Haider (Shahid Kapoor), a poetry student of Aligarh University comes to Kashmir to find his ruined home, missing father and mom who is being wooed by his uncle. Though his dad’s a doctor he will be taken in to custody by Indian Army for helping the militants. His dad believes that saving life is for what he is. But that won’t work as the same in everyone’s eyes right?? That indifference paves way to this story..
Haider, being in love with his father, believes that his dad is alive and sets a mission to find out him. Though the mission sounds unrealistic, that is to find the missing man in Kashmir, he believes that the entire Kashmir is a prison and would like to search the entire Kashmir.
Meanwhile his mom (Tabu), will be a little close than expected with her brother-in-law (Kay Kay Menon). Being in same home and worshipped as most beautiful woman by her brother-in-law, they both enjoy each other’s company very much and seeks happiness in each other. Though in the beginning that doesn’t sound weird, it started so as the movie gets to track..
In his search for his father, the director has shown us the heart melting grey side of Kashmir, People will be picked randomly for interrogation and will go missing forever, the torture of those who are militants/ misunderstood for, the women calling themselves as “half-widow”, wondering children whether they are orphans – will unfold pain in our heart string. The tears will bring us to the Haider world where love and revenge plays its part as an unseen beauty.
Even the dialogues, music, choreography everything adds beauty of poetry to the scenes. A heart wrenching scene where a man is afraid to enter his own house which ajar the psychological aftermath of the grim reality of the Valley. This movie isn’t about Indian Army. This is about Kashmir where local people kill their own people for power and money.
Do you think that words has to be expressed to share our feelings? I was so agreed to this until I saw this scene, where in an office, Haider and a woman exchanges a look at the pictures of people they are in search of was very poetic without any words. They would share their No with just a head shake stating that they haven’t come across the people they were holding as pictures in any army base. Whoa! Powerful and Painful scene…
Haider will come to know that his dad is killed by his own brother for power and money. His dad’s last wish would be for his son to kill his uncle as he wooed his mom and made him orphan by killing his dad… So here starts the revenge and real story of Haider movie…
Thereafter, angry and swearing to avenge his father’s death, Haider becomes mentally and emotionally scattered and starts to behave and act strangely.. Haider who was so confused about who killed his father, discloses his state of indecision to his lover (Arshia) and also will show her that he has a gun to avenege his father’s death by killing his uncle. Arshia unintentionally discloses this to her dad, who informs the same to Haider’s uncle.
Next morning, when Haider was all set to kill his uncle, he will be captured by police and somehow manages to escape. Haider will contact the man who told him about his dad’s death and when ask suggestion, he will suggest him to go to Pakistan. When he was about to start the journey, he’ll call his mother, who wants to meet him just once before crossing broder. He accepts and they’ll meet in their ruined home. During the meet, she discloses that she had informed about terrorists hiding in their house out of fear to his uncle unknowing that he was an informer of the Indian army. Arshia’s father traces them and is about to shoot Haider when Haider shoots him in the head and escapes.
Meanwhile, he starts his journey towards Pakistan. He was supposed to be picked up and he will journey towards the pickup point. But there he will be encountered with Arshia’s dead body as she would’ve committed suicide after her dad’s death. When he steps out, a fight will errupt between Haider and Arshia’s brother resulting in Arshia’s brother death. But before this Haider’s unce and his men will arrive and a gun shoot will start. Haider somehow escapes and enters a building in his pickup point. Where when Haider uncle plans for rocket launcher, Haider’s mother comes there and begs her newly wed husband to give her a chance to request him to surrender. She goes in and begs Haider to surrender stating “Revenge will lead us to more revenge. How can revenge make us free” – a powerful dialog in the move. When Haider doesn’t accept for this, hs mother kisses Haider, steps outside, only to reveal that she has been wearing a suicide vest. Haider and his uncle will rush towards her but she pulls the pins of the hand grenade resulting in a big blast causing the death of the rest of the men and his uncle being gravely injured with his legs being amputated. Haider goes to his mother’s remains, cries a lot and goes to Khurram in order to shoot him in the eyes as per his father’s wish but is reminded of his mother’s words “revenge only results in revenge” and thus decides to leave his uncle. His uncle begs Haider to kill him to free him from burden of guilt and to avenge his father’s death but Haider doesn’t kill and leaves towards the border.
Enough of heart ache, now comes the real insulting scenes like Haider’s mom sleeps with her brother-in-law immediately after her husband gets arrested and she gets married to him immediately after her husband’s death is confirmed. For God’s sake, this is India and we value our culture. You can ask, haven’t this happened in our ancestral era.. it has.. But then there was limit.. They took time after their husband’s death and also mostly only if the lady didn’t have any heir.. So I couldn’t digest this really..
The main part of the movie, AFSPA act of Indian Army has described Kashmir as an“environment which is marked by very high degree of uncertainty and complexity and an asymmetric environment where you cannot differentiate between a friend and a foe” thus giving special powers to Indian Army additional powers to act in such environment. But then for the country’s sake people have to act, right? Where in this earth has a government let terrorists or militants rule the country and stepped aside? No where.. So why expect that in Kashmir?
The reality of the AFSPA, as dyed in the movie and the scenes which revels army torturing militants and civilians who was misunderstood to be militants doesn’t make sense. The movie is completely focused on revenge, as the hero wanted to take revenge of his father’s capture and the struggle of Kashmir is painted with that brush. But what about the sacrifices made by Army and Kashmirians for the freedom? But then, a movie doesn’t necessarily have to be balanced. It can take any side as it likes and Haider does.
I accept the line “Separatists aren’t looking for freedom from India but slavery from Pakistan.” I believe that there lies lack in understanding the difference comes with one’s love for the country.