Sunday, July 30, 2006

Omkara


A few posts ago, I had likened Vishal Bhardwaj to Gulzar. I was a little off the mark. Vishal is a much better story teller than the great man. In his second Shakespearean venture, he exhibits remarkable ease while handling the camera, and every frame is worth its weight in gold. I have very few bad things to say about the film. From Makdee to Maqbool to Omkara...this filmography alone can put him in a league all by himself.
I assume here that everyone knows what Othello is all about. A tragedy filled with lies, deceipt, love and bloodshed. Omkara stays very true to the original, in fact Vishal doesn't include any fictional characters to adapt the story to fit the Indian landscape. And what a landscape it is! Set in political Uttar Pradesh, a menacing, hostile jungle of violence, political intrigue and feuds, with its dusty villages and golden fields, the surroundings keep you captivated from start to finish. The backdrop itself is as strong as any of the characters. Ajay Devgan as Omkara is powerful, Kareena as Dolly is very good as well, Vivek Oberoi as Kesu and Bipasha Basu as Billo don't get much scope. But Konkona Sen takes your breath away with her vibrance in a smallish role. She is a fantastic actress and its frightening to imagine what she could accomplish after a few more years in the business. But all said and done, this is Saif Ali Khan's film. Iago (Landga Tyagi here) is a difficult character to play, but Saif makes the scheming, hurting, jealous lieutenant come alive in a way that you hate and like him at the same time. Award winning stuff.
The music of the film is good as well. 'O Saathi re' and 'Omkara' are the stand out tracks for me. The others are situational and are not bad by any standards. One item song too many though. Gulzar's lyrics are fantastic.
The only possible drawbacks of the film could be the language of the film, which is very UP ite and hence might be difficult to grasp for people not versed with the accent and dialect in that part of the country and the editing, which uses the fade out technique too often, which slows down proceedings considerably. A few expletives could have been avoided, but its not really something I'd whine about.
Dark, brooding, menacing, delightful.
Omkara could well be a classic in the making.

4/5

Cheers!
Abhishek.

10 comments:

Ron said...

i hvnt sen the film yet, but frm the promos i felt tht bipasha basu is a tad too westernised for this film...she dsnt really fit into
those item numbers set in tht thet UP background. what did u think?

Abhishek Chatterjee said...

ron - she just about manages it, it think. ya now that u mention it, they could have gone with someone else, but she doesnt stand out like a sore thumb...

Abhishek Chatterjee said...

ron - arre forgot...bhelcome bhack!!!

Cogito said...

Vishal seems to be growing in strength with every film ! Good for Bollywood.

stuti said...

hoping to catch this one soon.

have only heard two songs as of now......the title song and an item song 'namak'. quite liked both of them.

'omkara' seems to have the same effect that "mangal....mangal" had a while ago........you hum the tune once, and it goes on echoing in the mind! good one!

Abhishek Chatterjee said...

cogito - absolutely, a director who seems to have mastered the art of marrying the art and mass aspects of filmmaking...

stuti - good point there...the tracks are similar in feel yes...watch it for sure.

Ekta said...

Hey I seem to be getting mixed reviews abt this movie...but guess I will just have to see it myself to form an opinion then!

sougata banerjee said...

I really want to watch the movie now. I am gradually becoming a fan of your distant uncle. Will check out local listings shortly. Take care.

Abhishek Chatterjee said...

ekta - yup..im rather wary of reviews myself..i dont let it influence my decision of watching the movie. watch omkara...

saugatada - yes sir the man has grown in stature over the last few films...his work in omkara is close to the best work he's ever done! dekhenao joldi.

chaitali said...

omkara is mind-blowing..the lang says it all..but bips does look like an alien when it comes to attire and lang she hasn't grasped it well..music is too good...ajay devgan was himself he could have tried better....saif has done exclusively good work..vivek needs to brush off his saathiya image...it looks as if he is still in college..