In this review, we’re assuming that you have read William Shakespeare’s Hamlet or have heard of it and know the story. If not, head over here (http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/hamlet/summary.html) and get up to speed with the story.
Now to the movie review…
Vishal Bharadwaj is known for his hard-hitting cinema. Kaminey, Maqbool, Omkara are two of this ilk. Ek Thi Daayan was a distraction! Returning to the hard-hitting-ness, he adapts Hamlet. Instead of telling a King and Prince’s story, he has placed a commoner in the central role. This does add to the overall rootedness of the story, but it also perhaps takes away a bit from the potential of grandeur. We won’t go into how the story is and how it could’a, should’a and would’a been told, rather we’ll highlight stuff we like and the stuff we didn’t. Here goes…
Like 1: Shahid Kapoor (or is it Kapur?)
The world now definitively knows that only Bharadwaj can get Shahid to act. And how! As Haider, his transformation from a grief-stricken youngster to a vengeful almost-terrorist is beautifully portrayed. And Shahid rises to the occasion and owns almost every scene he is in.
Like 2: Tabu
‘Mauji’ as her character is mostly referred to is the mother. She’s vulnerable, scheming, cheating, loving and all things in between. No other actor I can think of who could have pulled off such a role. Her scenes with Shahid are an absolute delight. Watch out for the final scene where she asks Shahid, “Tu mujhe fir se bewa nahi dekhega?”
Like 3: Kashmir.
Need we say more? Setting the movie in the valley had me hooked. It’s gorgeous.
Dislike 1: Kay Kay Menon
He’s a good actor, no doubt. But in trying to be intense, he does ham. There are too many scenes where he could have let the situation win instead of his character. But he’s too involved — in the character and not in the scene — to let that happen.
Dislike 2: Salman & Salman
They serve a purpose, yes. But these caricatures were uncalled for. Most Shakespearean stories have jesters and these are the two. Localising them for 1995 (the year in which this is set) and making them die-hard Salman Khan fans is a bit uncalled for.
Dislike 3: The ending.
Yes, we know what happens at the end. But taking so long to get there is testing. A lot of the poetry and the song in the graveyard especially, could have been cut out.
Undecided 1: Shraddha Kapoor
She has potential for sure, and she tries very hard as Shahid’s love interest. But she doesn’t quite match up to Shahid or Tabu. She’s not irritating, but she’s not too pleasant either. It’s a bit strange…
- 1. Irrfan Khan plays a cameo and it’s a strong one. Roohdaar is a key cog that puts the wheels in motion. We won’t say more, but watch out for it.
- 2. Shahid Kapoor’s monologue at the town centre. Concentrate. It’s superb.
- 3. Dialogue. Some of the dialogue is truly witty and does take a moment to register. It’s deep!
Is it worth the few hundred rupees you would spend? That is the question! Also, it isn’t Bharadwaj’s fault that there is much dilly-dallying about the end. He tried to stay true to the story but could definitely have been much more concise about it. Back to the original question, yes, it’s worth it. Carry lots of patience along, though!