Haddi review: This action-packed revenge story, set in a gangster world if anything gives space to transgender in a world dominated by cishet heroes!
Haddi review: Currently, we are living in a time where the onscreen representation of transgenders has changed, where either actress like Sushmita Sen plays a trans in a biopic or a transwoman herself, Trinetra makes space for herself in a well-established show. And while the discourse continues on whether cis-het actors should take the role of trans, this is always considered as a first step toward representation. But Haddi is different in that sense because, despite all its flaws, it isn't a story making space for representation, but representation itself becomes fodder for the story as a transwoman goes back to her dead personality just to fool everyone and take her revenge!
The film will remind you of Anurag Kashyap’s gangster world, which is given, as the director and co-writer of Haddi- Akshat Ajay Sharma used to be assistant director to Kashyap. But it doesn’t have the edge and flair of that revenge gangster drama in spite of a similar depiction of violence! The two-hour ten-minute film is too chaotic and has no rhythm as if instead of being a chapter from someone’s book called Life, it is an entire life story with moments all splattered across.
We see the story of underdog gangster Haddi (Siddique) who rises the ranks of the gangster world of NCR run by the lunatic politician cum gunda Pramod (Kashyap). Haddi, as expected, becomes quite a favorite of the upper heads of the group where the hierarchy itself isn’t clear, only to infiltrate and cause problems among them. But there is a secret (not so much hidden) that Haddi hides; he is not a man pretending to be a woman, unlike others but rather a post-op transwoman. Who has only come to take revenge for his Revathi Amma (Ila Arun) and their gharana, which was finished by Pramod and his gang.
There is no chance of spoilers here as all of this was given in the trailer as well. There is no sense of mystery in the film because of the placement of scenes or the structure of the story. But the saving grace of the film is the way everything is shot and the music of the film that uplifts everything. Basically, the three songs of the film create solid moments worth remembering, the score that gives those dhansu moments their value, and the beauty with which the camera adds that missing breath into the scenes!
Then there is definitely the astonishingly amazing cast! The smoothness with which Nawazuddin Siddique moves his body, walks, or even breathes leaves you in so awe that you are just left amazed by his embodiment of the character. Whereas Anurag Kashyap as the crazy bastard of a guy who gets so disgusted by his own killing that he wears a headphone plays a song and then continues the entire killing spree makes you realise how this film is nothing without him. And the romance between Mohd. Zeeshan Ayyub and Nawazuddin is so pure and authentic that you love watching this sweet though tragic couple. Ila Arun weaves wisdomic magic with her mythological connection and elderly care.
But irrespective of world-class actors giving their full and technical wonderfulness something lacks. This almost makes you wonder whether all of this is just a distraction from a script not up to the mark. Because as much as you appreciate the genius of the idea where the post-op Harika goes back to being Haddi as after all a man is given much more value than a woman in this world and Siddique glides smoothly between the two almost making them look like brother and sister to each other, the impact of it all is lost.
Unfortunately, the duality of this world is that class exists for everyone even transgender and Haddi focuses on the lower-class trans for whom a Gharana means home. But a gender discourse, transgender power, and a Muslim man marrying a Hindu trans are all left in mid-air without any depth or context to it. I am still unclear why the whole angle of the black market of bones was brought in or what exactly is happening in this so-called gangster world. Maybe it all just exits for the sake of it, who knows?! I am just glad that by the end Haddi doesn’t get to complete his revenge because after all what Harika could do Haddi can’t!
Haddi is currently streaming on Zee5!
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