He’s certainly kept fans waiting. And salivating.
Literally drooling at the prospect of seeing his final flourish. The last brush stroke on a contemporary masterpiece; the final pane of glass on an architectural gem; the concluding anecdote of an epochal speech; the final boundary that ensures that the batting average passes that magical mark.
After eight long years, it’s finally here.
Following on from the ground-breaking ‘Maqbool’ – adapted from Shakespeare’s Macbeth – and the visceral ‘Omkara’ (Othello), the final installment of director Vishal Bhardwaj’s Shakespearean trilogy, ‘Haider’ is about to hit cinemas.
From the rushes shown to journalists at a London press conference last month, it’s clear why it’s taken so long for Bhardwaj, 49, to create the fourth plinth of his monumental tribute to the bard, a man who has fascinated Bhardwaj since he was a young boy.
‘Haider’ – adapted from Hamlet, just in case you didn’t know by now – looks and feels unlike any other film you will see this year.
There is a bleak beauty – and that’s the best kind – to it that tells that you straight away that it’s going to be special.
But then, we knew that even before: an adaptation of Shakespeare’s celebrated and influential tragedy with all its political intrigues set in the political cesspit that is modern-day Kashmir; a film co-written by Basharat Peer, a Kashmir-born journalist who wrote the seminal book ‘Curfewed Night’; starring some of the finest acting talent in India and, of course, directed by arguably the finest auteur of his generation.
The film stars Shahid Kapoor as the young man whose mother – played by Tabu – marries his uncle (the incomparable Kay Kay Menon) after his father mysteriously disappears. Shraddha Kapoor plays an investigative journalist who falls in love with Kapoor’s Haider.
I caught up with Bhardwaj and Kapoor for a chat about the Bard, Shakespearean snobbery, India’s draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act and haircuts.