Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Omkara


(2006) DVD
Directed by Vishal Bharadwaj

Cast:
Ajay Devgan .... Omkara 'Omi' Shukla
Saif Ali Khan .... Langda Tyagi
Vivek Oberoi (aka Viveik Oberoi) .... Kesu Firangi
Kareena Kapoor .... Dolly Mishra
Konkona Sen Sharma .... Indu
Naseeruddin Shah .... Bhaisaab
Bipasha Basu .... Billo Chaman Bahar
---
Score and soundtrack: Vishal Bharadwaj
Lyrics by Gulzar
---

After Maqbool, Vishal Bharadwaj comes up with another masterpiece adaptation of yet another literary classic. Omkara is based on Othello while Maqbool was based on MacBeth -- both gripping tragedies that leave the users squirming in their seats, wanting more.

Make sure to leave your kids at home; you certainly don't want them to be exposed to the wide range of expletives used. I have no reservations against this as-close-to-reality rendering of the events and dialogues in this movie -- we should reserve the thrill for the audience who would take it in the right sense. There's also the "daunting" task of understanding the heavy Bihari accent during parts of the movie, which I'm sure will leave many a folks stumped.

The movie starts with a grim potrayal of a girl being "kidnapped". It looks like that scene has been shot with the singlemost intent of introducing the main characters in the movie -- Omi or Omkara (Ajay), Langda Tyagi (Saif) and Kesu (Viveik). Alas, it also tends to highlight the rampant and unobstructed spate of kidnappings that happen openly in Bihar. The girl tends to be none other than Dolly (Kareena) who is madly in love with Omi. Omi also seems to be smitten by her...all providing a perfect setting for the apocalyptic love story set in the barren lands of Bihar.

Langda Tyagi (LT) performs the perfect thug rendering by potraying a gutkha-chewing, brazen but loyal stalwart for Omi. Kesu is the perfect foil to play an educated "brat", who is relatively new to the pack but loyal to Omi as well. LT seems to be the easily irritable, uneducated and no-nonsense kind of person, while Kesu is a stark contrast to it.

As if a premonition, Dolly seems to have a legacy built around her that creates a very tense atmosphere in the Omi group of folks. As the story unfolds further, and after Dolly's introduction into the Omi household, things seems to go rather well for them. Bhaisaab (Nasser) considers Omi his "right hand" and in him finds a torch bearer to guide him to victory in the upcoming elections. Omi rises in position after Bhaisaab's victory and the obvious next step is to choose a successor for Omi, the current Thug-lord's ("BahuBali") position. What follows is a rivetting and abrupt ending which will leave the readers yearning for more.

Saif effuses class in his acting skills and Viveik seems to hold off on his own after a long spate of flops and bad acting. Ajay seems to carry on his serious-natured acting. I think he has finally realized that comedy is not his cup of tea after his ill-timed Raju Chacha. Unfortunately, Bipasha is the only sorry addendum to this movie. She is almost inconsequential and unable to enact her role to suit the needs of the movie; like a barbie doll in the story of He-man and skeletor. It looks like she just came to the shooting directly from a beauty parlour.

Luckily, she does not take up too much screen time and the others manage to salvage the day. Konkana Sen is a revelation. She plays the perfect foil as LT's wife, although the relationship is not made very clear until somewhere in the middle of the movie -- maybe another ploy to keep the suspense alive.

I would rate this as a down-to-earth and classic story tale which borders very close on the harsh realities that exist in the remote rural Indian villages; certainly not for the faint of heart or the jilted lovers. Omkara comes across as a fresh breeze in this spate of new releases that are run-of-the-mill stuff.

Official site

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