Movie Review – Haraamkhor: Dark, Intense and Brave
The film Haraamkhor starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Shweta Tripathi, and directed by Shlok Sharma, under the DAR Banner, was completed 3 years ago but due to issues with the censor board, was not released. The movie has, however, been screened in many film festivals including New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) and Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA). Nawazuddin Siddiqui received the Best Actor award for the film at the New York Indian Film Festival.
Jasleen Royal is the music composer of the film.
The movie was shrouded in controversy with an FIR being registered against the director Shlok Sharma on a complaint by Balbharati, Maharashtra’s textbook bureau, objecting to striking similarities between its logo and the logo used in the film’s promotion scenes.
Speaking about the title of the film, the director Shlok Sharma said that every man has deep within him a haraamkhor (literally meaning bastard in English) which gets unleashed if not controlled. The movie has been made on a very low budget but delivers a resounding performance by all the artistes, and tries to bring to the fore an evil in the society that remains covered in most cases.
Haraamkhor was made in flat 16 days. The story is based in a small village in Madhya Pradesh and revolves around an unlikely love triangle that ensues between a married school teacher, his 14-year old student and her tuition mate.
Shyam Tekchand (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is a maths teacher who is attracted to an under-aged, 14-year old student from his class. The girl Sandhya (Shwetha Tripathi), who is from a troubled home (dead mother; and alcoholic father in relationship with another woman), goes to Shyam Tekchand for tuitions and in spite Shyam being much older and married, a twisted taboo relationship develops between the two.
Sandhya overlooks Shyam’s violent outbursts as her sexual involvement with him clouds her judgement. Shyam on the contrary, is an opportunist. He manipulates both the girls and even his wife for his selfish interests.
The entire story unfolds through the eyes of two prepubescent boys Kamal (Irfan Khan), Sandhya’s tuition mate, and his notorious friend Mintu (Mohd Samad). Kamal also falls in love with Sandhya and Mintu suggests bizarre ways to help Kamal woo Sandhya.
Haraamkhor is indeed a very daring film which deals with a reality that remains hidden especially in small towns and villages, where there are many cases of such teacher-student unethical relationships.
The storyline is based on a prevalent societal evil, and the director has managed to address the issue without taking sides which is indeed commendable. Mukesh Chhabra’s casting is impeccable, especially when it comes to the young boys. Nawazuddin and Shwetha have also acted brilliantly.
Shwetha at 31 plays a 14-year old girl flawlessly, and Nawazuddin has again proved his mettle with his effortless acting which evokes diverse emotions like anger, disdain and laughter in the audience.
Even though the story is serious, the film does have some light moments which manage to bring a smile on the audience’s lips on more than one occasion. The locations where the film has been shot can be best described as raw and real locations, kudos to the director.
However, there are a few weak links too in the movie. The watered down version of the film does not seem to do justice to it. The relationship between Sandhya and her alcoholic police officer father has not been portrayed properly.
Sadly, the righteous social awareness disclaimers that appear frequently during the ‘diluted controversial’ scenes, do not embody the film’s dark humour or audacious nature. The narratives are jumpy, and there are too many blanks left by the director for the audience to fill which does get tiresome after a while.
While the movie is being released immediately after box-office hit Dangal, the storyline of the film shows a lot of promise and should be watched by the Indian public.
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