Omkara (film)

Omkara (film)

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Vishal Bhardwaj
Produced by Kumar Mangat Pathak
Screenplay by Vishal Bhardwaj
Robin Bhatt
Abhishek Chaubey
Story by Vishal Bhardwaj
Based on Othello by
William Shakespeare
Starring Ajay Devgan
Vivek Oberoi
Kareena Kapoor
Saif Ali Khan
Konkona Sen Sharma
Bipasha Basu
Naseeruddin Shah
Music by Vishal Bhardwaj
Cinematography Tassaduq Hussain
Editing by Meghna Manchanda Sen
Studio Shemaroo Entertainment
Distributed by Big Screen Entertainer
Eros Entertainment
Shemaroo Entertainment
Release date(s) 28 July 2006
Running time 155 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi
Budget $1.4 million

Omkara (Hindi: ॐकारा) is a 2006 Indian film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Othello, co-written and directed by Vishal Bhardwaj. It starred Ajay Devgan, Saif Ali Khan, and Kareena Kapoor in the lead roles, supported by Vivek Oberoi, Naseeruddin Shah, and Konkona Sen Sharma with a cameo role from Bipasha Basu. The director Vishal Bhardwaj himself composed the entire music for the film, including the background score, with lyrics by Gulzar.[1]

The film was showcased at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival along with a book on the making of Omkara.[2] It was also selected to be screened at the Cairo International Film Festival, where Bhardwaj was awarded for Best Artistic Contribution in Cinema of a Director. The film also won three awards at the Kara Film Festival,[3] an award at the Asian Festival of First Films, three National Film Awards, and seven Filmfare Awards.

It became part of a series of film interpretations of popular literary works by Bhardwaj, made after Maqbool (2003) based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Chatri Chor (English title: The Blue Umbrella) (2007) based on Ruskin Bond's The Blue Umbrella.



Omkara Shukla or Omi (Ajay Devgan) is a baahubali, a sort of political enforcer. He is the leader of a gang which carries out political crimes for the local politician Tiwari Bhaisaab (Naseeruddin Shah). Ishwar 'Langda' Tyagi (Saif Ali Khan) and Keshav 'Kesu Firangi' Upadhyay (Vivek Oberoi) are his closest lieutenants.

The movie starts with Langda Tyagi hijacking a baraat and sending Rajju (Deepak Dobriyal), the bridegroom to try and stop Omkara from abducting the bride, Dolly Mishra (Kareena Kapoor). Rajju fails and the wedding never takes place.

Dolly’s father Advocate Raghunath Mishra (Kamal Tiwari), mostly referred in the movie as vakeel saab (lawyer sir), is furious and confronts Omi. He puts a gun to Omi’s head and demands the return of his daughter. Bhaisaab intervenes and resolves the conflict by mentioning the current political conditions and prevents bloodshed. Still unconvinced, Raghunath grieves to Bhaisaab the next day. To bring a final solution to this issue, Dolly is made to appear in front of her father and clarify that she eloped with Omi rather than being abducted forcefully. She also tells the events of how she fell in love with Omkara. The father leaves feeling betrayed and ashamed.

After some crafty political arm-twisting, involving a MMS sex scandal, Omkara eliminates a powerful electoral rival. Bhaisaab is elected for parliament and Omkara is promoted from bahubali to the candidate for the upcoming state elections. Omkara appoints Kesu over Langda as his successor once he enters politics himself. Langda, disappointed with Omkara's poor judgment and jealous of Kesu, his younger, less-experienced, superior; hatches a plot to avenge both his offenders. He first causes a violent brawl between Kesu and Rajju by taking advantage of Kesu's low threshold for alcohol. Such irresponsible behaviour of Kesu infuriates Omi, who now starts having doubts over his decision.

On one hand, playing the role of a concerned friend, Langda convinces Kesu to appeal to Dolly, Omi's lover and bride-to-be to mollify Omi. On the other hand, he starts to disrepute Dolly by implicating Kesu's visits to ask Dolly for her help as meetings in an illicit love affair between the two. A kamarbandh carelessly dropped by Dolly and stolen by Langda’s wife Indu (Konkona Sen Sharma), which eventually reaches Billo Chamanbahar (Bipasha Basu) as a gift from Kesu, plays an important part in the plot, as evidence of Dolly’s infidelity.

