Critic Raja Sen of Rediff gave the film a maximum of 5 stars and wrote: "Haider is one of the most powerful political films we've ever made, a bona-fide masterpiece that throbs with intensity and purpose". Writing for Mid-Day, Shubha Shetty-Saha said "Vishal Bharadwaj brings alive the ecstasy, pain and passion of Hamlet on screen, he also reminds us of the harsh truth in our own backyard, the man-made mayhem in the God-made jannat [heaven] that is Kashmir". Faheem Ruhani for India Today praised the Even the oedipal theme between characters played by Shahid Kapoor and Tabu, summarizing his review as, "Haider may seem a bit sluggish in the first-half and slightly long. However, it makes up for most of it in the dramatic, intense climax that you are treated to towards the end. Haider is definitely a film you should not miss." Zee News's critic Ritika Handoo reviewed positively, "William Shakespeare's Hamlet is a masterpiece in literature, and Vishal Bhardwaj's Haider will be talked about in the same vein as one such artistic product in cinematic history. Haider will be recognized as Shahid's career-best performance." Srijana Mitra Das of The Times of India called the film "one of cinema's bravest takes on identity, frightening, yet fun" and particularly praised Tabu's performance whom she considered the prime-asset of the film. Sweta Kaushal for Hindustan Times noted, "Vishal Bhardwaj's Haider is a rare Bollywood gem you must watch." Writing for Filmfare, Rachit Gupta felt, "Haider doesn't have an ounce of the commercial thrills and spills that entertain the 100-crore masses. But it does have an undeniable dramatic punch. It is one of the best stories you'll every watch on celluloid. Give this edgy film a chance to entertain you. Because it will do so with aplomb. It's certainly better than the other chutzpah out there." On the contrary, critic Shubhra Gupta at The Indian Express felt the storytelling falters, quoting that, "It is a gorgeous but choppy film that you cannot take your eyes off for fear of losing another exquisite piece of detailing; it is also one that fails to fully keep you with it."
Mike McHill of The Guardian wrote, "Radical Indian version of Hamlet gives the story compelling political angles and musical surprises. A palpable hit, in any language." Rachel Saltz of The New York Times titled her critical review as, "Shakespearean Revenge in a Violent Kashmir" emphasizing more on script and directorial aspects, noting, "Haider may not be the equal of Mr. Bhardwaj's other Shakespeare films, and it may be deficient in the "Hamlet" department, but it certainly gives good Gertrude." At The Hollywood Reporter, Lisa Tsering was more positive on the film, summarizing, "With Haider, Bhardwaj wisely forgoes the rough-edged attitude in his other films to embrace a slicker and more sophisticated style; and some of the film's most effective moments are masterful in their visual storytelling skill." Writing for Digital Spy, Priya Joshi praised the movie, calling it a 'masterclass in film-making and performance' and 'an exemplary cinema and a work of great artistic merit.' She added, "Shahid Kapoor is a standard-bearer for a generation." Suprateek Chatterjee of the Firstpost praised performances of Shahid Kapoor and Tabu, thereby calling Vishal Bharadwaj's film 'best movie so far'. Praising the key aspects of the movie, critic Manjusha Radhakrishnan for Gulf News writes, "Everything about Haider is subtle: including the undertones of the infamous sexual tension between mother and son. Tabu and Kapoor surrender themselves completely to their roles and are endearingly uninhibited. The pace is never hurried, so be a bit patient and give these superbly talented actors a chance. Just like the cinematography that captures Kashmir's rugged beauty, Haider will wow you with its raw appeal." On writing for Emirates 24/7, Sneha May Francis opined, "Haider does appear a little over indulgent, but considering Vishal had such a Herculean task at hand, it's just a small price to pay for good cinema. Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet gets a sinfully delightful adaptation by master filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj". Ryan Gilbey based at New Statesman claimed, "The idea of a Bollywood Hamlet throws up all manner of preconceptions. But Haider transpires to be a far less irreverent interpretation than, say, the 2000 US version in which Ethan Hawke delivered the "To be or not to be" soliloquy from the "Action" section of Blockbuster Video. Bhardwaj relocates the action to Kashmir in the mid-1990s. If the graft doesn't quite take, it's because the film is so persuasive in portraying the oppression of the Kashmiri people that the woes of Hamlet seem small beer." 2b1af7f3a8