Omkara is an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello and explores the darkness of the complicated human mind. Like two sides of a coin, every person has two faces, good and evil. This movie depicts the evil side of human nature beautifully and is an exquisite blend of realistic cinema as well as mainstream cinema which makes it popular with audiences interested in both genres. Omkara released in 2006 and is directed by the the extremely talented Vishal Bhardwaj. The major cast includes Ajay Devgan, Kareena Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan and Vivek Oberoi. The movie also stars other actors like Konkona Sen Sharma, Naseeruddin Shah and Bipasha Basu. Vishal Bhardwaj earlier came up with popular masterpieces like Maqbool, Makdee and The Blue Umbrella.
The movie showcases Omkara Shukla or Omi (Ajay Devgan) as the leader of a gang of criminals engaged in political crimes. The main people among the members of his group are Ishwar ‘Langda’ Tyagi (Saif Ali Khan) and the active Keshav Upadhyay or Kesu (Vivek Oberoi). The complete gang works for a politician named Bhaisahab (Nasseruddin Shah). Kareena Kapoor portrays the character of Dolly Mishra, Omi’s love interest. The other important characters are depicted by Konkana Sen Sharma (Langda Tyagi’s wife) and Bipasha Basu (a dancer).
The peace of the area disrupts when Omi appoints Kesu as his right hand instead of Langda. This acts as a turning point for the story, when strong emotions of envy and jealousy get a hold of Langda. He tries to allegedly connect Dolly Mishra in an affair with Kesu in Omi’s eyes by manipulating instances. For this, he uses his evil brain and a series of lies by creating a web around the other characters, pulling and playing with their emotions ruthlessly. The director has used a piece of jewellery called ‘Kamarbandh’ convincingly in the second half of the movie. This prop moves from one person to another and in the end and proves Dolly’s disloyality to Omkara.
Personal Opinion, Appreciation and Criticism
Omkara is an entirely different piece of work, it is not a normal chick flick, neither a romantic comedy. It is a realistic movie, with the characters touching the strings of your heart, you will feel their pain, their emotions and you will relate with the same darkness in yourself also at some thrilling moments in the movie. This is an extremely rare and daring attempt by Vishal Bhardwaj, as Omkara has created its own set of rules. It doesn’t follow any conventional Bollywood trends.
Talking in terms of the performances, Omkara is a great deal heavier with all the actors delivering their best performances till date. But the major captivating area is the extravagant treatment that the director has provided to the movie, the creative manner in which he has molded the original author’s tragedy into an Indian epic full of emotions.
The movie highlights a huge star cast which automatically captures the attention of major audiences. Vishal Bhardwaj’s previous works had already set a level of expectations from the movie which made it an eagerly awaited one. The script is impressively written with cinematic aptitude and the director has carried out the drama sequences and the climax with amazing technical brilliance.
With so many incidences happening in the second half, the movie becomes a bit chaotic and confusing for the viewer. With the abusive language used which was requisitely needed for the realistic effect, the movie becomes a ‘no-no’ for family audiences. Further, the entire movie uses basic UP dialect which is a bit stressful to understand for the audiences other than UP and Bihar. The melodramatic twists and turns in the movie can make the movie little monotonous for the viewers.
Some Remarkable Sequences
1) The entire sequence when ‘O Saathi Re’ is picturised. The beauty of the sequence is that it is shot without any retake. It is a crane shot with brilliant performances from both the actors and the mesmerizing effect of the song makes it different.
2) The last sequence picturising Kareena and Ajay with ‘ Jag Ja’ as the background score. This scene will surely leave the audience shocked and impressed.
3) Vishal Bhardwaj has beautifully portrayed the love making scene of Ajay Devgan and Kareena Kapoor. It will not make the audience uncomfortable, infact it is delivered like a portrait of emotions flowing like a river with no boundaries.
Tasadduq Hussain is the new cinematographer, who has debuted with this movie. He has done an undeniably impressive job. The movie has a specific, different and eye soothing sand like colour that makes it a fresh new experience for the audiences.
Ajay Devgan has done brilliant work as Omkara, he has like fluid dissolved in the nerves of the character. With Saif Ali Khan doing this kind of a role for the first time, he has delivered his finest performance till date, he is incomparable in the movie. His look, his hairstyle, his language, everything is just apt for the character. Talking about Kareena Kapoor, she took control this time and has finally done remarkably well in the movie. Vishal Bhardwaj got the true talent out of her and she looked truly beautiful. Vivek Oberoi had a limited space, but he did justice to his character. Bipasha was good, she managed well with the energetic item numbers. Konkona Sen Sharma comes as a surprise for the audiences, she has acted naturally with so much spontaneity. As always, this time also she proved her versatality for different roles.
The music forms the backbone of the movie and each and every song serves as background explanation of the happenings in the movie. Omkara’s music is composed by the director himself and is a masterpiece. With exceptional singers like Rekha Bhardwaj, Sukhwinder Singh, Shreya Ghoshal, Vishal Bhardwaj, Sunidhi Chauhan, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Suresh Wadekar, the music is a piece of pure melody, a tonic to ears. The background score serves as a catalyst with incomparable lyrics by Gulzar himself.
The movie talks about the impact of jealousy on a person’s mind, it has explored the darker side of love. How these emotions can ruin the happiness and peace of mind. How devastating these emotions can be and what level of destruction these can cause. It teaches the importance of faith and belief in a relationship. On the whole, the story is very cruel, dark and disruptive, but the way it is picturised by the director, it will win you over.