"Maqbool" isn't an attempt to simply retell the story of "Macbeth" but to rediscover it in our time and condition.
Set in the mafia world of Mumbai, "Maqbool" is the story of a man (Irrfan Khan) by the same name who is the right hand man of mafia don Abbaji (Pankaj Kapoor).
Nimmi (Tabu) is Abbaji's mistress who hates her situation and sees Maqbool as her only ray of hope.
Abbaji is the lord who presides over the chorus of associates that include Kaka (Piyush Mishra), Guddu, Boti and others. "Maqbool" is his trusted lieutenant and an able war horse. "Maqbool" unconditionally worships Abbaji till his ambition is tickled and an element of jealousy fomented by Nimmi creeps in.
The central act of crime is the murder of Abbaji. As in "Macbeth", this is the symbolic disruption of peace in the universe of the narrative. Nothing remains the same thereafter. The perpetrators of this crime isolate themselves from their inner humanity. The equilibrium is broken, internally as well as externally.
Murder follows murder, every act of blood is driven by fear of the horrible disharmony existent between Maqbool and his world. He is trafficking with things of nightmarish fantasy.
Nimmi's guilt assumes a life of its own, in the form of the baby in her womb. Her womanhood succumbs to the enormity of the crime she instigated.
Two corrupt policemen, played by Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri, who are a part of Abbaji's world, keep making correct predictions.
All along the major themes of the narrative runs the unusual love story of Maqbool and Nimmi. They are two strong personalities who bond in their desire to change things for themselves. Beneath the deceit and cruelty there is a lyrical core.
Nimmi yearns for the majestic manhood that Maqbool possesses and for him she is like a shadow of illicit love playing a carnal game.
"Maqbool" interprets "Macbeth" in the most unlikely of settings. An attempt as ambitious as this is a challenge even for the most accomplished of craftsmen. But "Maqbool" manages to humanise "Macbeth".
"Maqbool" simply tells a tale where a complex interplay of human emotions results in a grave crisis.
The characters in "Maqbool" are essayed by some of the finest actors in Indian cinema. Prior to the commencement of shooting, Shah, a theatre veteran, undertook a special workshop with all the actors.
"Maqbool" is directed by Vishal Bharadwaj who has also co-scripted the film along with Abbas Tyrewala and composed its music. The lyrics of "Maqbool" songs have been written by Gulzar.
Kaleidoscope Entertainment produces the film in association with Vishal Bharadwaj Pictures. The film will be released Friday.