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Sunday, July 30, 2006 / Ishan

Omkara: Saif, Bharadwaj Brings Excellence to India

Traditionally in Bollywood you narrate fantasy and try to make it an art form, thankfully it doesn’t work. Real life is harsh, as a nation we are in the first phase of seeing reality taking art form on screen. It used to happen before but sadly those movies used to get buried under the tag of “art movie”. I think as a culture we tend to have a strong disdain for reality and we love flirting with surrealism of lowest standards.

Omkara would be a cult classic, like Maqbool, its for peoplewho like to see smart cinema, yes cinema as in international cinema and not fillums. I don’t think Othello is a subject that will go down well with “junta” they like singing, dancing, crying. Omkara has singing, dancing and crying, but it is similar to things in our lives. We don’tlike it, we like entertainment through escapism, surrealism and at times sadomaschoism. Thats Us, Indias, we are like this. It’s not good, it’s not bad. After weeks Omkara may not become a succesful product, Omkara would be a succesful Cinema.

The movie is a stand out from a technical point of view, you can count the flaws on two fingers which is exceptional for Bollywood.The creative team has achieved a new high, so congratulations to them.The movie fits well in the location, it has an authentic feel and associates nicely witht he play.The rustic and rough feel of the movie nicely captures the ambience, never for a moment things get too comfortable and I guess if you’re surrounded by political mafias there can never be a real sense of ease about any thing.

I think acting from Ajay Devgan was a bit disappointing. I am not critising him maybe I was expecting too much, but sadly for me, he couldn’t deliver anything new. You could always see shades of his character from Yuva and Apaharan. I kept wondering isn’t Omi the same guy? I mean same stare, same approach, even the same way looks into the eyes of his lover. Strange. But overall I think in context of the story he has done a wonderful job. He’s been solid and that does it for the movie so you cant be critical of him. Kareena Kapoor has been made to look really good, thanks to director. It’s good to see she is improving. Konkona Sen, she is a beautiful actor a geunine talent. Sadly she was a bit wasted in a limited screen time but had emphatic presence. Vivek Oberoi, sadly he lost out. He did his usual boy-next-door-charm but you never felt for his character. He looked more idiotic than brave and loyal, not for a moment you could sympathize with him while he was being victimised. Vishal hid him very well in the script. Naseer Sab was good. He is too big now for such roles and he managed to give credibility to this character.

The soul of the movie is Saif Ali Khan. I think since DilChahta Hai he’s shown that he is one Indian actor who is ready to imply world standards to his approach and methods. His work ethics have been fantastic. I respect him for that. Personally I think Langda Tyagi is the most inspired performance since Paresh Rawal’s Sardar. In between I can’t think of any actor getting in the soul of a character like this. He did in this movie what Pankaj Kapoor did in Maqbool with Abba Ji, which is to re-invent how a character is portrayed, it can only be achieved by legends. Langda is a bit of Jack Sparrow and Bill the Butcher at the same time, which means quality. The best thing was, for the entire movie Saif killed himself to become Langda. When he called SMS “assum kar dena” in Car with Omi that sealed it for him.

It wasn’t an easy task following Maqbool. Vishal has done an absolutely incredible job in stretching his high standards. He is a certified genius now, a rare breed, a original of the species. His stroy telling, dialogues, the whole presentation was flawless. I am sure those who are not familiar with Othello will have a different view. But I don’t see how could have Othello be re-worked better as a movie. It’s a tragedy so the end was glum and depressing. I am impressed and awed by Vishal Bharadwaj’s work. He stuck to his beliefs and made a movie that he wanted to make never bothering about crowd, money or critics. It rarely happens in Bollywood. Kumar Mangat should also be thanked for encouraging him and giving him his space. Right now Vishal Bharadwaj is the best, much better than Pretentious Leela Bhansali. Take a bow for giving a Classic of International Standards. Blogged with Flock

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