1 August 2006 | gauravb21
Can Raw be Gorgeous ?...its Omkara !
Can Raw be Gorgeous ? Well here we have for that one rare spectacular treat. Vishal Bhardwaj visualizes and presents a mesmeric manifestation out of rustic, rural, and wild backdrop. Omkara is an adaptation from Othello, one of the four great tragedies written by Shakespeare that includes Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth. Vishal has made all possible efforts to recreate the magic of the powerful script and he has succeeded to a great extent. However he has changed background from one that at royals in Europe to pastoral countryside in western Uttar Pradesh. The movie has an extravagant treatment and every aspect from costumes to sets and dialect to music has been designed to near exactness. The beginning takes you straight into the heartland of India where politics and power equations are bread and butter of the inhabitants. The color of muscle-power, sex, and jealously makes perfect ingredients for a Bollywood potboiler. It surely have been a laudable effort by the filmmaker after depicting his genius with Maqbool in 2003 (another adaptation from Shakespeare's Macbeth).
Omkara stays true to its spirit, (the original word is a spiritual vibration from Sanskrit) it's an impersonal and formless representation of the absolute truth. Ajay Devgan playing the lead gives the right tone and shade to the character. His intense expressive eyes and deep throat say it all. It is indeed a quantum leap over his last negative portrayal in Ram Gopal Verma's "Company". He stays in focus from the first action sequence and the title song gives him a fitting introduction on the canvas. The whole drama revolves around his emotions and his weaknesses. His love interest in the film is played by Kareena Kapoor and to say the least she has been a complete revelation to watch. She looks stunning and emotes with ease in some very delicate parts of the show. Vivek Oberoi tries his hand again on some quality stuff after a string of flops recently but unfortunately he is one of the rare weak parts of this plot. He looked very vulnerable and the character never gave him an opportunity to come to the forefront. Konkona Sen Sharma is always full of surprises and her versatility is her strength. The variety of roles she does will be envy for any actor. She plays with simple elegance for a common house villager and without a doubt impresses one and all. Another high was from Bipasha Basu, playing a sultry siren and absolutely ignites the screen with couple of dance numbers. Apart from illustrating her well toned figure there was not much of performance meat in her presence. However the most sumptuous role was bagged by none other than brilliant Saif Ali Khan. He is the fulcrum for the whole movie and he is one who raises the bar of quality for many others around him. One could essentially feel the frustration and resentment in Saif's depiction. The way he hatches the plot and then makes his wicked moves one by one develops the much needed interest for the viewer. He is very slow to start with by staying in shadows of Devgan but then came the string of frames where he outclassed the former.
Omkara should well be appreciated for its technical brilliance. With bulk of shooting at Wai and Lonavala in Maharashtra, it would have been a real big challenge to structure an authentic North Indian village. The cinematography was sheer pleasure and many shots were so aesthetic that it felt like watching mesmeric work of art in motion. The frames were large and the theme of boisterous merrymaking was captured with meticulous vividness. The script is just right and director do not waste any reels on explaining irrelevant details. Though large hearted shower of local offensive words can get jarring for some audience. Music did not have much to do in this tight screenplay and the director could have done better without couple of songs. Although "Jag Ja Ri Gudia" composition sung by Suresh Wadkar is a pure melody and the veteran made his presence felt in crop of new singers. The song has special relevance with the storyline and thus goes along well.
All accolades to the director for feasting us on an outstanding cinema. He is a showcase of the new genre of Indian film makers and he has all his fundamentals in the right place. The movie leaves us with heavy thoughts and a lot to ponder in the end. It could have been very easy for anyone to go awry with such a radiant cast line but Vishal not only develops the individual characters skillfully but also creates the magic of making Raw look Gorgeous