27 July 2006 | akshat
The resurgence of quality cinema...and how! Watch it for Saif!
It seems that Bollywood is coming of age. To tackle something like Shakespeare...is no mean feat and in Hindi...wow! Being a bit of a literati, I went into the movie hall, well armed with 'Othello' knowledge, ready to slam the film, however I was the one totally slammed.
Vishal Bharadwaj has done the unthinkable, like a druid has he imbibed the soul of the quixotic 'Othello:The Moor of Venice' into the heartland of rustic India. The process is almost like a heart transplant...a highly successful one nevertheless as 'Omkara' seems to throb with a restless energy that overwhelms the viewer. The nuances are subtle and therefore impactful. The dialogues are first-rate and the songs brim with bucolic poetry. 'O Saathi re' is one track that feels as refreshing as the country air. Performance-wise, Ajay Devgan as Omkara has outdone himself, Kareena Kapoor gives a kindred performance, her innocence is truly touching. Konkana Sen-Sharma is wan, like Emilia of the original and hence one enjoys watching her. Viveik Oberoi succeeds clearly because he's more sub-dued and not cantankerous (ref.Pyare Mohan). But it is Saif Ali Khan who packs a punch as Iago. Personally, my favorite Shakespearan antagonist is Iago and I'd have been devastated if hi character had been miscast. But while Saif's portrayal makes you cringe,(thanks to his rather realistic vileness); he also succeeds in making you feel contrite for the angst he exudes. All in all, the entire crew of the film deserves a pat on their back, because the more cultured can easily pick out and savour the multifarious thematic connotations of the film, the masses themselves will not feel alienated. This is Vishal Bharadwaj's true ingenuity.