain powerful dialogues that left me stunned. It would be unfair if he does not win a National Award for his performance (although an award isn’t necessary to validate his performance) and even the movie for that matter. There are some beautiful, meaningful and situational renditions, thanks to the great great legend Gulzar saab that accentuate the intensity and relationship between the characters.
I was sobbing long after the movie ended because having visited the place and interacted with the locals closely, I could feel their struggle just to live a normal life in their own homeland. I have been told horrible incidents of torture (where hot iron rod was pierced right through their little hands) inflicted on kids as old as 5-6 year old who probably do not even know how to spell the state they live in, being accused of militancy for accidentally trespassing the LOC (Line of Control) while playing. It deeply saddens me to even hear or imagine a democratic 21st century India where a child cannot enjoy his childhood normally, a woman cannot stay peacefully even for a minute when her husband is away, unsolicited curfews are being imposed bringing the city to a standstill and innocent citizens being beaten, locked and tortured without any warranted proof after which their mutilated bodies are sent to their families for cremation.
I understand the security reasons and infiltration threat which requires the army to control the state but why can’t there be peace between the inhabitants and the armed forces? Why is there so much of hostility among Kashmiris towards the security personnels? Not even one person I came across during my stay in Kashmir who had anything positive to say about the army there. We claim to have the paradise on Earth but why do the people of the paradise constantly experience hell from a country which very much owns majority of the state? Why do the Kashmiris yearn for independence from India?
Haider is just an example of devastation of a single family and there are so many similar and even worse scenarios that have appeared and continue to happen even today. When will ache din come for this crown of our nation is only something only time can tell. Till, then do yourself a favour and watch Haider because I can promise you, you won’t regret.