Vishal Bhardwaj's adaptation of 'Hamlet' is a thrilling Oedipal drama, with Kashmir as its deeply tragic centre
When films transmute William Shakespeare’s poetic imagery and the atmosphere that his verses conjure into re-imagined, re-contextualized visuals, and not merely reproduce the action with select dialogues, a movie adaptation of a Shakespeare play can be considered successful. That is why, thought British film scholar Roger Manvell, Shakespeare often translates best in what he considered “foreign films". The setting is one of the reasons Haider, Vishal Bhardwaj’s adaptation of Hamlet, works. It is true to the haunting ambiguity of the characters’ motives in the original play, Shakespeare’s most opaque of tragedies, but the Kashmir canvas is potent. Bhardwaj’s visual intelligence and the screenplay by Bhardwaj and Basharat Peer, one of India’s acute commentators on Kashmir, his home state, add to the effective localization.
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