During the climax, on the night of their wedding, Omi is convinced that Dolly and Kesu have been having an affair behind his back. In utter rage, he smothers his new wife to death. Langda shoots Kesu with a silent approval from Omi. Kesu is hit with a bullet on his arm. Hearing gunshots and in shock, Indu enters the room where Omi is sitting next to Dolly’s corpse in remorse. Indu notices the kamarbandh and mentions stealing it, they both understand the fatal misunderstanding and Langda as its root cause.

In retribution, Indu slashes Langda's throat and Omi commits suicide. The movie closes with Omi lying dead on the floor and Dolly’s dead body swinging above him, while Kesu looks on.

Cast and characters

Actor Character in the movie Character in the play
Ajay Devgan Omkara 'Omi' Shukla Othello
Kareena Kapoor Dolly Mishra Desdemona
Saif Ali Khan Ishwar 'Langda' Tyagi Iago
Vivek Oberoi Keshav 'Kesu Firangi' Upadhyaya Cassio
Bipasha Basu Billo Chamanbahar Bianca
Konkona Sen Sharma Indu Emilia
Deepak Dobriyal Rajan ’Rajju’ Tiwari Roderigo
Naseeruddin Shah Bhaisaab Duke of Venice

Character outlines

  • Omkara "Omi" Shukla — Omkara is a hardened goon, equivalent to a capo, a man with principles who sees life in extremes, either as good or evil. He is the illegitimate child of a higher caste Brahmin man and a lower caste woman.
  • Ishwar "Langda" Tyagi — Langda (which means limp) in Hindi is the catalyst in the story. He had been a loyal right-hand man to Omi for years and expected to be the next bahubali. Kesu’s promotion gives a crushing blow to his ambitions and brings out the evil in him. His jealousy and hatred towards his kin is further encouraged by chiding remarks from Rajju.
  • Dolly Mishra — Dolly is a playful, innocent, young woman, smitten by Omi. She is the one who expresses her love for him and lays the basis of their relationship. Throughout the narrative, other characters are shown to doubt her innocence, including her father. Omi finds her personality ambiguous, resulting in the tragic end.
  • Indu — Indu leads a bittersweet life as Langda Tyagi’s wife. She becomes an unwitting aid in her husband's plan.
  • Keshav "Kesu Firangi" Upadhyay — Kesu is Omi’s other deputy. His epithet comes from the fact that he is a foreigner. He is college-educated and urban, known to be somewhat of a casanova. He is important to Omi for his political contacts in the students. After admitting to having "known" a string of women, he falls in love with Billo and proposes marriage. He is shown to be impatient and easily frustrated with a low threshold for alcohol.
  • Billo Chamanbahar — Billo is a singer/dancer who melts hearts with just her looks. She sees Kesu as a future companion, though keeps him hanging on. She makes an easy tool for Langda to manipulate.
  • Bhaisaab — Bhaisaab is an influential and powerful politician that many characters defer to. He is an outwardly sophisticated man, with a ruthless interior. He is a politician to the bone and rules the region with an iron fist, picking up enemies as he progresses his career. He is a father figure for Omkara as well as the political head honcho.
  • Rajan "Rajju" Tiwari — Son of a respectable thekedar, he is head-over-heels in love with Dolly. He tries to win her affection throughout the movie.

Shooting Location

Omkara was shot over a period of 4 months across various locales, including Lonavala, Lucknow University, Allahabad, Satara Mahabaleshwar, Mumbai and Wai, Maharashtra, where bulk of the shooting took place. Even though most of the shooting took place in Maharashtra, sets were erected with precise details to create an authentic Uttar Pradesh village.


Members of the production team included stunt co-ordinator Jai Singh, costume designer Dolly Ahluwalia, choreographers Bhushan Lakhandri and Ganesh Acharya along with chief assistant director Ajit Ahuja.

