Director: Shlok Sharma
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shweta Tripathi, Irfan Kha, Mohammad Samad
This is the side of Bollywood I love. The side which doesn’t care about glamour or fame but truly believes in making a genuine cinema, rich in story and thought provoking after effects.
After a long battle with Censor Board, Shlok Sharma’s Haraamkhor finally saw the light of silver screen. The movie is gutsy which deals with the problems school girls have in India. Shyam (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) is a teacher at school and he also takes private tuitions. He has a thing going on with one of his students Sandhya (Shweta Triapthi). The story also focuses on two other students Kamal (Irfan Khan) and Mintu (Mohd. Samad). Kamal loves Sandhya but is afraid to tell her. The narrative intensifies as it unfolds the fate of these characters.
Haraamkhor’s script bravely talks about the lack of awareness in small villages regarding the problems a girl child can have in her underage days. The undue advantage some people take to satisfy their own lust. Shlok Sharma writes clever characters. Shyam the professor is a multi-layered one. Sometimes, you might think he is a good guy, sometimes not. The ethical dilemma that slowly starts to disappear makes you think the kinds of monsters exist in our society and how the lack of knowledge in such context can destroy the lives of innocent girls during their happy school days. The story also shows that a lack of mother figure can have a drastic effect in the family. It is beautifully narrated.
The ending of the film could have been extended to have a justified closure to the topic. I mean, the writer boldly describes the problem throughout the film so we needed to see how that problem can be solved with some brave measures but the ending didn’t quite achieve that. It was a dissatisfying end.
Shlok Sharma as a director too, grabs your attention. His storytelling is subtle yet highly thought provoking. What starts as a light hearted fun story, slowly emerges as a cruel realistic tale. Shyam’s teaching and all the fun associated with it, Kamal-Mintu’s laughter inducing moments are great. Initially, Shlok makes the relationship between Shyam and Sandhya a bit confusing to keep us guessing. Once everything becomes clear, we get to see the menacing effects of some men who are just looking to satiate their inner craving.
Image Source: Sikhya Entertainment
Shlok doesn’t shy away from showing the bold take on this wrong relationship and actually makes us uncomfortable. Even the violence is grim and feels real. Like I said, Shlok had a good subtle approach to the story and I loved it but the mid phase of the film goes a bit low, cutting the engagement with audience.
What makes Haraamkhor a memorable experience is the top quality acting. Nawazuuddin Siddiqui is a hell of an actor. He is always focused into his character but when he is portraying the role of a villager, he is unbeatable. A professor, funny in his teaching, has hidden lustful intentions and also wants to keep his marital social life respectful. These are different shades that Nawaz had to show and he performs with great passion. The scenes of him beating the students up, punishing them for their mistakes are complete amusement. His behavior with Sandhya is intense and the evidence of his monstrosity is something that is brilliantly performed by him.
Nawaz has amazing skills in making even a serious scene rich in fun elements. Like the one when he tells his wife, ‘Jaana hai na tujhe, meri laash se guzar ke jaa’ and when she does that he is like, ‘Sharam nahi aayi?’ These kind of moments give the film a huge boost.
This is the actual debut film for Shweta Tripathi. She is as impressive as she was in Masaan. An innocent school girl who is exploring her world without much knowledge and the horrors she faces are delivered precisely. Her conversations with Shyam, the problems in which she gets trapped are enacted in amazing way.
Two child actors won this film with their complete humoristic contribution. Irfan Khan as Kamal (Also from Chillar Party) is a quality actor. His love for Sandhya and silent personality is appropriate. Complementing to his role is the dynamic performance by his friend Mintu, played by Mohammad Samad. He makes you laugh with his schemes and funny dialogues. Together, they make fine friends who look out for each other.
Lastly, I would say, Haraamkhor tries to bravely tell us to think about the safety of a girl child who has more horrors to face in today’s world than its beauty.
Haraamkhor is a gutsy film told in equally brave way which will make you uncomfortable and will force you to think about the horrors that can happen with girls in our society. Shlok Sharma doesn’t shy away from showing us the grim realities. Nawazuddin yet again proves his acting caliber. It’s not just a courageous film but an important one as well. Don’t miss it.