2 October 2014 | dhananjay-nene
Hamlet splendidly weaved into the militancy and raw beauty of Kashmir
Macbeth, Othello, and now Hamlet. Vishal Bharadwaj does it once again, by re-imagining Shakespeare in a very gritty Indian milieu. This time it is the Kashmir of 1995 in throes of militancy.
The instruments Vishal Bharadwaj used for Maqbool and Omkara, are far sharper this time around. The songs are very rustic, and completely of the type to be found in street plays (not even a symbolic nod to Bollywood or a titillation to the audiences with a Bidi). The sense of suspense even sharper (even with a story with a basis as well known as Hamlet). The characters continue to be just as eccentric as in Omkara. And death once again continues to be not an infrequent visitor just like with Omkara. Yet the context is more sombre. And the whole scenario of militancy IMO dealt with quite responsibly with (what I would imagine to be) a good sense of reality.
Not everything is wonderful. On the acting front, Tabu is impressive but understated. Shahid Kapur does well by his standards, but every so often I used to wonder how much better Pankaj Kapur would've done in some of the scenes. Shraddha Kapoor manages the role of pretty innocence well enough, but will probably cringe when she watches her own histrionics. Kay Kay Menon, and Irfan Khan of course are a pleasure to watch, but this is not their best film. While the songs aim to dramatise, I found them underwhelming and unnecessarily melodramatic in this context, Also the film is just a tad too long and could've been shortened by 15-20 minutes.
Be prepared to see a Kashmir which does not look the swiss alps but still deserves to be considered amongst the most beautiful places on earth. This kashmir is a little raw. And forms the milieu for two concurrent threads, one the intra family drama which is the very essence of Hamlet, and the general environment of militancy and counter insurgency. Moreover the plot moves at a fairly measured pace and manages to retain the interest and fascination. It might surprise you (after my earlier paragraph), but these are the reasons why I would classify the movie to be a must watch.
Yeah, go watch this, this is not to be missed, any complaints you might've notwithstanding.