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Haddi movie review: Nawazuddin Siddiqui deserved a better film

A tale of revenge and retribution set in the world of transgender people, ‘Haddi’ broadens its base to take in land-grabbing politicians and vicious goons. It begins as an intriguing, ultra-violent peep into a world we don’t know much about, and till it stays in that zone, this Nawazuddin Siddiqui starrer keeps us engaged.

As many young boys who learn that their assigned gender isn’t a good fit, Hari would rather be Harika. As the grown-up Haddi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), having undergone the painful transformation to the other side under the supervision of soul mother Revathy Amma (Ila Arun), flashes back to childhood, we can see how much she wants to just live a life of acceptance and dignity. And how the world is stacked against her, and others like her.

The parts when the film hives off, wanting to be a grisly crime thriller, weaken it. Not because the two — the vividly recreated world of transgenders and the universe which is full of those who want to exploit them — doesn’t mix. It’s the plot which becomes confused on how to do the melding. First off, the local Noida don Pramod Ahlawat (Anurag Kashyap), who wants to grab all land cheaply, comes off more like a comic-book baddie. As usual Kashyap is having a blast, but he needed to be much more menacing to be convincing. Once he and his cohorts come on, ‘Haddi’ is left to meander amongst cadavers and human remains, minus bite.

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It’s the others who make this uneven film interesting, especially the characters who cross-dress to lure cruising customers. Saurabh Sachdeva, as Ahlawat’s chief sidekick is terrific, as is Arun, the matriarch of the transgender community which has old roots in the property under attack. Ayyub, playing a social worker who has feelings for Haddi, fills his sequences with a special kind of tenderness: you wish he had more screen time.

Nawazuddin owns this film. Haddi/Harika uses a body language– the slight sway of the waist never exaggerated– that radiates seething rage and vulnerability. Both he and she needed a better film.

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Haddi movie cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Anurag Kashyap, Saurabh Sachdeva, Mohammed Zeeshan Ayyub, Ila Arun, Vipin SharmaHaddi movie director: Akshat Ajay SharmaHaddi movie rating: 2 stars

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