3 reasons why Haider flopped despite deriving from Shakespeare

"In 2008, 24 young Pakistani nationals were killed in (fake?) encounters Mumbai by trigger happy Indian police, violent Commandos, and later one hanged by the Indians" - is this statement true. Of course it is.  It's an alternative story of the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Just like Haider is an alternative take on the Kashmir of 90s. 

The movie has irked many; though others are hailing it as a piece of art. The much awaited Haider has been running for 3 days now and the initial reports suggest that it's not a good news for Vishal Bhardwaj. There has been blatant misuse of the Martand Sun Temple in the song Bismil Bismil. They replaced the diety with the towering black-clad demon. Pure sheikhularism.



And then social media was abuzz with the reports that the movie shows Army in the poor light and glorifies the terrorists. On Oct 2nd itself, #BoycottHaider was trending on social media. With prominent personalities, such as Francois Gautier calling for the nationalists to stay to away from the movie and a mechanism in place to prevent such malicious propaganda in future.

I myself saw (not in the theater) the movie and discovered that Vishal Bhardwaj has used mostly subtle propaganda for hate mongering against the Army. Partially why the propaganda has been the change in circumstances against the movie before its release that I have elaborated as the second point of this post.

1. Negativity interfering with Creativity

This movie is a classic example what negativity can do to creativity. When someone derives from Shakespeare, you expect the movie to be like an Onkara or a Maqbool. But something was different here. Bharadwaj  and Basharat Peer struggled to force fit Jihadi agenda into a classic story. The ulterior agenda especially takes a toll on the movie when the protagonist who is supposed to be avenging his father takes time off to do a ceremonial lal chowk (a favorite place among jihadis for anti-india demonstrations) demonstration for the cause of the Kashmiris. Just when you expect him to be a good son going after the cause ordained by his deceased father, the poor protagonist instead goes on a abrupt but prolonged hysterical, theatrical act alluding Kashmir has got a raw deal.

2. Having to edit a lot of scenes before the release

Something tells us that this movie was supposed to be a much bigger and more venomous attack on the Indian Army and the sovereignty of  India - but something unexpectedly hit Bharadwaj very badly - the Kashmir Floods. Indian public may have a very short memory and hence, could sometimes be taken by the propaganda of separatists to question the Army and sympathize with the separatists. Yes, we are such emotional fools. But the floods happened right before the release of the movie and in that the Army Jawans sacrificed their lives saving the Kashmiris, or more importantly, the Srinagar people while the separatists and the Jihadis were nowhere to be seen.

We Indians, due to our amnesia, may be vulnerable to such propaganda again in a year or two. But right now, we've just seen what happened during the floods. This must have made Bharadwaj very nervous  - and he may have had to tone down or even edit out anti-Army propaganda. He felt compelled even to insert a line at the end of the movie.

After they state on the screen:

"IN THE LAST TWO DECADES, THOUSANDS OF LIVES HAVE BEEN LOST IN THE KASHMIR CONFLICT"

They feel compelled to state:

"IN THE RECENT DEVASTATING FLOODS IN KASHMIR, THE INDIAN ARMY SAVED THE LIVES OF THOUSANDS OF CIVILIANS. WE SALUTE THEIR THEIR EFFORTS AND VALOUR."

So, we make a movie to demean them and then we have had to salute their efforts and valor. Such is the cruel turn of events.

It is anyone's guess that not only this line, but many other changes would have been made to the movie in the wake of the floods. It is also a thing of common knowledge that Vishal Bharadwaj had to make 41 cuts before they got a U/A certificate. Now that is something.

3. The nationalists mobilizing the sentiment against the anti-national movie

I was planning to go to watch the movie in the theater. But I woke up to  #BoycottHaider on Friday. 

I did not go and spend money on the movie. It is appreciable that the nationalists still have freedom of expression. The most prominent personality who I saw mobilizing social media against the movie is Francois Gautier. Among other things, following is what he had to say about the movie:

I covered Kashmir in the 90's & saw with my own eyes what was done to Hindus by Kashmiri Muslims.Pliz that shows the opposite"



Comments

Unknown said…
OH, what utter crap.
Gyanesh Talwar said…
Thanks for your anonymous, insightful feedback. Please keep it coming. Next time, add a little more information in your comment on the reasons of your thoughts on the article.

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