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Directed by Vishal Bhardwaj

India 2006 155 mins. In Hindi

One of three Shakespearean “Bollywood” adaptations by director Vishal Bhardwaj, this take on Othello seamlessly transposes the play from Elizabethan Venice to the gangster-ruled badlands of Western Uttar Pradesh. When half-caste political enforcer Omkara (Ajay Devgan) absconds with the daughter of a local lawyer, her father warns him that “any daughter who can dupe her own father will never be anyone’s to claim.” With these ominous words, the stage is set for Omkara’s jealous lieutenant Langda to sow seeds of discord, suspicion, and envy between Omkara, his new bride Dolly, and his loyal deputy Kesu. The film’s true standout is Saif Ali Khan—an actor typecast for years in light romantic comedies as the “likable best friend”—who embodies his role as the duplicitous Langda with a palpable undercurrent of unhinged menace. “Not only does [Bhardwaj] skillfully capture the netherworld of the human psyche—those ambiguous grey areas of conventional morality—which formed the playground for Shakespearean drama, he manages to lift the bar of Indian cinema with his unique adaptation.”—Times of India. In Hindi with English subtitles.



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