The title of the film was decided by a popular vote. Moviegoers had a choice among Omkara, Issak and O Saathi Re, all of which had already appeared as the film's song titles.


Omkara had a fairly good performance at the box office in India and earned praises all over. The movie grossed $16,466,144 world wide in its total run at the box office. Even though the movie received rave reviews, the dark theme and strong language kept away family audiences.[4] It was, however, a grand success abroad. The film quickly entered the UK's Top Ten and did very well in Australia, South Africa and the United States. Omkara was praised for its taut script, brilliantly executed dramatic sequences and its lead performances. Kareena Kapoor's and Ajay Devgan's performance was considered to be the finest of their films. Saif Ali Khan drew the most praise for his villainous role as Langda Tyagi, along with Konkana Sen who eventually won a National Award for her performance.[5][6]


All the dialogues in the film are delivered in a strong input of the Khariboli dialect other than Hindi, including the use of swear words, generally absent from mainstream Hindi cinema. The movie received an A Certificate from the censor board of India. Critics and audiences were divided in their opinions about the foul language. Many believed that it was not required and would lead to distancing the movie from the family audience,[7] while on the other hand some applauded it for authentically showing the rustic setting of the story. The language and A certificate narrowed the audience but in turn brought accolades for the creators of the movie for valuing creativity over commercial success

"बेवक़ूफ़ और चूतिये में धागे भर का फरक होता हैगा भैया. धागे के इंगे बेवक़ूफ़ और उंगे चूतिया. और जो धागा हेंच लो, तो कोंड है बेवक़ूफ़ और कोंड है चूतिया ... करोड़ रुपे का प्रसन है भैया.ज़रा देक्खे तो सई दुल्हे राज्जा के हैं. ए-खेन! तू तो बेवक़ूफ़ हैगा ... चूतिया तो इंसान साददी के बाद होवे है!"

"A thin line (or thread) separates the fool from the f***er. On one side of the line lies the fool and on the other, the f***er. Upon snapping the line it's a million dollar question as to who's the fool and who's the f***er, my friend. Let's see the face of the pretty bridegroom now. Well, I'll be damned. Surely you are the fool, right? 'Coz a man becomes a f***er only after his wedding."

The exact same dialogues were repeated in the movie at different points in the screenplay by the same or different characters, acting like catchphrases.


Soundtrack album by Vishal Bhardwaj
8 July 2006 (2006-07-08)
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Length 36:16
Label Eros Music
Producer Hitesh Sonik, Clinton Cerejo
Vishal Bhardwaj chronology
The Blue Umbrella

The music is composed by Vishal Bhardwaj and the lyrics are penned by Gulzar. The music was released on 8 July 2006. The official soundtrack contains eight tracks. In January 2009, the track "Beedi" was used as the theme tune to a Brazilian TV soap opera called Caminho das Índias, produced by Rede Globo. On the back of this success, "Beedi" received considerable airplay on pop radio stations in Brazil becoming the first Hindi-only song to achieve this. The mini-series' soundtrack, which includes the track, went on to become one of the biggest selling albums of the year.

Track listing

No. Title Artist(s) Length
1 "Omkara" Sukhwinder Singh 5:22
2 "O Saathi Re" Shreya Ghoshal, Vishal Bhardwaj 5:30
3 "Beedi" Sunidhi Chauhan, Sukhwinder Singh, Nachiketa Chakraborty, Clinton Cerejo 5:05
4 "Jag Ja" Suresh Wadkar 4:29
5 "Namak" Rekha Bhardwaj, Rakesh Pandit 6:52
6 "Naina" Rahat Fateh Ali Khan 6:49
7 "Laakad" Rekha Bhardwaj 5:36
8 "The Tragedy of Omkara" Instrumental 1:35

Awards and nominations

The awards it won are highlighted in bold.

