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Home :: Archive :: 2011 :: August ::
Bollywood Shakespeares

The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 22.0189  Friday, 5 August 2011

From:         Hardy M. Cook < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it >
Date:         Friday, August 5, 11
Subject:     Bollywood Shakespeares

Last week, I gave a ride to a graduate student from India who upon learning I was a Shakespearean recommended two Bollywood adaptation of Shakespeare to me: Maqbool (Macbeth) and Omkara (Othello). I ordered them and they have just arrived. The following summaries are from the Internet Movie Database.


Maqbool (2003)
Director: Vishal Bhardwaj

Macbeth meets the Godfather in present-day Bombay. The Scottish tragedy set in the contemporary underworld of India's commercial capital; two corrupt, fortune telling policemen take the roles of the weird sisters, and "Duncan" is Abbaji, the head of a crime family. Abbaji's mistress and Maqbool plot and carry out his death; the sea plays the role of Birnham wood. Written by James McLeod

Jahangir Khan, called "Abbaji" as a title of respect, is a powerful and influential Mumbai (the Indian name for Bombay)-based gangster involved in several criminal activities. Through the cooperation of two prophesying policemen (and through them, connections to national politicians), he has never been arrested, and carries on, knowing that money and bribes will assist him throughout his life. Things turn ugly when his mistress, Nimmi, starts to have an affair with one of his men, Maqbool, who has aspirations of succeeding Abbaji one day. Things come to a boil, Maqbool kills Abbaji, and his dreams come true when he takes over as the new underworld leader, without realizing that he, too, has become a target of another faction of Abbaji's men. Written by rAjOo ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

Jahangir Khan/Abbaji (Pankaj Kapoor) is the aging leader of a criminal gang. Nimmi (Tabu) is his mistress. Members of the gang include Maqbool (Irfan Khan), Kaka (Piyush Mishra) and his son Guddu (Ajay Gehi), and 2 cops Pandit and Purohit (Puri and Shah respectively). Maqbool and Nimmi love each other, but since Maqbool will not defy Abbaji openly, their affair is kept secret. Nimmi wishes to leave Abbaji and live with Maqbool, but realizes the futility of it while Abbaji is alive. So, she slowly but surely begins to put ideas in Maqbool's head . . . Written by Amodini (http://hindimoviereviews.blogspot.com)


Omkara (2006)
Directed by Vishal Bhardwaj

Advocate Raghunath Mishra has arranged the marriage of his daughter, Dolly, with Rajan, knowing fully well that Dolly loves Omkara Shukla. Before the marriage could take place, the groom's party is attacked, they flee, and Dolly is reportedly abducted. Raghunath is able to trace Dolly to Omkara, a criminal and hit-man, a verbal confrontation ensues until Politician Bhaisaab telephonically intervenes, and a crestfallen Raghunath faces the reality that Dolly was not abducted but is here with Omkara by her own free will. He warns Omkara, and departs. Shortly thereafter, Bhaisaab is shot at and wounded, announces that Omkara should stand in the next election, and as a result, Omkara appoints one of his lieutenants', Keshav Upadhyay in his place as the 'Bahubali". Omkara realizes that he may have blundered in having Keshav succeed him, as Keshav is unable to control his temper when under the influence of alcohol, which puts him in the bad books of Omkara. Then Omkara suspects that Keshav is having an affair with Dolly, as both had been fellow-collegians. With Omkara's marriage with Dolly getting close, he asks his other lieutenant, Ishwar Tyagi, to obtain proof of Keshav's affair with Dolly or face the consequences, as Omkara remembers Raghunath's warning that when a daughter is not true to her father, she will never be true to anyone. Watch what happens when Ishwar produces proof shortly after the marriage, and the impact this has on Dolly, Omkara, Keshav, Ishwar, and Ishwar's wife, Indu. Written by rAjOo ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

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