Haramkhor Movie Review
'Haramkhor' is a unique film that shows a taboo in our society through the relationship between a teacher Shyam and a minor student Sandhya. Even the most liberal and radical viewers might find this theme objectionable, leaving alone the Censor Board. The message displayed at the beginning and incorporated throughout the movie is that having sex with a minor is against the law in India and prevents them from misunderstanding and misreading the movie. In this context, what troubles Shyam and Sandhya must face? What is the result of their illegitimate relationship? This is all about the plot.
Cast and Crew
In the movie, Nawazuddin Siddiqui plays the role of Shyam Tekchand (school teacher), and Shweta Tripathi plays the role of Sandhya (school student); they are in the lead role. At the same time, Trimala Adhikari as Sunita (Shyam's wife), Irfan Khan as Kamal (Sandhya's classmate), Mohammad Samad as Mintu (Sandhya's classmate), Harish Khanna as Raghuvir Singh (Sandhya's father), Shreya Shah as Neelu (Raghuvir's girlfriend) and Hanif as Shaktimaan are some of the other supporting actors. The movie was directed by Shlok Sharma and produced by Guneet Amarpreet Kaur, Anurag Kashyap, Feroze Alameer, and Achin Jain.
In the movie, an unusual love triangle develops between married teacher Shyam, his 14-year-old student Sandhya, and her classmate Kamal. Sandhya is Kamal's crush, but she isn't interested, while on the other side, Sandhya and Shyam become close friends. Sandhya looks after her drunken father and accompanies him to a party when he tells her about going on a business trip. Sandhya falls and injures her knee on her way home and arrives at Shyam's house, and suddenly watches Shyam having sex with his wife, Sunita. Shyam tries to talk to Sandhya when she is sleeping and teases her, but she ignores him.
The following day, Sandhya yells at Shyam for telling her a lie that he and his wife have no sexual relations. It is revealed that Sandhya's mother left her when she was a little child and that her father is now in a relationship with another woman. Sandhya and Shyam also start dating each other after meeting in secret. After a month, Sandhya and Shyam share a sexual relationship.
They take a covert journey to the city when she admits that she hasn't had her period for a month. There, Sandhya is identified by her father's girlfriend at the clinic, who maintains her identity a secret. Sandhya and Shyam giggle about Sandhya not becoming pregnant. Shyam advises Sandhya to quit meeting each other and keep their connection as simply a student-teacher one until they get back to the village.
Rumors eventually betray their secret, and Sunita threatens to abandon Shyam. Then Shyam accuses and punches Sandhya for being too blatant. Meanwhile, Mintu and Kamal destroy Shyam's abandoned house. When Shyam notices the boys breaking into his house and taking some of his belongings, he becomes suspicious. Shyam seizes Mintu and tries to kills him by asphyxiation. Kamal manages to flee, but when he witnesses Shyam attempting to suffocate Mintu, he returns with a rock and smashes it hard on Shyam's head, and kills him.
It's admirable that 'Haraamkhor' handles a serious problem without taking sides. Unfortunately, the noble social awareness disclaimers that regularly appear during the sequences that are "diluted controversial" fail to capture the film's harsh irony or audaciousness.
The inconsistent narrative keeps many questions unexplained. It's good when a director leaves everything up to the audience's interpretation, but Shlok Sharma asks far too much from his unwitting audience.
The narrative jumps around a lot, leaving you feeling disinterested in the plot. Shlok Sharma asks far too much of his uninformed audience; after a certain point, it becomes tedious to fill in the blanks. Those who have watched the movie at a festival assert that some portions have been omitted, resulting in a toned-down presentation. Whatever reason, you find it annoying that they seem disjointed.
'Haraamkhor' is daring and grounded. And without a doubt, that is its advantage. However, Shlok is unsure of where to proceed after a certain point. The subplot, which centers on two boys, one of whom is in love with the leading lady, is humorous at first but becomes repetitive after a while. And the last 20 minutes are a complete mess. Despite the strange behavior of its repulsive protagonist, Shlok has a strong first hour and plenty of laughs, but after that, it starts to lose steam. Although Shlok's direction is excellent, the writing isn't strong enough to keep your interest completely.
What the plot lacks, the performers make up for - Tripathi plays a role with the naivety, rebellion, and vanity of a teenager, while Siddiqui plays the perfect opposite ? he is fond of his status as a teacher, but he covers it in greasiness as he pulls off the lies without skipping a step. Both young guys are natural in their roles. Despite the repetition, Sharma succeeds in balancing passion and lightness and bringing viewers into this straightforward and restricted world.
The performances and Mukesh Chhabra's immaculate casting, particularly of the young boys, stand out in this otherwise daring but ambiguous picture. Shweta Tripathi, as a 31-year-old playing a 14-year-old, stuns you with her modest depiction. Nawazuddin Siddiqui once again demonstrates why he is regarded as one of today's finest actors. He is flawlessly excellent and effortlessly generates varied emotions such as wrath, disgust, and laughter.
Without question, Nawazzudin Siddiqui is a master of his profession. His rage and anguish will touch your soul. In a couple of situations where he teases Sandhya before making love to her, his portrayal is excellent. He conducts himself admirably for a passionate schoolteacher. It's amazing how he abruptly switches between his violent persona and romanticism in the same scene. Every single frame of the movie features a strong performance from him. Shweta Tripathi, a newcomer, certainly merits a standing ovation for her work in the movie after achieving such fame with 'Masaan.' Mohd Samad, Irfan Khan, and Trimala Adhikari are deserving of appreciation.
After the much-praised anthology of short films, "Shorts," director Shlok Sharma makes a strong comeback with "Haraamkhor." He distinguishes himself by presenting the problem of sexual connections with adolescents in the most lovely and passionate way. Shlok continues to succeed despite making the story too complex.
Siddharth Diwan's cinematography acts as a vibrant filter to depict the Madhya Pradesh town's modest size. He deftly records Shyam and his wife Sunita's kissing scene. The scene where Sandhya unintentionally spots Nawaz with his wife, Sunita, while he is half-naked is powerful.
'Haraamkhor' features no songs other than the theme music, which is composed by Karan Gour, Jasleen Royal, and Vishal Khurana, and it fits the plot nicely. The film is technically great, apart from one moment in which Sunita is preparing a bed for a wounded Sandhya, and the mic can be seen tucked beneath Sunita's nightgown.
Box Office Review
The 'Haramkhor' movie was released on 13th January 2017, following approval from the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal. At the 17th edition of the MAMI film festival, the film received the Silver Gateway of India trophy. It performed better than most other films in its genre, size, and budget, including 'Aligarh,' which made 26 lakhs with a release on 400 screens, 'Parched,' which made 12 lakhs with a release on 150 screens, and 'Budhia Singh,' which made 24 lakhs with a release on 638 screens.
Times of India: 3/5
Hindustan Times: 4.5/5
This movie may not be understood by everyone, but it has a strong message of showcasing social taboos. The plot does not romanticize the relationship between an adult and a minor; instead, it portrays it as a cunning endeavor. This story is told in washed-out frames as spontaneously as it could be in a realistic setting. If you want to try something new, you should see this movie.