Haider's "Mousetrap": Politicized Audiences in "Shakespearean" Kashmir
Keywords:Haider, Adaptation, Audience, mousetrap, Bismil
This paper interrogates Vishal Bhardwaj's Haider as an adaptation of Shakespeare's Hamlet, and the extent to which a critical understanding of audience illuminates the political possibilities of adaptation. Placing the song sequence "Bismil" at the center of inquiry, we bring together theories of Shakespearean adaptation and Bollywood melodrama to underline the way Haider navigates the cultural and political ethics of a Shakespearean adaptation of a Kashmiri narrative. We place Haider in a long history of audience-centric criticism of Hamlet and attempt to understand how refashioning the play into a Bollywood melodrama complicates our notions of the affective and critical possibilities of Shakespeare and drama. The history of alienation and self-reflexivity within the play, and the newly conferred melodramatic excess and its use of public and nonindividuated audiences come together in understanding how Haider's departure from Hamlet might be in how it refashions its audience.