National Film Awards

Filmfare Awards

Star Screen Awards

  • Star Screen Award Best Film - Kumar Mangat
  • Star Screen Award Best Director - Vishal Bhardwaj
  • Star Screen Award Best Actor - Ajay Devgan
  • Star Screen Award Best Actress - Kareena Kapoor
  • Star Screen Award Best Supporting Actress - Konkona Sen Sharma
  • Star Screen Award Best Villain - Saif Ali Khan
  • Star Screen Award Best Music Director - Vishal Bhardwaj
  • Star Screen Award Best Lyricist- Gulzar (Beedi)
  • Star Screen Award Best Male Playback - Sukhwinder Singh (Omkara)
  • Star Screen Award Best Female Playback - Rekha Bhardwaj (Namak)
  • Star Screen Award Best Female Playback - Shreya Goshal (O Saathi Re)
  • Star Screen Award Best Female Playback - Sunidhi Chauhan (Beedi)
  • Star Screen Award Best Background Music - Vishal Bhardwaj
  • Star Screen Award Best Choreography - Ganesh Acharya (Beedi)
  • Star Screen Award Best Dialogue - Vishal Bhardwaj
  • Star Screen Award Best Sound - K.J. Singh/Shajith Koyeri/Subash Sahu
  • Star Screen Award Best Cinematographer - Tassaduq Hussain
  • Star Screen Award Best Art Direction - Samir Chanda

Zee Cine Awards

  • Zee Cine Award Best Film - Kumar Mangal
  • Zee Cine Award Best Director - Vishal Bhardwaj
  • Zee Cine Award Best Actor- Female - Kareena Kapoor
  • Zee Cine Award Best Actor in a Supporting Role- Female - Konkona Sen Sharma
  • Zee Cine Award Best Actor in a Negative Role - Saif Ali Khan
  • Zee Cine Award Best Track of the Year - Beedi
  • Zee Cine Award Best Music Director - Vishal Bhardwaj
  • Zee Cine Award Best Lyricist - Gulzar (Beedi)
  • Zee Cine Award Best Playback Singer- Female - Sunidhi Chauhan (Beedi)
  • Zee Cine Award Best Background Music - Vishal Bhardwaj
  • Zee Cine Award Best Choreographer - Ganesh Acharya (Beedi)
  • Zee Cine Award Best Film Processing - Adlabs
  • Zee Cine Award Best Sound Recording - Subash Sahu
  • Zee Cine Award Best Audiography - K.J. Singh/Shajith Koyeri/Subash Sahu
  • Zee Cine Award Best Publicity Design - HR Enterprises
  • Zee Cine Award Best Action - Jai Singh
  • Zee Cine Award Best Cinematography - Tassaduq Hussain

International Indian Film Academy Awards

Bollywood Movie Awards

Stardust Awards

Global Indian Film Awards

  • GIFA Best Film - Shemaroo & Kumar Mangat
  • GIFA Best Director - Vishal Bhardwaj
  • GIFA Best Actor - Ajay Devgan
  • GIFA Best Actress - Kareena Kapoor
  • GIFA Best Villain - Saif Ali Khan
  • GIFA Best Music Director- Vishal Bhardwaj
  • GIFA Best Lyrics - Gulzar (Omkara)
  • GIFA Best Lyrics - Gulzar (O Saathi Re)
  • GIFA Best Playback Singer Male - Sukhwinder Singh (Omkara)
  • GIFA Best Playback Singer Female - Sunidhi Chauhan (Beedi)
  • GIFA Best Playback Singer Female - Shreya Goshal (O Saathi Re)
  • GIFA Best Choreography - Ganesh Acharya (Beedi)
  • GIFA Best Cinematography - Tassaduq Hussain
  • AIFA Best Actor-Ajay Devgan
  • AIFA Best Actress Award - Kareena Kapoor
  • AIFA Best Supporting Actress Award - Konkona Sen
  • AIFA Best Villain Award - Saif Ali Khan
  • AIFA Best Actress (Critics) Award - Kareena Kapoor
  • AIFA Queen of Hearts Award - Bipasha Basu
  • AIFA Best Female Playback Award - Sunidhi Chauhan (Beedi)
  • AIFA Best Lyricist Award - Gulzar (Beedi)
  • AIFA Best Soundtrack Award - Beedi
  • AIFA Best Sound Recording Award - Salman Afidi

International awards


External links

See also

  • William Shakespeare's tragedy Othello

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