No movie halls, still Haider a hit in Valley
Kashmir’s capital may have no movie halls anymore but that hasn’t stopped Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider from becoming a sleeper hit with numerous people downloading the movie to hold private screenings.
The adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet is set in 90’s Kashmir battling rising militancy and army crackdowns amid violence.
“We can relate to the movie, having lived through the crackdowns and the encounters. Haider is a departure from Bollywood’s usual fetish for the Dal Lake, flowers beds and meadow slopes. For the first time, a Hindi film has taken us close to real Kashmir,” said Iliyas Naqeeb, a banker.
His family recently hired a projector to screen the movie to a roomful of relatives in the downtown area of Hawal.
Such private screenings are rare in a city where militants banned public movie shows 15 years ago, backing up the dictat with grenade attacks. Since then, 13 city theatres have been turned into hospitals, guest houses and flour mills.
Despite this, movie parlours are doing brisk business and say the Tabu-starrer is one of the most-circulated films ever. “I have shared the downloaded print with dozens of friends. The film is so popular that after greeting friends nowadays we ask them if they’ve watched Haider,” said Saleh Peerzada, a lawyer.
There’s no official box office but the movie’s success can be gauged by the enthusiastic response from Kashmiris. The Valley’s leading daily Greater Kashmir has been flooded with reviews and commentaries on the movie. “We have already published ten reviews and many lie unedited. We have never received such response to a movie,” said the paper’s features editor Majid Maqbool.