28 April 2010: Omkara



VENUE: Gallop cafe bar, 198 Deptford High Street

Vishal Bharadwaj’s multi-award-winning Hindi film adaptation of Othello transplants the action of Shakespeare’s original to the badlands of Uttar Padesh in northern India, where Omkara is the gangster leader for Naseeruddin Shah’s corrupt politician.

Bollywood megastars Ajay Devgan, Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor are cast against type in this gritty, measured and visually seductive motion picture.

The film got rave reviews internationally and surprised Indian audiences with its filthy language and dark plotline. Bipasha Basu’s item number ‘Beedi’ is gloriously coarse, and the single-take ‘O Saathi Re’ is a masterwork of conflicting emotions.

NB. This film is two and a half hours long. We will start at 7.30pm sharp and have a short interval halfway through – just like in proper Indian cinemas.

The adaptation is ingenious. THE GUARDIAN

Go watch Omkara. Vishal Bharadwaj’s eye for composition and detailing is outstanding, I loved the salty dialect and this was the best ensemble acting I’ve seen in a long time: a nod in particular to Saif Ali Khan’s Iago/Langda Tyagi. JABBERWOCK

[In this adaptation of Othello] … the real transformation is on the inside, in the way Shakespeare’s Venice becomes our Hindi heartland. It’s in the way the elegant ladies become earthy laundiyas who cheerfully declare that the key to a man’s heart isn’t his stomach but a part more southwards. It’s in the lived-in feel of the film, where a character we’ve been introduced to is hanging out clothes to dry, when two houses behind hers, there’s an unidentified mother combing her daughter’s hair. And it’s in the language, the glorious language. The dialect may put off some viewers, but how liberating it is to hear Hindi that sounds like it came off the soil and not some screenwriter’s pen. BARADWAJ RANGAN