Heartbreaking Metaphors In Vishal Bhardwaj’s Masterpiece ‘Haider’ And What They Mean

Vishal Bhardwaj’s ‘Haider’ was an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.


Hamlet has been adapted in Hollywood as well as Bollywood but ‘Haider’ was a masterpiece. The movie was spectacular and haunting. Shahid Kapoor as Haider was excellent and his performance was memorable. Vishal Bhardwaj showcased Kashmir’s heartbreaking circumstances and Hamlet’s tragedy. We take a look at a few of the metaphors you probably didn’t notice:

#1 Ghazala and Kashmir.

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Ghazala Meer is definitely one of the complex yet well-written characters in Bollywood. The performance by Tabu was haunting.The Kashmir that Vishal Bharadwaj shows us a lot like Ghazala’s character; Ghazala is heartbreakingly beautiful and torn apart between two.

#2 Haider’s speech.

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After learning about his father’s death, Haider’s grief takes away the best of him. He gives a monologue in front of strangers and if you pay attention to it, it is actually about him. ‘Khela humare saath border border‘ and ‘Koi toh hum se pooche hum kya chahatey hai’ Grief-stricken, his character turns darker after Ghazala gets married again.

#3 ‘Do Chehre Hai Aapke’

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After the song ‘Bismil’, Ghazala goes to her house and looks into a broken mirror. There are two reflections of her in the mirror and Haider says ‘Do chehre hai aapke, ek masoom aur ek chor‘. One side of the character is innocent but the other isn’t. Ghazala is emotionally manipulative but also a very easy target.

#4 Arshi’s loss and the muffler

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Arshi (Shraddha Kapoor) knits a red muffler for her father. The muffler is later used by the father to tie Haider’s hand and he later wraps it around. Arshi’s father finds the muffler outside Haider’s house and then he is shot to death. Arshi is seen unknitting the muffler throughout the funeral and she sings a Kashmiri folk song.

‘Bitti naai doorie
Choom zaraai baamaraiyo
Kya kar hou thaam
Zaar zaraai baamaraiyo’

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Her helplessness, sorrow, grief and the loss of everything important to her is portrayed through the unknitting of the muffler. She realizes that her love is responsible for the death of her father. Her brother will now kill her love and she has no reason to go on with life. When she dies, she is covered in the red woolen thread and it means that she has unknitted/detached herself from the world as it no longer has meaning for her.

#5 The revenge and it’s lost purpose.

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At the end, when Haider points the gun at Muram (Kay Kay Menon) and still doesn’t shoot him. ‘Inteqam’ had no purpose anymore as he lost his parents and the love of his life.  This scene can also be connected to where Ghazala asks him to kill her ‘Aapki zindagi hi aapki saza hai‘ meaning your life will be your punishment.

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Posted by

Shivani Ahuja

Finds poetry in the simplest things.

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