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On Wednesday night New York's prestigious Columbia University played host to Vishal Bhardwaj's Haider. The film was watched in rapt attention by over 2,000 students including a majority from America.


The screening was followed by a definitive incisive and exhaustive interactive session helmed by the Haider writer Basharat Peer who is a former student of Columbia University. Interestingly, the guest of honour at the screening was eminent litterateur Salman Rushdie.


Rushdie is himself of Kashmiri origin. I thought it would be interesting to know his opinion on Haider.


When contacted Salman Rushdie said, "I liked the film and thought it used 'Hamlet' very well to illuminate Kashmir."


It was Tabu's performance that enthralled Rushdie. Says the distinguished author, "Tabu's performance is what holds the film together and the use of Shakespearean motifs -- the play within the play, the revenge tragedy, the ghost -- is elegant and effective."


Salman Rushdie was tickled by his namesake being featured as two characters in the film. Says the author with his tongue firmly in cheek, "I enjoyed the fact that the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern characters are both called Salman, though I think it's intended as a joke about Salman Khan and not me."


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