Omkara (2006 film)

Omkara is a 2006 Indian crime drama film adapted from William Shakespeare's Othello, co-written and directed by Vishal Bhardwaj.[3][4][5] It starred an ensemble cast of Ajay Devgn, Kareena Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Konkona Sen Sharma, Vivek Oberoi and Bipasha Basu in the lead roles. The director Vishal Bhardwaj himself composed the entire music for the film, including the background score, with lyrics by Gulzar.[6] The film is set in Meerut, a city in Western Uttar Pradesh.[7]

Theatrical release poster
Directed byVishal Bhardwaj
Produced byKumar Mangat Pathak
Screenplay byVishal Bhardwaj
Robin Bhatt
Abhishek Chaubey
Based onOthello
by William Shakespeare
StarringAjay Devgn
Kareena Kapoor Khan
Saif Ali Khan
Konkona Sen Sharma
Vivek Oberoi
Bipasha Basu
Music byVishal Bhardwaj
CinematographyTassaduq Hussain
Edited byMeghna Manchanda Sen
Distributed byEros Entertainment
Big Screen Entertainment Pvt. Ltd
Release date
  • 28 July 2006 (2006-07-28)
Running time
155 minutes
Budget 260 million[1]
Box office 424 million[2]

Omkara is the second film in Bhardwaj's trilogy of Shakespeare adaptations, which began with 2003's Maqbool and was completed with 2014's Haider. The film was showcased in the Marché du Film section at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival along with a book on the making of Omkara.[8][9] 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 3 awards at the Kara Film Festival,[10] an award at the Asian Festival of First Films, 3 National Film Awards, and 9 Filmfare Awards.


Omkara "Omi" Shukla is an enforcer for a gang that commits political crimes for the local politician Tiwari Bhaisaab. Ishwar "Langda" Tyagi and Keshav "Kesu Firangi" Upadhyay are his closest lieutenants. Langda gatecrashes a baraat and challenges Rajju, the groom, to try and stop Omkara from abducting the bride, Dolly Mishra. Rajju fails and the wedding never takes place.

Dolly's father, advocate Raghunath Mishra, is enraged with Omkara and at one point threatens to kill him. To sort out the misunderstanding, Bhaisaab arranges for Dolly to appear before her father; she clarifies that she eloped with Omkara and was not abducted. Her father remains disgusted that she is in love with a man from a lower caste and leaves the village in shame.

Omkara eliminates a powerful electoral rival by exploiting an MMS sex scandal. Bhaisaab is elected for parliament and Omkara is promoted to the candidate for the upcoming state elections. Omkara appoints Kesu over Langda as his successor once he enters politics himself, as he feels Kesu, who hails from the upper classes and is college-educated, stands a better chance of winning over the younger, educated voting crowd than Langda, who is rustic and dropped out of school.

Langda, disappointed with Omkara's poor judgment and jealous of Kesu, his younger, less-experienced superior, decides to take revenge. He first causes a violent brawl between Kesu and Rajju by taking advantage of Kesu's low threshold for alcohol, which damages Omkara's faith in Kesu. Langda has Kesu convince Dolly to mollify Omkara, but at the same time uses Kesu's visits to Dolly as evidence to suggest to Omkara that the two of them are having an affair. Langda additionally has Indu, his wife and Omkara's sister, steal an expensive piece of jewelry that Omkara gifted to Dolly, and encourages Kesu to gift it to his girlfriend Billo.

Billo is later used to lure Kichlu, a rival gang enforcer, out of hiding, so Omkara's gang can assassinate him. Omkara arrives at the ambush and spots Billo wearing the missing jewelry; he murders Kichlu and his gang in a rage, and forces Langda to unambiguously tell him whether Kesu and Dolly are having an affair. Langda insists that they are, making a number of additional false claims to support his story.

Convinced of the affair, Omkara smothers Dolly to death on their wedding night. Elsewhere, Langda attempts to have Kesu assassinated, but the bullet merely grazes his arm. Indu hears gunfire and rushes to Omkara's aid, where she finds Dolly's corpse and the recovered jewelry. She confesses to having stolen the jewelry for Langda, making Omkara realize that Langda is responsible for his fatal misunderstanding of the situation. Indu slashes Langda's throat in retribution, while Omkara commits suicide and dies next to his wife.

