Omkara (2006)

Not Rated   |    |  Action, Crime, Drama


Omkara (2006) Poster

A politically-minded enforcer's misguided trust in his lieutenant leads him to suspect his wife of infidelity in this adaptation of Shakespeare's 'Othello'.

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8.1/10
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  • Bipasha Basu in Omkara (2006)
  • Saif Ali Khan in Omkara (2006)
  • Bipasha Basu and Vivek Oberoi in Omkara (2006)
  • Saif Ali Khan in Omkara (2006)
  • Ajay Devgn in Omkara (2006)
  • Ajay Devgn in Omkara (2006)

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13 August 2006 | abhishek-saha
8
| The power of Omkara
One of the questions that the director and the scriptwriter have to deal with when making a film adaptation of a classic is that of balance. One would like to remain true to the original story, yet each medium has its own modes of expression and a literal translation of a story would usually result in a long, incoherent, and ultimately powerless film. "The trick is," as director Trevor Nunn says in an interview about The Merchant of Venice, "to make a completely new piece of work while preserving the original piece of work." And Omkara, Vishal Bharadwaj's adaptation of Shakespeare's Othello is that rare beast. It is stunningly true in details and spirit to the original play (despite the substantial changes necessitated by transferring medieval Europe to modern day Bihar) and also be one of the finest Hindi movies made in recent times.

The reason for Shakespeare's huge popularity and general regard as one of the greatest playwrights ever is the timelessness of his themes- love, relationships, race, class, gender, jealousy, hatred, betrayal and death. He created unforgettable characters who remained people we can relate to. The basic premise of all his plays is usually simple. Shakespeare was a master who wrote for everyone, a fact that is sometimes forgotten by those intimidated by his high-brow reputation. And Omkara stays true to that spirit by making no attempt to intellectualize itself. The characters are crude and their language is coarse, in a way that compliments the feel of the film perfectly. Some of the elements of the film are deliberately over-the-top or violent and the scene in which Omkara smothers Dolly is extremely long and vivid; it is to Bharadwaj's credit that he turns this lack of subtlety into an asset. Indeed Omkara couldn't have been made any other way.

The acting throughout the film is splendid. Saif Ali Khan, in particular, is extraordinary as the wily, manipulative Langda Tyagi. Khan is one of the most versatile actors in Bollywood and it hard to believe this is the same guy who so brilliantly played 'Sameer' in 'Dil Chahta Hai'.

And oh, the ambiance! Bharadwaj creates the perfect setting for the film with a combination of great music, wonderful cinematography and a relentlessly dark atmosphere. This is a director who knows what he is doing and is a master at it.

I could go on and on about 'Omkara'…but probably it is best that the reader go and judge for himself. A word of caution though, Omkara is not for the weak-hearted.

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