No “motiveless malignity” here

Coleridge’s phrase does not apply to the Iago figure in Omkara; he has his reasons. The plot of this movie parallels that of Othello without copying it. For instance, an heirloom jeweled belt is the handkerchief of the play. I’ve seen the play performed badly several times, I’ve seen the movie in which Laurence Olivier was Othello with his greasepaint practically dripping from his face, and I’ve attended a half-dozen productions of Verdi’s Otello. Omkara is a very interesting addition to these realizations. This version is set in a political milieu and Omkara / Othello is a paramilitary or security operative for a politician. Cassio / Kesu is an immature and naive leader of the student faction of the political party. Despite the fact that this is a tragedy, there are occasions for singing and dancing, and this movie makes the most of them. Kareena Kapoor is as wonderful here as she was in Chup Chup Ke. The two male leads are compelling. Although there is “action,” this is not an action movie. The end is known. We were a party of two at this movie and each was afraid that the other was not enjoying it. Both of us did, but this movie isn’t for everyone. It is beautiful to behold. It does, however, take its time to set the mood and deepen it. This is quite a good brief summary. Omkara is playing at the AMC Barton Creek Square. I hope that this promoter keeps bringing Indian movies to Austin.

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