“I have no spur / to prick the sides of my intent, but only / vaulting ambition, which overleaps itself.”
-William Shakespeare, Macbeth I.7
[Warning: possible spoilers]
Given the rave reviews that Vishal Bharadwaj’s Omkara has been getting everywhere I look (see here and here and here) I can’t help adding my dissenting voice. Not that I disagree that Bharadwaj is an extremely promising director. But watching Omkara, I came away with the same impression I had watching Maqbool – I wish he’d leave Shakespeare alone. One admires his ambition, but one can’t help feeling that he’s overleaping himself a little.
First the good bits. Omkara features some seriously good acting. Konkona Sen Sharma’s justly acclaimed performance as a down to earth village wife has to be seen to be believed, and Saif Ali Khan is astonishingly good – projecting an uncouthness and a sense of barely suppressed violence that one didn’t think he was capable of. The other performances don’t come close, frankly, but they succeed because the actors are well cast. Ajay Devgan broods and looks intense (which, let’s face it, is all that he can do) but it works because he’s Othello . Kareena Kapoor giggles and simpers and gets all silly and tearful, but this makes for a surprisingly convincing Desdemona. And Vivek Oberoi already has enough practise playing the loyal second in command expelled from his master’s good graces from his Company days to play the honourable Cassio with aplomb. (more…)