The pang of teenage love. The agony followed by betrayal. Inception of encounters to infidelity. All familiar feelings put together. Writing a ‘Haraamkhor’ movie review would have been so much better, if only the makers presented it efficiently.
Sandhya (Shweta Tripathi), a 15-year-old girl abandoned by her mother, is in a relationship with her school teacher Shyam Tekchand (Nawazuddin Siddiqui). Adding to the misery of forbidden love, she is unable to accept her father’s new partner. Blinded by love, she doesn’t smell the man’s infidelity until she almost gets pregnant and he dumps her. Just when she deals with heartbreak, her to-be stepmother lends a hand of love. On the other hand, her classmate Kamal (Irfan Khan) is tirelessly trying to seek her attention and is helped in his endeavour to do the same by his faithful friend Mintu (Mohd. Samad). The story strikes a chord with every little development, but fails to glue us to it.
We are utterly impressed with the actors. Nawazuddin Siddiqui as a clever man conscious of his own gains, Shweta Tripathi as a teenager burdened with her own deeds, Irfan Khan and Mohd Samad as two children into adolescence are fantastic. While the ideal relationship shared by a teacher and a student is often discussed, we have always forbidden the idea of a student developing affection for his/her teacher, and vice versa. Quite ironically, this is not a very uncommon instance. ‘Haraamkhor’ will be surely remembered that way. Moreover, it is a picture-perfect depiction of betrayal. It is the story of a little girl desperately seeking emotional solace and a shoulder to rely on. However, she is only met with desire and not love. Relatable much?
The pace of the film is where it all goes wrong. A fast-paced story is not what we expected. But the attempt of detailing slows it down, getting you distracted and impatient. At the end, this has spoilt the effectiveness of ‘Haraamkhor’. Shlok Sharma has added enough wit to the screenplay, but it is all lost while we await the next development to happen. And the final disappointment is the ending. We are quite familiar with open endings. This one, however, looks incomplete.
Technical aspects are rather great. Siddharth Diwan’s cinematography is subtle and apt. To catch the essence of suburban Madhya Pradesh, Diwan has made frequent usage of long shots, which set the mood. We liked how Kratika Adhikari has let the visuals be as original as possible. Jasleen Royal’s music is situational and adds to the intensity of moments. ‘Kidre Jawan’, the only track, comes with the credit lines. We wish it was instead used in the film. That would break the chain of monotony.
For those uniniated, ‘Haraamkhor’ was stuck at CBFC for a long time, before the tribunal cleared it. A round of applause for debutant director Shlok Sharma as he picked an unconventional subject which needs to be talked about, and for producer Guneet Monga who continues to back content-driven cinema.
Not recommended as an enjoyable watch, neither is it too moving at the end. However, watch if you’re looking out for some stellar acting performances.