Article in Edited Volumes
(Book chapter)


Shakespeare in Bollywood? Vishal Bhardwaj’s Omkara (2006)


Publication Details
Author(s): Gruß S
Editor(s): Säckel Sarah, Göbel Walter, Hamdy Noah
Title edited volumes: Semiotic Encounters: Text, Image and Trans-Nation
Publisher: Rodopi
Publishing place: Amsterdam, New York
Publication year: 2009
Pages range: 223-238
Language: English

Abstract

Othello has been portrayed by many of Hollywood's classic actors, including Orson Welles (1952) and Laurence Olivier (1965, wearing thick black make-up) and, more recently, Laurence Fishburne (1995) and Mekhi Phifer (2000, in O, a high-school version of the play). In film adaptations, the play has thus already travelled far; in terms of literary criticism, Othello has also become a stock element in post-colonial criticisms of Shakespeare. Vishal Bhardwaj's Omkara (2006) adds a new twist to both trends in turning Shakespeare's play into a Bollywood-film including the typical features of the genre: song and dance-episodes. This article focuses on how this cross-cultural enterprise destabilizes both Othello as 'master text' and the genre it uses, the Bollywood blockbuster. Bhardwaj not only relocates Othello to India (and turns the race conflict into one of caste), he also carefully shapes and changes the Bollywood-film: while Omkara could be interpreted as one of the family tragedies so popular with Indian audiences, the song and dance-scenes are more convincingly rooted in the plot than in typical examples of the genre. Omkara can therefore be used as a paradigmatic example of the fluidity of cultural borrowings and conventions in the early 21st century.



How to cite
APA: Gruß, S. (2009). Shakespeare in Bollywood? Vishal Bhardwaj’s Omkara (2006). In Säckel Sarah, Göbel Walter, Hamdy Noah (Eds.), Semiotic Encounters: Text, Image and Trans-Nation (pp. 223-238). Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi.

MLA: Gruß, Susanne. "Shakespeare in Bollywood? Vishal Bhardwaj’s Omkara (2006)." Semiotic Encounters: Text, Image and Trans-Nation Ed. Säckel Sarah, Göbel Walter, Hamdy Noah, Amsterdam, New York: Rodopi, 2009. 223-238.

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