I still remember the play Macbeth being enacted by our school play group and the famous dialogue “Fair is foul, and foul is fair”, seems to have influenced Vishal too. The movie has been in controversy even before it was released. Scores of blogs, articles and reviews were written even before the movie was released or seen. The ghost of Haider seemed to have visited everyone, sharing his opinion about the movie albeit the opinion shared seemed to vary from person to person.

The movie seemed to have the curse of witches, because it ended up pleasing neither the audience, nor the critics or even the Kashmiri people, whose miseries Vishal and his Kashmiri Muslim Screenplay writer Basharat Peer tried to highlight.

So poor was the confidence of Basharat Peer in his own screenplay that he for a long time denied that he had anything to do with the film, except for helping Vishal to shoot in Kashmir. I should admit that Basharat’s fear was right, because the film ended up being a box office disaster inspite of excess publicity received due to various controversies.

The maximum protest came from Hindu groups, especially Kashmiri Pandits, for ignoring them in the saga and using Martand Sun Temple for a song. Personally, I think that Kashmiri Pandits were creating mountain out of a mole. As it happens in India, maximum protestors had not even seen the movie but were out on streets to protest.

The separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who has ensured that the no movie theatres run in the valley, was quoted saying that “if more such movies are made, he can think of allowing movie screenings in Kashmir”. I am again sure that Geelani has not seen the movie but has had a visit from the Ghost of ‘Haider’. The movie has been most critical of Kashmiri Muslims and their society. Under the garb of AFSA, the movie highlights the every evil plaguing the Kashmiri Muslim society and the Kashmir of today.

The movie plot has only two female characters, one representing the older generation and the other; the younger one. Both the females do everything which the society looks down upon. The protagonist is angry at her mother for sleeping with his uncle after the death of his father, but at the same time has no qualms having pre-marital sex with his girl friend.

The father of the girl, a senior police officer, is happy to kill Kashmiris for money and fame. He is ably assisted by the two police officers, who again have no attacks of guilt when told to kill their childhood friend.

The main villain KK, is happy to sell and kill every Kashmiri including his brother for fame, money and power. He has no regrets in seducing his sister-in-law, killing his brother, using one Kashmiri to kill another or even deceiving simple Kashmiri for his political gain.

The Hero on other hand is trigger happy, killing his future father-in-law or brother-in-law without any regret. His relationship with his mother almost is incestuous. While he keeps about blabbering Chutzpah about AFSA, he has no regrets in overstepping his boundaries of the accepted social behaviour.

As a Kashmiri I feel offended that Vishal or Basharat had not even a single character in the movie, sane in his/her actions, not selfish, someone whose moral values were still intact.

In the end all I can say is that Vishal Bhardwaj lost the track somewhere, very much like today’s Kashmir, which seems has lost its unique secular and social traditions.

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