Omkara is Vijay Bharadwaj’s adaptation of Othello set in contemporary Uttar Pradesh. He has stuck diligently to the tragic undertones of the original drama even if it meant a huge departure from the usual bollywood fare. It seems there does exist a market for hindi films other than the usual – overseas that is :-). The promotional material associated with the movie is totally geared towards those in the US and the UK (here is the list of US theatre’s playing Omkara).

I am now officially looking to Saif Ali Khan as one of the best actors of the current genre. Of the frontline crew (Ajay Devgan – Omkara, Vivek Oberoi – Kesu, Saif – Langda Tyagi, Kareen K. – Dolly, Konkona Sen) Saif convinced me that he is an absolute bad-ass UP gunda. With his suede boots, worn-out rifle, and perfect UP-hindi, Langda Tyagi was fearsome and effective! I actually listened with anticipation when Saif spoke Tyagi’s mind. It is unbelieveable that Saif discovered inside himself the bronzed character that is Othello’s Iago.

(Spoiler alert) Act 1, Scene 1 belongs to Tyagi. Tyagi is chatting with Rajju on top of a small hillock. He is shown to have halted Rajju’s baraat. Omkara intends to thwart Rajju’s wedding by robbing him of his bride to be, Omkara’s heart-throb Dolly. Tyagi is given the job of making sure the groom does not make it. Rajju can’t believe Tyagi’s mission, laughs it off “chal jhutta”. After all Tyagi and Rajju are very close friends. In a spine-chilling response, Tyagi picks up his rifle and takes aim. He says in a raspy, low, half-joking manner Mai jhutta to kute ka jannaaur saccha to teri ma ki khasam…” and then fires into Rajju’s biraadri.

The emerging alternative genre of hindi films is thoroughly enjoyable. Who wants to watch Jennifer Aniston in “break up” ;-), or Shah Rukh and Abhishek B. in “Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna” when I can watch an incredibly rich, surreal world re-enacted on celluloid just for me (us :-)). Of course the multiplex guys here (in Pune) hate the same – just the other day a manager of a local multiplex ranted that the newer movies weren’t pulling in the crowds. Hence the emphasis on the overseas market, I guess.

Other movies in Hindi worth watching from this year,

  • Hazaaron Khwaishein aisi,
  • Rang De Basanti, hope this list grows…