‘Haddi’: Cast & Crew
Director: Akshat Ajay Sharma
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Anurag Kashyap, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Ila Arun, Saurabh Sachdeva, Shridhar Dubey, Rajesh Kumar, Ivanka Das, Vipin Sharma, Saharsh Shukla
Available On: Zee5
Duration: 2 Hours 15 Minutes
A transgender, Haddi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) moves to Delhi and joins a gang of transgenders and cross-dressers headed by an influential man. But is this move aspirational or driven by revenge? Well, you’ll have to watch the film to find out.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui comes up with a solid performance where he not only looks the part but also gets the nuances of a transgender to perfection. He manages to get close to the kind of fearsome feel that he managed to get in ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’. However, with such a powerful performance, what was lacking were some dumdaar dialogues. Had he gotten some better punchlines, then his act would have been very well justified. Overall, it’s a Nawazuddin Siddiqui show throughout, and that’s the only thing that will hook you on till the end.
Anurag Kashyap brings out a devilish side of him which is oh-so-sinister to watch onscreen. We have seen him play negative characters before, and he does well always. What’s impressive in ‘Haddi’ is that he has not tried to push himself too hard and has let the performance come out as naturally as possible.
The beauty of Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub is that he manages to leave an impact even in a one-scene role. Films like ‘Mission Mangal’ or ‘Article 15’ are perfect examples of the same. However, here it seemed like a complete waste of his talent. There was barely any hard-hitting effect of the character in the entire scheme of things. He played second fiddle to Nawazuddin’s character and there was not enough meat in the role to make it come out as the perfect second lead. It was quite disappointing to see Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub in such a subdued performance.
Even in a small character, Ila Arun brings in her characteristic quirkiness and makes the performance memorable. Her ever-so-iconic voice suits oh-so-perfectly for the character.
‘Haddi’: Script, Direction & Technical Aspects
Akshat Ajay Sharma’s direction is very nuanced. He has not tried to hide the emotions that a transgender person faces but has rather very subtly explored them. There are scenes where the audience would be getting slightly uncomfortable seeing something onscreen, but he has dared to show them with such aesthetic integrity that their proper explicit emotional intent is also kept intact and there isn’t enough gore onscreen as well. Getting that balance was sheer perfection.
When it comes to the writing by Adamya Bhalla and Akshat Ajay Sharma, there are a couple of things that go amiss. Not exploring much with Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub’s character is a big letdown. The story could have done so much more with his character so as to make the villain look much more sinister and the revenge seems much more justified. Also, there were a few loose ends that never got properly answered. The question about why Nawazuddin’s character never dies despite being charred with bullets never gets answered satisfactorily. Similarly, there are a few other points that don’t get the closure that you demanded as an audience.
The cinematography by Piyush Puty and Jay Oza was decent. Mostly, it was shot in real locales, and very outdoorsy. Therefore, there was not too much that could go wrong here. What Puty and Oza need to be commended for is the brilliance with which they filmed the low-lighting sequences, as there wasn’t any instance where you felt that you couldn’t connect or couldn’t understand what was going on.
Tanya Chhabria’s editing was decent. She didn’t let the movie go too long. Despite being over two hours, there is barely any moment in the film where you feel that you’re yawning and getting bored. The jump cuts were smoothened out nicely so as not to let the audience get a feel of it.
The highlight of ‘Haddi’ invariably has to be the music by Rohan-Rohan. While all other departments could have done better in some way or the other, the music is so serene and cerebral that you’re not just left listening to it in awe, but are questioning yourself as to why such a different sort of approach was taken towards the music promotions, as the music wasn’t given its due credit in promotions. Songs like ‘Beparda’ are real masterpieces, and deserve a place in every music connoisseur’s playlists. To add to that the background score was also so intense that it keeps you hooked throughout.
‘Haddi’: Can Kids Watch It?
‘Haddi’ is not your regular run-of-the-mill kind of film trying to cash in on the current trend of making movies on the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s a genuinely hard-hitting story about a transgender person. What’s good about it is the amount of detailing the makers and Nawazuddin Siddiqui have gone through in order to make the transgender character look authentic and the problems feel real and genuine. The storyline does have a few shortcomings, but the performances mostly cover up for that. In spite of all the good things, ‘Haddi’ will end up being only for the connoisseur’s eye as it would be a bit too artsy for the average moviegoer. Overall, it’s an Average Watch. I am going with 2.5 stars.