In the brutal heartland of Uttar Pradesh lives a Shakespearean anti-hero called OMKARA. He's the ?desi? re-incarnation of Shakespeare's OTHELLO. And he's everything that Shakespeare couldn't make him? not his fault, really. When the immortal playwright wrote his best-known tragedy he had no idea of the graver tragedy that awaited India's political heartland.
Delving deep into the bowels of North-Indian politics Vishal comes up with a gallery of virile characters who jump out of their literary antecedents and do a dance of crime-driven dynamics on the nozzle of their country-made guns.
OMKARA looks, feels and smells authentic. When gang-wars break out on the rusty roads of a small town in UP among OMKARA, his mentor Bhaisaab (Naseeruddin Shah) and OMKARA's two favourite disciples Kesu (Viveik Oberoi) and Langda Tyagi (Saif Ali Khan) and their opponents, you're no longer watching the characters, you're looking at a world where Shakespeare must sound like a spear that shakes.
Besides the fact that he has cast superstars as characters, Vishal Bhardwaj's biggest achievement is the irony that underlines the murky goings-on in the hellish political cauldron of the cow-belt: these are boorish guys driven by a literary background of which they are clueless.
Shakespeare is as alien to Vishal's characters as a creative compromise would be to this bludgeoning filmmaker. Vishal hits you hard and long with his political parable. The most interesting exchanges among the characters are the ones that describe the dynamics of gender and politics in a world where laws are made to be broken.
Into this anarchic wilderness, a tender love story creeps in. OMKARA's uncharacteristic lapse into tenderness when he meets the fragile Dolly (Kareena Kapoor) is a subtle sly Desdemonian touch that makes us want to crave for much more.
Vishal delivers. This is a film, which is as picturesque as it's sensuous. If the scenes of gang-war are in-your-face, the love scenes don't flinch away from the truth about these carnal creatures of the night who love and hate in equal measures.