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Home :: Archive :: 2003 :: July ::
Saptapadi (Othello Scene) Online
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1401  Tuesday, 8 July 2003

From:           Richard Burt <
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Date:           Tuesday, 08 Jul 2003 07:59:00 -0400
Subject:        Saptapadi (Othello Scene) Online

The 1961 Indian (Bengali) b&w film Saptapadi (dir. Ajoy Kar), with part
of a scene from Othello, may be viewed online for free at You need
realplayer to view it.

Saptapadi, an art film / melodrama, is in Hindi and the online version
has no subtitles. But the excerpted scene from Othello (from the last
Act) is in the English original as well as a number of songs in English.

The Othello scene begins around 49 minutes into the film and ends about
56; it starts with "It is the cause" and ends with Othello's final
speech. Most of Desdemona's lines are cut, and Othello is very much the
center. (All other characters are cut.) The Indian actor playing
Othello, Uttam Kumar, appears in blackface (we see him doing his make-up
backstage in his dressing room), and the Indian actress, Suchitra Sen,
is apparently in whiteface. (Senwas a huge film star who became famous
after playing Paro in the 1955 Devdas (dir. Bimal Roy). Devdas has been
compared in India to Hamlet.)

Othello's voice is dubbed by Utpal Dutt (known to Shakespeareans mostly
for his performance in Shakespeare Wallah; but Dutt also wrote a book on
Shakespeare (it has not been translated) still in print and did a lot of
Shakespeare on stage; Dutt mentions Hamlet and Shakespeare in Ray's
final fim, The Stranger).

Though the performance of part of Othello in Saptapadi takes place in a
theater, the sequence is shot like a film and is almost a shot-for-shot
match of Welles' 1952 Othello. The wind on the soundtrack is also
similar to the wind in Welles' film.

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