Thursday, October 9, 2014

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Haider: Why is 'Indian Hamlet' controversial?
Haider's story is set in Kashmir
Bollywood director Vishal Bhardwaj's Indian adaptation of Hamlet has
been hailed as "one of the most important movies of the year".
The director is known for his admiration of William Shakespeare's
works. He based his 2003 hit Maqbool on Macbeth and returned with
Omkara in 2006 as his adaptation of Othello.
But his third film, Haider, based on the English writer's work is
getting wider media attention due to its controversial backdrop.
The movie is set in Indian-administered Kashmir. In Bhardwaj's film,
Shahid Kapoor is Hamlet, Shraddha Kapoor is Ophelia, Tabu plays
Gertrude and Kay Kay Menon is Claudius.
The movie has successfully adapted the play's well-known twists and
turns in the backdrop of the armed insurgency in the Kashmir of the
Haider is a poet who returns to Kashmir at the height of the
insurgency to find that his father has disappeared and his mother is
in a new relationship with his uncle.
The film revolves around Shahid's character who embarks on a dangerous
journey to find his father and ends up getting dragged into the
politics of the state.
Critics say Bhardwaj has succeeded in bringing out the raw emotions of
Hamlet in the film, while keeping his focus firmly on Kashmir.
The region witnessed its worst armed struggle throughout the 1990s as
separatist groups violently clashed with security forces, demanding
freedom from "Indian rule".
Kashmir, claimed by both India and Pakistan, has been a flashpoint for
more than 60 years and the South Asian rivals have fought two wars and
a limited conflict over the region.
And India has often accused Pakistan of interfering in its internal
affairs and supporting armed groups.
Critics have praised Shahid Kapoor for his performance in Haider
But Bhardwaj's film largely stays away from the rivalry of the
neighbours, focusing instead on the alleged human rights abuses in the
Activists often accuse security forces of torturing and kidnapping
local youths in illegal detention camps - an allegation the army has
always denied.
Jason Burke writes in the Guardian that "Haider includes graphic
scenes of torture in Indian army camps and other human rights abuses
by Indian officials".
This bold portrayal has received praise from film critics and
Bhardwaj's fans.
Most analysts feel that earlier films based on Kashmir largely failed
to highlight the real issues and Haider tries to fill that gap.
The Hindu says "it takes some amount of guts, ambition and skill to
ride two wild horses - at the same time".
Bhardwaj "churns out the best of his Shakespeare trilogy, an
adaptation of Hamlet… which is also an unflinching look at the recent
political history of Kashmir".
The paper says that "there is no denying that mass graves of
disappeared people were indeed found".
Shahid Kapoor and Shraddha Kapoor (right) play leading roles in the
An article in the First Post says "portraying the uncomfortable
political reality of Kashmir" is a great challenge and "more so when
the issue lies at the heart of tension between the people of Kashmir
and India".
Kashmir continues to be one of the most controversial political topics
in modern India and evokes strong emotions.
Bhardwaj is also facing some backlash over what many describe as his
"unfair" portrayal of the armed forces.
But he has defended the plot of his film.
"I'm also an Indian, I'm also a patriot, I also love my nation. So I
won't do anything which is anti-national. But what is anti-human, I
will definitely comment on it," he said.
Vishal Bhardwaj has defended the plot of his film
Indian Twitter users are divided over the film and the sentiment has
been reflected in two rival hashtags.
The hashtag #BoycottHaider has received more than 75,000 tweets since
But others see Haider as a true expression of real cinema in India.
The hashtag #HaiderTrueCinema has attracted more than 45,000 tweets
since Friday.
Despite the controversy over the film's plot, some analysts say it
shows that India is becoming more open to sensitive subjects.
"As democratic traditions strengthen in the country, more and more
such movies will be made and people will be educated. Haider is the
first step in that direction," says Dr Zakir Hussain, senior analyst
at the Indian Council of World Affairs. Oct 09 09:33PM
Hrithik Roshan-Katrina Kaif starrer Bang Bang to release in Iraq and
After an initial release in 45 countries, Hrithik Roshan and Katrina
Kaif's latest movie Bang Bang, is heading to Lebanon and Iraq as well.
The film will be shown at theatres in the two countries - neither of
which is traditionally considered as a market for Hindi films - from
the coming weekend. The film has been doing well in traditional
markets in the Middle East. Seeing the buzz, distributors in Lebanon
and Iraq have asked for the film to be screened in their countries
too. Earlier, only My Name Is Khan (2010) has officially released in
both countries, while Boss (2013) released in Iraq.
The film has smashed all records held so far in international markets
as it emerged as the highest opening film of 2014. It is the biggest
opener this year across all key markets like Middle East, UK, US,
Australia, Pakistan among others. Bang Bang marks Hrithik Roshan's
highest opening weekend in India and overseas as he beat Krrish 3,
Agneepath and Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara collections.
Produced by Fox Star Studios, Bang Bang that is directed by Siddharth
Anand and stars Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif collected Rs. 8.23
crores on Wednesday, taking the total India tally to Rs. 127.44 crores
nett (Rs. 182 crores gross).
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