Friday, August 11, 2006

Bollywood Othello

When it comes to Bollywood (I will never call it Indian cinema. Hindi Cinema, may be, that too not today) I have learned to expect the least. Originality is expected only in terms costume designing. When films like “Kuch Kuch hota hai”, “Mohabbatein”, “Kabhi Khusi Kabhi Ghum”, “Kal Ho na ho” become successful despite their absolute inaneness, I am justified in expecting the least. Yes there have been movies like DCH, Swades, RDB, Being Cyrus, Ek haseena thi to name a few but there are still not enough of that kind. The recent string of “intelligent” movies has however given me hope.

I watched Omkaara yesterday and loved every bit of it. It was almost three hours long but not once did I feel like stirring from my seat except at the intermission. I have not read Othello (Not for the lack of trying but Shakespeare is just not very easy for me) and don't know how many liberties has the director Vishal Bharadwaj, taken. Frankly I don't care. For this Othello adaptation delivers in every department. The cinematography is captivating in spite of the absolute barren locations the movie has been shot in. Music is really good. The title song is already a hit, so is the Bipasha number "beedi". But the other songs are worth listening too. My favourites are “jag jaa ri gudiya”, “naina thag lenge” and the other item song “namak.” The lyrics of “jag jaa ri” is beautiful. The romantic number "O saathi re” is also pleasant. Gulzar rocks :-). The songs don't really come in the way of the narration.

What can I say about the cast - Somewhere I read that Ajay Devgan is adequate as Omkaara. It is true he is not spectacular but I can’t see anyone else doing that role. He looks every bit the hardcore hitman, the love infected man and at the end a very convincing betrayed man. Nasiruddeen Shah ‘s character doesn’t have great scenes and with what he has he is good. He really can’t go wrong. Vivek Oberoi (or however the hell he spells his name these days) doesn’t impress. He has not impressed since his fantastic debut in “Company.” Konkana Sen Sharma is so comfortable in her role, it is beautiful to watch her perform. It is especially interesting how she utters hard-hitting Hindi expletives without any awkwardness :-) I am glad to see her in a “commercial” cinema as opposed to “off-beat.” Bipasha Basu seems to be a shade better than in her previous films (My memory is from her debut film Ajnabee) She might get a filmfare award sooner than John Abraham for acting. Vishal Bharadwaj needs to be applauded for showing Kareena Kapoor as tolerable person. She actually managed to get my sympathies at times.

The highlight of the film is of course Saif Ali Khan. The movie opens with him. If he managed to get a national award for his role in Hum Tum (???!!!) he should get an Oscar by that standard for this. He is simply brilliant. It is refreshing to see a hero ready to change his “image” for a role. Saif actually limps through the film and has yellowed teeth. He is very convincing as “Langda Tyagi.” I read somewhere that his mom convinced him to do this role. It is a good thing to be a mamma’s boy sometimes isn’t it?

I had only one problem though - the entire movie is in a dialect of UP which was very hard to follow, many dialogues were lost on me.

That just takes the score to 99 on 100 :-)
PS: BTW I am convinced the new movie "Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna" realeasing today will be in the list of inane films. It will still be a hit for it has great costumes designed by Manish Malhotra you see.
Update: KANK is pathetic, just as I expected but people still want to watch it. Mostly to see how pathetic can the Karan Johar, SRK, Bacchans (who btw have been appreciated for their acting) Preity Zinta (some one tell her, screaming is not acting) and Rani (pl. stop acting in Johar films) great costume drama set in NY can get :-)))))))))))

1 comment:

VIvek said...

Don't remember recommending a Hindi movie to someone as strongly as i have recommended Omkara. It was very heartening to know that the legacy of good film makers (following Shyam Benegal, Mira Nair etc.) will be kept alive in Hindi cinema. There's hope for Hindi cinema.