Film Review: Haraamkhor

Released with barely an ado, Haraamkhor is the story of 15-year-old Sandhya (Shweta Tripathi), a small town schoolgirl infatuated with her school teacher Shyam (Nawazuddin Siddiqui), even as 12-year-old Kamal (Irfan Khan) secretly pines for Sandhya. Goading him on is his confidant Minto (Mohammed Samad).

Writer-Director Shlok Sharma, in his debut feature film — one with immense scope — takes on a subject considered both bold and taboo, but the denouement fails to resonate. Just when the initial disjointed subplots finally seem to coalesce into a coherent narrative, comes the unsatisfactory ending.  For a start, Sharma fails to build up the romance between the teacher and the student.  This is one film where the additional half hour could have worked wonders.

Brought up without much love or affection by her police constable father Raghuvir (Harish Khanna), her mother having abandoned her at an early age, Sandhya finds solace in the illicit attention her teacher showers on her.  Shyam’s wife Sunita (Trimala Adhikari), who herself was his former student, recognizes the signals when Sandhya comes visiting.

But director Sharma is able to extract some brilliant performances from the cast, particularly Nawazuddin, Tripathi and the youngsters, especially Samad.  There are some credible scenes too — those of voyeurism and the ones where the youngsters forage through the teacher’s house. The film opens with a disclaimer — a word of advice and warning for school children, especially girls falling prey to the unwanted and licentious attention of their teachers. Now, how could that be a ‘disclaimer’?

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