It is tiresome.
In recent times, Hindi cinema and OTT shows have overdosed on homosexuality, forcing a gay track into every venture.
It’s the turn of transgenders now.
After Dr Trinetra Haldar was cast as Manav-turned-Meher in Zoya Akhtar’s Made In Heaven, Sushmita Sen played Shreegauri Sawant, the transgender-activist in Taali, her biopic, and R Balki introduced Ivanka Das as Abhishek Bachchan’s surgically transformed rakhi-sister in Ghoomer, Nawazuddin Siddiqui takes centrestage to wear trousers as bloody Haddi and sweet, saree-draped Harika with long hair, makeup and jewellery.
Director Akshat Ajay Sharma and writer Adamya Bhalla put together a film that’s raw in its vengeful violence but ultimately says nothing exceptionally transforming.
Encapsulated in one sentence, Haddi (Nawaz) is unflinching as he hacks dead bodies to separate bones from flesh – selling bones is a thriving business. Haddi has earned his name because he’s such a remorseless expert in extracting bones from a body.
But he was once Harika, the demure, surgically transformed woman happily married to adoring boyfriend Irfan (Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub).
Exactly like Taali, there’s an elaborately long flashback on how the Amma (Ila Arun) of the transgender community nurses Harika after her surgery for 40 days and how caring and loving the community is with another.
We have no beef with the community.
It’s the usualness of the narrative, now mind-numbing with repetitive overuse, that makes the revenge of Harika such a mundane watch. Harika chops her plaits and returns to trousers to become Haddi and reach politician Pramod Ahlawat (Anurag Kashyap), the kingpin of the illegal bones industry, to teach him a lesson in violence.
Gruesome blood and the painful procedure to turn into a woman are the two ‘sigh’lights of the revenge story that’s heavy in putting across the message that transgenders are the nicest of human beings. No problem buying that message but we do have a problem in the route taken to the destination. A route that takes turns in being brutal and boring.
With stories from the Ramayan and background music that includes ‘Namah Shivaya’, the payback violence by Haddi is savage.
Haddi/Harika mouths ‘Marta nahi main’ and ‘Marti nahi main’ as the situation demands but there’s a drab familiarity in Nawazuddin Siddiqui who has played Laila with nail polish and wig in movies like Heropanti 2, making Harika/Haddi hardly a breakout challenge for him.
Mohammed Zeeshan Ayub as Harika’s boyfriend/husband and the voice of the transgender, is cast in a wishy-washy role that’s more bystander than performer.
Anurag Kashyap’s callous politician Pramod Ahlawat has a weighty presence that’s apparent more in physical kilos than in a hefty performance.
There really is little new meat to enjoy this barbarous tale of a transgender out to wreak vengeance on a conscienceless perpetrator. So I have a haddi (bone) to pick with you, Akshat, Adamya and Nawaz.
Rating – 2/5