Dhum dhum dhadam dhadiya re, sabse bada ladaiya re Omkara, hoooo Omkara!!!
The first of what I heard about the film apart from this caller tone on my eager friend’s phone was the fact that a journalist went to watch the film post which he reported the number of times profanities were used in the film and that simply broke my heart. Its thanks to that journalist that tonight I am forced to keep up post midnight after watching the film in order to jot this down and mail it to him tomorrow.
Has Mr. Journalist-Man never called anyone C****** or Bewakoof? I somehow find it hard to believe. All right, lets say he has not. Has he never come across anyone from U.P. or Bihar or any of those other uber cool Indian states?
Well, I take any sort of skepticism about any film worthy of appreciation as personal insult, which is why I am taking this opportunity to vindicate Omkara. Anyone who has problem digesting profanities … Do not Watch the film - simple!
Filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj’s third attempt at adaptations and a rather beautiful one Omkara exceeded each person’s expectations who loves Shakespeare and Othello. Why? Because the news that Othello was going to be adapted into a Bollywood film had an anacathartic effect on all Othello fans, Bhardwaj or no Bhardwaj. Yet, the film managed to win their hearts. Each character in the film shares the same alphabet or sound in their first name as in the original Shakespeare classic. Omkara is Othello; Dolly is Desdemona; Langda is Iago; Keshu is Cassio; Indu is Emilia; Raju is Roderigo and Billo is Bianca. Bravo!
Jokes apart. The director has achieved such ingenuity in terms of performances from the actors, Saif Ali Khan being the prime example here. Langda/ Iago/ Saif in Omkara becomes larger than life, larger than all others. His roguish persona is overwhelming so much so that the monotonic Omakara/ Othello/ Ajay D. seems like an amateur in some scenes. Omkara’s/ Ajay D.’s only claim to fame in the film is his quietude, which brings him in tune with his character sporadically – not that Othello is meant to be an extremely quite sort of character but Omkara’s quietude brings him in semblance with Othello’s strength of character. The other actors do not come even close. Indu/ Konkana, is the only other who leaves an aftertaste.
A story of the ‘Baahubali’ – Right hand man/enforcer of a political party who has a gang of his own which includes Saif Ali/Langda and Vivek/Kesu along with several others. His tryst with love and politics. The twist in the story of this ‘Baahubali’ becoming a politician himself and picking his successor, making the mistake of picking Kesu over Langda and Langda’s idea of revenge that ends in the death of almost the whole lot of them. An impressive adaptation no doubt.
Despite discrepancies, despite diversions form the ideal adaptation the film holds as a cohesive whole. Two scenes from the film that haven’t left my head which means they were ‘really something’ are the exchange between Langda and Raju on the Bridge and the concluding scene of the film or rather scenes – the ones inside Omi’s bedroom and in the courtyard along with the short and sweet dying adieu’s of the characters. For those who cried watching the concluding scenes of this film I have no words but – May god be with you, you depressed souls. The opening is spicy and captivating enough and thus deserves a word or two.
The film’s USP might have been fellowship with Shakespeare’s timeless play but anyone remotely Indian will realize that there is something else which makes its hold on the mind – the film’s fellowship with reality. A spectacular image of rural Uttar Pradesh, the people, the politics, the positions within these politics, love and lust and all that jazz. The cinematography was remarkable, hats off to Taussaduq Hussain – if not for anything else then for making Indian audiences like moving pictures of such close proximity to reality. The film has succeeded in metamorphosing the ‘down market’ rural U.P into the ‘cool’ U.P. Not to forget what a nice chord the film has struck with anyone remotely Upiite.
All in all not the most heart rendering adaptation yet one not to be missed…