Tuesday, February 17, 2004

TIME Asia Magazine: Lights! Sound! Fury! -- Feb. 23, 2004

Bollywood Turns Macbeth into Maqbool

Interesting piece in Time Asia from Alex Perry--Time Magazine's Asia guy, who writes on Indian cinema's attempt to bring Shakespeare to celluloid, and in turn, breathe some fresh blood into Bollywood.

And what better way to make Macbeth Bombayified than to make the plotline focus on its infamous underworld.

"In director Vishal Bhardwaj's Maqbool, Macbeth has been turned into a Bombay Mob hit man tempted to kill his sadistic don for the don's disloyal mistress—the incarnation of Lady Macbeth. It may be possible to imagine three cackling witches in India's teeming megalopolis, but Bhardwaj chooses to replace them with a pair of corrupt, soothsaying cops who get their jollies playing all sides in the bloody gangland rivalries.

Bhardwaj's extraordinary adaptation works because the themes of ambition and contrition, politicking and deception fit seamlessly into modern Indian life. "You can place this story anywhere," Bhardwaj says, "in the army, in a bank, in journalism. It's a vicious, furious, bleak story. It's human." But Bhardwaj chose not a bank or newsroom but the Muslim underworld, and that imbues the film with urban slickness and the knife-edge insecurity of dog-eat-dog violence."

To make this film even more enticing, Maqbool stars true Bollywood/Hollwyood crossovers Om Puri and Naseeruddin Shah.


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