5. Omkara (2006)
Cast: Ajay Devgan, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Vivek Oberoi, Konkona Sen Sharma
Writer: William Shakespeare (Othello), Vishal Bharadwaj
Director: Vishal Bharadwaj
Omkara is a local lawmaker in a dusty terrain in North India. When a minister passes away and his mentor subsequently takes up a ministerial position, Omkara gets promoted to the role of the new don of the area. But the problem is he needs to choose a new lawmaker to suceed him, and he has two candidates. One is Langda Tyagi, a long-time, slightly-crippled right-hand man of Omi, and another is the young charming Kesu.
On the day, Omi opts for Kesu to be his successor, trigerring jealousy and hatred from Langda, who starts planting seeds of vengeance by making up a story about an affair between Omi’s lover and soon-to-be-wife Dolly with the ever charming Kesu.
When Omkara finally buys the story, all hell breaks loose.
Vishal Bharadwaj made two adaptations of Shakespearean tragedies in the past decade, of which Omkara is the second one. Vishal’s Maqbool, which is an adaptation of the more popular Macbeth, is an equally good picture, but Omkara personally takes the cake for me as the technical qualities in this film have gone up a notch.
Omkara is as good an adaptation of Othello that you will see anywhere, as Vishal brings the British tragedy to the dusty terrains of Uttar Pradesh, and fills them with foul-mouthed, gun-wielding people. Omkara’s mood and tempo is one of the best you would ever see for a dark film. And Vishal takes it up even a level higher with his music. The haunting ‘Naina’ track especially stands out.
Omkara was filled with a stellar cast and everyone gave their best. Saif obviously delivered the best single man performance of the whole decade as the jealousy-infused Langda Tyagi, while Ajay and Kareena both look their parts. Even in small roles, Naseeruddin Shah and Konkona both left their marks on the film.
Omkara is the best tragedy movie to have been made in the last decade. And that proves only one thing- that Shakespeare is still the master of tragedy. And Vishal’s affinition to adapting the legend’s works can only mean one thing- even better films in the future.
IMDb rating: 7.9/10 (after 3,000 votes)
4. 3 Idiots (2009)
Cast: Aaamir Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Sharman Joshi, R Madhavan
Writer: Chetan Bhagat (Five Point Someone)
Director: Rajkumar Hirani
Farhan, Raju and Rancho are all roomates in the hostels of the country’s premier engineering university, IIT. But all three of them are not exactly the apple of the eye for their lecturers nor the dean due to their philandering ways of going about things. Rancho, though eccentric, and bizzarely creative, manages to score top marks in every exam while his two friends languish in the bottom of the mark sheets.
They all clash with their obsessive dean, Viru, mainly due to Rancho’s affection towards the dean’s daughter Pia. What follows is a series of quirky, comedic events that lead up to the end of their college life.
However, Rancho goes missing after that, and after several years, Raju and Farhan, who have both pursued their dreams, go on a journey searching their lost friend, who was also an inspiration for them.
When Aamir Khan is involved, the potential is always there for a film to become a cult hit. And that was exactly what happened with 3 Idiots. Perfect entertainment. Loosely based upon Chetan Bhagat’s novel, Aamir and Rajkumar Hirani combine to deliver a film that totally rapes the Indian education system and asks quentessential questions in relation to academic achievements and success in life.
The song ‘Give me some Sunshine’ stands out as it perfectly narrates the travails many students face as they sacrifice their dreams and potential for what the world perceive to be real ‘success’. Having personally been a victim of such situations, 3 Idiots was more of an eye-opening film that boldly takes upon a hiherto untouched subject with entertaining bravado.
Aamir takes the cake as he charms his way through the whole film with his Rancho avatar, while R Madhavan and Sharman Joshi both perfectly fit the bills as individuals who are striving to be different but are forced to follow the flock due to their circumstances.
Shantanu Moitra’s carefree music added with the catchy, funny song lyrics, made everyone step out of the theater truly believing that all is going to be well.
And that is great cinematic achievement.
IMDb rating: 8.3/10 (after 12,000 votes)
3. Rang De Basanti (2005)- Paint it Saffron
Cast: Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi, Siddharth, R Madhavan, Soha Ali Khan
Writers: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Rensil D’Silva
Director: Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
Sue is a young British documentary film-maker who comes to India in order to make a documentary film about India’s freedom fighters, based on the memoir of her grandfather, who served as a prison guard under the British Indian empire. With the help of her friend Sonia, she auditions several people for the roles but decide that Sonia’s close group of friends fit the characters best.
The youths, who mock the freedom fighters, agree half heartedly, and start shooting for the documentary. They find it hard to relate to the freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the country until their dear friend Ajay, who is also Sonia’s boyfriend, a flight lieutenant for the Indian army dies in one of his flights. They get enraged when the corrupt Defence Minister blames Ajay’s pilot skills as the reason for the crash, and sense injustice in the air, wanting his name to be cleared, and his contribution honored. This is when they realize the extent of corruption in the country and take drastic steps against them, inspired by the very characters they were playing in the documentary.
The movie of a generation. When Rang de was released, no other film had the kind of social influence that this film managed to have. A realistic, heart-wrenching climax at the tail end of a fun and frolic looking film which depicted India’s youth with such great flavor makes this film one kind of an emotional ride.
R Madhavan delivers the best cameo ever delivered since cameos were invented in his brief appearance, while Siddharth’s performance tailed up so fantastically that he overshadowed Aamir Khan. With a star cast that was inch-perfect, and AR Rahman’s re-defining music, from the rebelious ‘Khalbali’ to the soulful ‘Tu Bin Bataye’, RdB attained cult status, and gave patriotism a new glossy look, away from its previously melodramatic, hyped look. Even the audience could feel the patriotic angst of the characters in this film- that was how well it was etched out.
IMDb rating: 8.3/10 (after 13,000 votes)