Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Here I am!

I know, I've neglected my blog shamefully in recent times. In my defense - I haven't been well for a couple of weeks now. I would never willingly neglect my blog.

I finally dragged mom and the Guy down to watch Omkara yesterday. And then wished I hadn't. I mean, we spent around 400 bucks on the tickets (not to speak of auto-fare), and I think so carefully before buying a top priced at 400! As we walked out of the movie, I solemnly resolved not to watch another movie a)for six months, b)until I can watch it without thinking about the ticket price, whichever is earlier.

I know, I know. You watched Omkara, probably loved it. Everyone seems to have - even critics are raving about it. And I have been waiting for the damn movie for almost a year, since it was first announced that Vishal Bharadwaj was making a version of Othello. That's why I feel let down.

I had watched Makdee and loved it. Maqbool was mind-blowing. I just sat there, experiencing it all, trying not to miss all the nuances, and getting completely bowled away by the subtle power of it all. I remember feeling, "This is art. Shakespeare would have liked it."

Well, I didn't expect quite as much from Omkara. For one, it had too many stars and not enough actors. The presence of Kareena Kapoor in itself was enough to tone down my expectations. And much as I like Ajay Devgan, he is just too much of a star - unlike Irrfan, who comes across as earthy and human (albeit sexy).
Yet, it being Vishal Bharadwaj, I still had hopes. All the praise, however, did make me wonder. After all, not everyone had liked Maqbool. In fact, no one seemed to have liked it as much as I had.

Well, my worst fears proved right. From the beginning, there was more drama than emotion, more hype than depth, more make-up than realism. Even poor Naseeruddin Shah was hardly recognisable under his costume. So it's no wonder no one else really stands out. I had had high hopes from Saif's Iago. But in the end, somehow, none of it convinces. Saif limps with varying severity at different points in the movie. He looks evil (perhaps too evil and strong for Iago, whom I'd always envisaged as looking insignificant - which is why he often gets ignored, hence his pent-up resentment), but his motives, his jealousy, never come across strongly enough. Omkara himself has none of the intensity, the strength, the childish simplicity (stupidity?), and the blind passion of Othello. He seems more like a petty husband, careful of appearances and his wife's loyalty. Desdemona - I couldn't find any. There was no Dolly, just a Kareena (Karriena?) Kapoor without make-up. Konkona Sensharma was the only real character - but how much can she carry on her shoulders? Viveik Oberoi's Kesu had none of the charm that might make an Omkara jealous.

I did like the photography, though. The stark landscape even had an air of romance... If only the characters in the foreground had been more real, the background might have been more haunting.

Oh well, I won't go on. But I've had three disappointments in recent times - Corporate (yuck!), Pirates of the Carribbean - Dead Man's Chest (definitely not a patch on the first one), and now Omkara. I should stay home and watch TV than spend money on the movie and then feel like wanting to teach the director his job.

No comments: