To be honest, I was disappointed with Maqbool. Maybe, coming into it from Omkaara, I had pretty high expectations from Vishal Bharadwaj.

The thing is, Maqbool lacks a hero. The closest anyone comes for me is Pankaj Kapoor as Abbaji. He is a powerful man who knows his power, inspires loyalty in at least some of his followers and is shown to have some principles when it comes to business (that his business is the Bombay underworld and what he refuses to do is smuggle arms into India for an ISI-like character is beside the point).

Irfan Khan or Mian Maqbool, the lead in the movie is to me a completely flawed character. While overweaning ambition is his fatal flaw, his susceptibility to Abbaji’s mistress Nimmi (played by Tabu in an excellent performance) and his complete paranoia after his crime of murdering his boss Abbaji make the viewer view him with something less than sympathy.

Shakespeare’s Macbeth is the basis for this Vishal Bharadwaj movie (he does have a knack of getting the settings right – the fight for the Scottish throne is transplanted to Mumbai’s underworld while later he would transplant Othello’s Venice to the heartland of UP). If you know of Macbeth, this movie resonates better. The 3 witches are superbly transplanted as 2 clairvoyant police officers in cahoots with the Abbaji gang – Naseer and Om Puri as usual are brilliant. Banquo’s ghost does not appear but Lady Macbeth’s famous speech of blood on her hands finds a parallel with Nimmi’s increasing loss of mental stability.

While individual pieces of the film are pretty brilliant, the overall effect is underwhelming. It is certainly less slick than Omkaara and lacks its star power as well. But that notwithstanding, the movie does stand out among the movies that get churned out of Bollywood.


UL said…
Macbeth, huh? One of my favorites. For the same reason, I think it will be the next hindi film that I would watch. But then again, I may not as my expectations are too high and I wonder if the film would meet them. Probably not, as I have yet to see a movie that did justice to the characters in Shakespere's Macbeth.
small talk said…
If you like Macbeth, you should see this movie. It is a pretty good adapt. And like I said, if you have to see a Hindi movie anytime now, this is a decent one. Can't think of too many others I would reccommend.
Anonymous said…
Ooh, we're so cool-we only watch 'nice' hindi movies, lest our shakespearean sensibilities be corrupted, you see
Anonymous said…
Ooh, we're so cool-we only watch 'nice' hindi movies, lest our shakespearean sensibilities be corrupted, you see

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