Cast & CharactersEdit

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

Character OutlinesEdit

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Indu Tyagi – 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 his knowledge of English. 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.
  • 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.
  • Tiwari 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.

Supporting CastEdit

Shooting LocationsEdit

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 coordinator 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. Sushmita Sen was the first choice for Kapoor's role. Aamir Khan was originally considered for Saif Ali Khan's role. Bhardwaj and Aamir were going to collaborate on an earlier project but due to creative differences, the film was shelved. Bhardwaj thought about casting Khan in this film but decided against it and approached Saif.[11]


Omkara had a fairly good performance at the box office in India and earned critical acclaim all over. The movie grossed $16,466,144 worldwide 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.[12] It was, however, a grand success abroad. The film quickly entered the UK's Top 10 and did very well in Australia, South Africa and the United States.

Omkara was universally acclaimed and was praised for its taut script, dramatic sequences and its lead performances. Kareena Kapoor's and Ajay Devgn's performance was considered to be the finest of their films, yet it was Saif Ali Khan's performance that was labeled as the real milestone of the film and drew the most and unanimous critical praise as Langda Tyagi. Director Vishal Bhardwaj says it was Aamir Khan who was keen to star in the role of Langda Tyagi initially, but finally it was Saif Ali Khan who bagged the role. Konkana Sen, who eventually won a National Award for her performance, was also highly praised.[13][14][15]


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,[16] while 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.


Soundtrack album by
7 July 2006 (2006-07-07)
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelEros Music
ProducerHitesh 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 8 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. Eventually, Bipasha Basu became the talk of the movie for giving 2 chartbuster songs, "Beedi" and "Namak", both of which became immensely popular. According to the Indian trade website Box Office India, with around 1,150,000 units sold, this film's soundtrack album was the year's eleventh highest-selling.[17]

Track listingEdit

Music Director – Vishal Bhardwaj

No. 'Title Artist(s) Length
1 "Omkara" Sukhwinder Singh 5:22
4 "O Saathi Re" Shreya Ghoshal, Vishal Bhardwaj 5:30
3 "Beedi" Sunidhi Chauhan, Sukhwinder Singh, Nachiketa Chakraborty, Clinton Cerejo, Vishal Dadlani 5:05
2 "Jaag 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



See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Levenson, Jill L.; Ormsby, Robert (27 March 2017). The Shakespearean World. ISBN 9781317696193.
  4. ^ Dionne, C.; Kapadia, P. (27 March 2014). Bollywood Shakespeares. ISBN 9781137375568.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Ramesh, Randeep (29 July 2006). "A matter of caste as Bollywood embraces the Bard: Big budget remake of Othello — with song and dance — starts new trend". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
  7. ^ "Moor of Meerut".
  8. ^ "A book on the making of Omkara to be released at Cannes". Bollywood Hungama.
  9. ^ "Omkara arrives at Cannes too". Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  10. ^ "'Omkara' shines in Cairo and Karachi". Apun Ka Choice. Retrieved 26 December 2006.
  11. ^ "Aamir wanted to play Langda Tyagi in Omkara: Vishal Bhardwaj – Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 29 October 2016.
  12. ^ "The Telegraph – Calcutta : Look". 27 August 2006. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  13. ^ "Aamir Khan wanted to play 'Langda Tyagi' in Omkara: Vishal Bhardwaj". The Indian Express. 26 November 2012. Retrieved 26 November 2012.
  14. ^ "Saif Ali Khan breaks his lover-boy image in 'Omkara' : Bollywood News". ApunKaChoice.Com. 12 July 2006. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  15. ^ "Konkona thanks Vishal Bhardwaj for the National Award". 25 June 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2011.
  16. ^ "Families stay away from Omkara". The Times of India. 1 August 2006. Archived from the original on 16 October 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2007.
  17. ^ "Music Hits 2000–2009 (Figures in Units)". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 24 June 2010.

External linksEdit