Director: Shlok Sharma
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shweta Tripathi, Trimala Adhikari, Irfan Khan, Mohammad Samad.
Rating: 2 stars
At the heart of the movie is a clandestine and somewhat morbid affair between a 15- year old school girl and her mathematics teacher cum tutor. Sandhya (Shweta Tripathi) is inexplicably attracted to Shyam, her mathematics tutor (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) and the affair blooms in the backdrop Sandhya’s classmate Kamal’s (Irfan Khan) love for her. There is a hint of melancholy to the movie but the half-baked theories and the banter between the two boys bring out a lighter shade.
An unusual and unwitting triangle is formed when Shyam and Sandhya (whose names are synonymous to each other) are having an affair and the third party to this triangle is Kamal, the gullible, young classmate of Sandhya’s who is heads over heels in love with her and will stop at nothing less than marriage to her. The scenes where Mintu (Mohammad Samad- who plays Kamal’s wing man) and Kamal speculate and evaluate the relationship Sandhya and Shyam with a childlike yet very real theories are one of the best parts of the movie. They are those scenes which add a certain comic angle and give the viewer hope that the movie will get better. Sadly, it only gets darker as it progresses and towards the end takes an unexpected and unnecessary violent turn. Trademark Nawazuddin is showcased in some tongue in the cheek moments like when he coyly flirts with a student’s mother or offers his wife’s sandals to Sandhya. Most of the lighter scenes are however over shadowed by the darkness of the film, the plausible reasons like her loneliness and need for attention because of which Sandhya is willingly in an abusive relationship with her tutor.
Performances are a highlight of the movie. Shweta Tripathi, who plays the most complex character of the movie has a great screen presence and does a good job with all sorts of emotions. Her suppressed distress is not lost on the viewers despite the lack of a solid outlet. She also brilliantly showcases the immaturity of her character through her misplaced laughter and childish gestures. The use of an ancient video game that she plays and how Shyam buys her ice cream after an extremely intense scene- are all silent reminders of her age and yet her role encompasses the character of Sandhya way beyond what a girl her age might be ready for. Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s performance is on-point and flawless as usual. But it does get difficult to differentiate his role from any of his previous roles. His Shyam is cheeky, a philanderer and abusive to a large extent and yet one doesn’t entirely hate him during the movie. He plays his part incredible well but that still doesn’t set him apart in retrospect. An unexpected treat to the viewers is the duo of Irfan Khan and Mohammad Samad who play the roadside Romeo and his wing man respectively to perfection in the modest little setting of the movie. Their dialogues are notorious yet endearing, their antics are memorable and their naivete is one of the most fun parts of the movie. Although the movie could have easily progressed without this background story-line, I’m glad they were a part of the movie since they added a certain spice to it that was lacking. Trimala Adhikari deserves a mention for her short but direct role of Shyam’s wife. Her reactions and
Haramkhor is a movie that solely rides on performances, there is no notable direction, the screenplay is average, no remarkable music and a story that is not all that intriguing. Even though the issue that a neglected child may fall prey to an abusive relationship of sorts is brought to light, there isn’t much addressing the problem. The climax is also very abrupt and unnecessarily violent while it could have been quite mellow and provided some closure to the audience. All in all, Haramkhor’s only strength is its performances and other than that there isn’t much reason to watch it.