Joined: 17 September 2005
In this adaptation of "Othello", Saif plays a role where he has no interaction with women. He terms his role as "impotent" in the film.
In an interview to IANS, Saif speaks extensively about challenges - both in reel and real life. Here are excerpts of the interview:
After looking like a rock star, you look like a UP (Uttar Pradesh) ka bhaiyya in "Omkara".
I am excited because it is an adaptation of Shakespeare and a really good adaptation of "Othello". I feel this one is truer to Othello than Vishal's "Maqbool" was to "Macbeth". Vishal turned "Maqbool" into a falling-in-love-with-the-boss's-wife kind of love story...albeit a marvellous married-to-the-mob take.
You have studied Shakespeare in London?
Yes. The language and look of "Othello" are familiar to me. And I like the way Vishal has transposed them to a local milieu. The biggest challenge for me in "Omkara" is the Uttar Pradesh milieu. It was enriching to shoot there.
I hadn't been to Lucknow since my childhood. It is a slow-paced, relaxed town with lovely food and lovely old houses. Some of the old families know my family.
I met a lot of family friends at Shaad Ali's wedding. The unfortunate part of being a movie star is that you get constant attention. This takes away the pleasure of getting to know people. The atmosphere makes your self-conscious.
Was it tough...and rough?
I knew it would be a rough shoot. But it was a bit of a conscious decision. I did it to remain balanced as an actor. Every film can't be shot in LA, man! All my work was going in only one direction and image. I needed something different like "Omkara".
But being familiar with Shakespeare...is that an advantage?
Not really. Once you are into the script, it doesn't really matter where it came from...only where the narration is going. I have done so many adaptations. I did "Parineeta" my own way. I had never read Saratchandra Chattopadhyay's original.
But in "Othello", I was keen to go back to where Iago came from. He's the first literary psychopath. So, the challenge was the milieu, look and character, and the thought of deglamourising myself.
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