Haider (Shahid Kapoor), after his higher studies, comes back to his homeland, Kashmir where he found that things were not the same as they used to be at some time. On his bewildered sight due to his missing father who was taken by the army, Arshi (Shraddha Kapoor) accompanies the perplexed Haider throughout his problematic situations whereas he remains panicky about his father’s disappearance. He wanders in the deep valleys of Kashmir searching for the truth of his father’s disappearance when he came across a mysterious man, Roohdar (Irrfan Khan) who was friends with Haider’s Father.
Haider gathers the picturesque valleys of the existential Kashmir which is a well-known heaven on the earth. The picture offers the root location of Kashmir where the natural beauty is at its highest peak serving the best for a wanderer’s thirst.
Meanwhile, his Mother Ghazala (Tabu) ties knot with his uncle Khurram (Kay Kay Menon), a flirtatious brother-in-law, without considering her son’s state of mind. Haider discovers the reasons for his father’s death and formulates his plan to kill Khurram in the snow covered valleys of Kashmir.
An adaptation of hamlet by Vishal Bhardwaj, this movie is a dramatic tale of revenge seeking nature of humans where Ghazala (Tabu) reminds Haider of a fact that ‘revenge only results in revenge’ and only the love wins over. The movie exhibits love, thrill and compassion in the various locations of Kashmir which is nonetheless a spectacular and heavenly spark of the treasure of India.
Dal Lake, Srinagar
Scene: Shahid first time explains chutzpah
Dal Lake is Srinagar’s awe-inspiring masterpiece, well known for its joy ride in houseboats and the colourful shikaras. The Lake is surrounded by the floating gardens with beautiful flora and fauna covering the tantalizing water from all over. The best time to visit Dal Lake is in the months of July and August to experience the euphoria of the biodiversity on the lake in a full fledged manner. Vishal Bhardwaj initiated his shooting expedition from the Dal Lake which even looks spectacular in the pictures shot in the movie.
Scene: “Khul kabhi toh” song sequence
Haider (Shahid Kapoor) moves to the alluring Pahalgam and most of the movie have been shot in this area. This place is quite famous among the travelers due to its par excellence of the nature’s belt. The highly regarded “Amarnath Yatra” begins from this place itself which again is a turn on for the visitors. Pahalgam is also famous for its trekking expeditions and the irresistible view of naturally carved out mountains which is the only reason for most of the directors to shot their movies here. The best time to visit Pahalgam is between July and August when the sun shines beautifully on the mountains and flora and fauna is at its best.
Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir
Scene: Shahid Kapoor’s home
Anantnag, the rice bowl of the Valley, is also known as the land of numerous springs and is also the commercial capital of Kashmir. Nature God has been very kind with the place while decorating it with beautiful landscapes. Haider covers the Kehribal area of the Anantnag exhibiting the multitude of a beautiful district bounded with the Magnificent River Jhelum across its wetland area. Movie also narrates the song called “Jhelum Jhelum” harmonizing with the beauty of Kashmir.
Martand sun temple, Jammu and Kashmir
Scene: “Bismil Bismil” song
The temple is situated at a distance of 9 kms from the north east of Anantnag and the Kashmir Valley. The roots of this temple come from the ancient dynasties and the primary deity here is surya (the sun). Haider (Shahid Kapoor) performs his astonishing track, Bismil at Martand sun temple covering almost all the inches of the temple’s voluminous architecture with huge pillars and gates. The ruins of this temple are a great attraction for the seers and archaeologists for discovering and is an epitome of Kashmir styled architecture which is rarely seen in Kashmir.
Scene: Shahid gathers attention of passersby with his schizophrenic avatar
This place is a residential area of many of the Kashmiris and is situated on the banks of Dal Lake which makes it a prime tourist attraction. In a still from the movie, Haider is seen acting in a schizophrenic avatar in the streets of Hazratbal, gathering attention of the passersby. This place constitutes numberless sightseeing areas including Nishat and Shalimar Bagh situated on the periphery of Dal Lake. Hazratbal has guest houses and Dharamshalas for the tourists’ stay from where the beautiful surroundings can also be cherished like that of the view of Dal Lake.
Qazigund, Kulgam District, Jammu and Kashmir
Scene: Introduction scene of Irrfan Khan
The movie is shot at the Gateway of Kashmir, Qazigund which is a well known as area of the greatest thinkers and philosophers of all the time and situated on the banks of the Panzath river. There are holy shrines and glorious chinar trees extended all over the soulful Qazigund. This place is a must visit to unveil the spiritual aspects that took place in the beautiful valleys of Kashmir. Qazigund has a good connectivity from road and railway station.
Mattan, Anantnag, Jammu and Kashmir
Scene: Area around Shahid Kapoor’s home
This place is famous in the articles of many of the Kashmiri Pandits and the well known state with a lot of Hindu majority and an admirable enthusiasm in pursuit of a remarkable history. The place should be visited to look at the culture of Kashmiris from a deeper perspective.
Nishat Bagh, Srinagar
Scene: Shahid holds a gun to his head shouting to kill himself or someone else
The second largest Mughal garden in the valley, Nishat Bagh is located on the bank of the Dal Lake. Nishat Bagh is a garden of joy that commands a magnificent view of the Dal Lake. The garden is located in the Srinagar District which is 11 km from the city centre. The nearest Airport is 25 km away at Badgam. Filled with colourful flowers and amazing backgrounds of stunning lake and mighty mountain deserves your visit to spend some time with the nature, beautiful nature.
Lal Chowk, Srinagar
Scene: Shahid explains chutzpah in front of a crowd after his father’s death
Remember that astonishing speech by Haider (Shahid Kapoor)? That’s historic Lal Chowk in Srinagar. Lal Chowk is a city square at the heart of Srinagar. Lal Chowk was named so by Left-wing activists inspired by the Russian Revolution as they fought Maharaja Hari Singh. It is politically most sensitive place and has many historical moments to recall. It is the traditional place for political meetings with Jawaharlal Nehru, Sheikh Abdullah and various other Kashmiri leaders having addressed people from it. Jawaharalal Nehru unfurled the national flag in 1948 in Lal Chowk only. Here at Lal Chowk, he promised Kashmiris a referendum to choose their political future. Do visit this place to have an understanding of how sensitive and emotionally close this place is to Kashmir.
The cinematography of the movie is worth appreciating and unique in its own way of interpreting the beautiful valleys of Kashmir. The heavenly Kashmir with its snow covered areas and beautiful lakes and springs should definitely be on every serious Indian traveler’s list.
To look at the ravishing Kashmir, Haider serves the must-see destinations of the place vividly. The journey of Haider moves from the “mohallas” of Kashmir to the deep and remarkable beauty of the valleys surrounded by the mountains paying an ode to the perfection of Vishal Bharadwaj’s creativity as a whole. Adding to the voluptuous beauty of Kashmir is the artistic Gulzar’s phenomenal lyrics and melodious voices contributing in the all round success of the movie as a whole but at the topmost is the amazing coverage of the existential Kashmir by Vishal Bharadwaj which is beyond any word.