DVD/VCD reviews

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 8.09.06

Sriman Prithviraj (Angel; VCD Rs 299) is one of the sweetest films made in Bengali cinema. And one of the biggest ever. Tarun Majumdar is known for films that talk of simple down-to-earth people. Their life is just innocent fun, honest loving and easy living. The maker of Balika Bodhu had already made films on teenage love his forte. Sriman Prithviraj proved it yet again. Ayan Banerjee and Mohua Roy Chowdhury as the child-couple are still remembered lovingly. Such a simple story of love is entertaining as well as inspiring. Moreover, the blend of the pre-Independence political backdrop with the simple love life of the newlywed is excellently portrayed. On one hand you have the caricature of a typical Babu, who’s hell-bent on getting the ‘Raibahadur’ title from the British rulers played excellently by non other than Utpal Dutt, and on the other hand you have Biswajit, a Swadeshi who’s out to teach the British rulers a lesson. But still the main focus remains on Ayan, a notorious boy. To curb him, his parents get him married to Utpal Dutt’s daughter, Mohua. But he creates havoc in his in-laws’ house as well. The brilliant interplay between the two, their becoming friends, missing each other, understanding responsibilities towards each other all make for a charming love story. And at the end of it all, it’s pure fun.

Omkara (Shemaroo; DVD Rs 399, VCD Rs 149) is Vishal Bhardwaj’s take on Shakespeare’s Othello. Vishal, just like his previous Shakespearean interpretation of Macbeth (Maqbool), successfully transfers the action here, to Uttar Pradesh with its typical political setting. The film stands out for its real-life depiction of a culture, along with its raw language, cinematic setting and sharp characterisation. The theme of political rivalry, jealousy, and deception blends very well with the characters, the main thread of the story remaining essentially Shakespearean, but the essence becoming Indian. In a line, it’s a story of how Saif Ali Khan poisons Ajay Devgan’s mind against his wife Kareena Kapoor by linking her with Ajay’s favourite disciple Viveik Oberoi whom he had favoured over Saif. And Ajay’s violent reaction fuelled by jealousy. This DVD of Omkara packs in interesting facts and trivia in a special 10-page booklet along with the making of the film. Another feature of interest is the deleted scenes that have been edited out from the actual movie but can be viewed here.