Forbidden relationship’s explored in Haraamkhor

Forbidden relationship's explored in Haraamkhor

Mumbai, Jan 13:You’ll enter and leave the theatre wondering the same thing – why on earth CBFC raised objections to Haraamkhor! The film deals with a relevant topic and to the makers’ credit, it does so, quite sensitively.

 Set in an unknown village of Gujarat, the film depicts an ‘unacceptable’ relationship between a 14-year-old Shweta Tripathi (Sandhya) and her teacher Nawazuddin Siddiqui (Shyam). The film further shows a love triangle as Shweta’s classmate Kamal (Irfan Khan) is secretly in love with her.

The film begins with a shot of Sandhya sitting on a rock in school uniform glancing at the plain brown surroundings. Whether it’s an indication of something deep – remains unclear – even towards the end. The narrative moves forward with the usual school-kind conversations and we meet their teacher Shyam. Everything looks conventional until a glance between the teacher and student catches your eye. Soon, two other classmates –Mintu and Kamal – start voicing your thoughts. “What’s brewing between Shyam and Sandhya?”

Shweta, as a 14-year-old, nails her character! Even though she plays a character which is half her age, the mind space of a teenager is captured well. She etches her character’s traits with great finesse. Be it the scenes featuring her tantrums, or her angst or her struggle to cope up with abandonment – she pulls each of it well. She shows discomfort when she’s angry and submission when she’s in love – both with the same conviction. Her character is a bit mature than her age and this is where her actual age works a brownie point for her.

Nawazuddin’s acting needs no introduction and this film is yet another testament to his potential. His nonchalance as a dominating teacher with wandering eyes and hands come across as nuanced. Some might find him a tad bit uncomfortable during intimate scenes with his wife Sunita or even Sandhya, but for us, the little discomfort added an unexplainable weight to the plot.

Kamal, the boy irrevocably in love with Sandhya and his wingman Mintu do a fine job all throughout the running time.

Quite interestingly, each of the character has ‘haraamkhor’ traits in one way or another. Whether it’s Nawaz-Shweta’s ‘forbidden love’ or Shweta’s father’s interest in a nurse that keeps him away from looking after his daughter or the two classmates who keep stalking Shweta out of one’s love for her.

The well-thought casting of the film pulls the narrative forward despite its sluggish plot. The subject is pretty relevant and one would have expected a lot of dark scenes in the film – but to a viewer’s disappointment – it offers none of those. Shlok Sharma has treated the subject with sheer sensitivity but ended up leaving a lot to viewers’ interpretation and imagination and after a while, even a viewer tires of filling the blank spaces.

Haraamkhor is a well-intentioned film which deals with a socially relevant subject and for that we give it a thumbs up. But the fact that its makers couldn’t use the subject to its full potential leaves you a little empty towards the end.

Director: Shlok Sharma
Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shweta Tripathi