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
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.