Hamlet is Shakespeare's longest play and among the most powerful and influential tragedies in English literature, with a story capable of "seemingly endless retelling and adaptation by others”….
A king’s brother murders him, marries his queen and seizes his throne. The slain emperor’s son returns for revenge. That’s how thematically basic and yet how forceful is Hamlet’s (Haider’s) story. When I watched Irfan Khan starrer - Bharadwaj directed Maqbool (adaptation of Macbeth), I had secretly wished Vishal to adapt all famous plays of Shakespeare. Having grown up reading “Merchant of Venice”, “Romeo & Juliet”, “King Lear”, and “Othello”, I was always destined to fall for the remarkably accurate versions of William Shakespeare’s plays, which I saw in Vishal’s direction. He has been answering my wish with Omkara (Othello) and now Haider (Hamlet). Oh ! the so famous dilemma, “to be or not to be”.
Bharadwaj’s adaptations run with the exact amount of realism and dark sarcasm which blend to leave an indelible impression on the mind. Their strength lies in their complete lack of pretension and grandeur. A necessary relinquishment in order to convey the minutest of human despicability, with the requisite deal of unabashedness. Revenge, ambition, lust, conspiracy, betrayal, jealousy, the list is endless and yet all portrayed with immaculate precision in his adaptations. The beauty of his depictions lie in the fact that they never give up the essence of human vices despite a consistent risk of rejection.
One recalls that murky chilled night, when a ghost walks the battlements of Elsinore Castle in Denmark. Discovered first by a pair of watchmen, then by the scholar Horatio, the ghost resembles the recently deceased King Hamlet, whose brother Claudius has inherited the throne and married the king’s widow, Queen Gertrude. When Horatio and the watchmen bring Prince Hamlet, the son of Gertrude and the dead king, to see the ghost, it speaks to him, declaring ominously that it is his father’s spirit, and that he was murdered by none other than Claudius. He asks Hamlet to avenge his murder. He asks him to finish Claudius who usurped his throne and married his wife, the ghost disappears with the dawn. The opening lines of the trailer resonate with that pathos “Haider…take my revenge from my brother. Rid his eyes with bullets, which he used to deceive your mother”
Hamlet’s theme and characterization are perhaps the deepest in the history of literature. Indulging readers in dramatization of the complex philosophical and ethical issues that surround cold-blooded murder, calculated revenge, and thwarted desire. This is the same play where you’ll hear Shakespeare’s famous line of dilemma “to be or not to be” To be, or not to be, that is the question— Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune, Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles, And by opposing end them? This is where Hamlet bemoans the injustice of life and contemplates death or suicide. You’ll see a glimpse of Shahid Kapur performing the historic scene in the trailer. The cast is glorious as it is glitzy. With Irfan Khan, Tabu, Kay Kay Menon, Shahid Kapur, Shraddha Kapur the performances are sure to make the film what it ought to be, strong. The film is likely to be remembered for the political message embedded in it, haunt because of the portrayal of human depravity and challenge with its depiction of sexual conflict.
Watch the trailer..
Don't miss the movie on 2.10.14. It is hard to ignore the irony in the choice of Haider's release date. A film depicting the shallowness of soul and evils of human nature will premiere on Gandhi Jayanti. I believe the equally significant point as the irony is the unmistakable similarity in the element of awe that is evoked by such choice as it is by virtue of the darkness of the theme.