When the poster of Haddi was released with Nawazuddin Siddiqui dressed as a transgender, it really piqued my curiosity, hoping that the film will unearth the crime mafia that some transgenders secretly run. But, when you actually sit down to watch the film, it turns out to be a lot more than that. Using the transgender community as a clever and intriguing trope to expose the nexus of criminal underbelly operating throughout the capital city, director Akshat Ajay Sharma weaves interesting elements and delivers this gritty and intoxicating tale of vengeance, violence, power and retribution.

There are trigger-happy men on killing spree, blood splashing everywhere and it gets gory with every action sequence. Sadly though, the trailer gives away most of the story. Yet, Haddi manages to keep you hooked and invested. What fascinated me the most was Nawaz’s transition— it’s so elaborate and minute details are taken care of. The recent OTT show Taali showed something similar with Sushmita Sen’s character going through the same process, but Haddi gets a slight edge over Taali perhaps because stakes are higher with Nawaz dressing as a transgender, and quite convincingly.

The plot

Set against the backdrop of the modern ruins in NCR’s Gurgaon and Noida, Haddi story starts with a Harika (Nawaz), a trans woman telling an old man how the blessings of her community are considered powerful, their curse, scary and their revenge, even more frightening. And switch to the next scene, we are shown Haddi (also played by Nawaz) who has moved from his hometown of Allahabad to join a gang of transgenders and cross-dressers headed by a gangster-turned politician Pramod Ahlawat (Anurag Kashyap), who runs multiple illegal businesses. Soon, Haddi reaches the top of the criminal chain, but the fire to avenge his family wronged by mobsters never dies.

The 134-minutes long twisted revenge drama is well-intentioned, fast-paced and written with utmost care to not trivialize the transgender community. There’s special attention paid to the screenplay and unfolding of events, which is further enhanced with beautifully etched-out characters. Co-written by Sharma and Adamya Bhalla, the film presents a compelling story and it’s the nuances in writing that do the magic.


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