The appeal of Bollywood can be perplexing to lovers of serious cinema, but there’s no denying the profound influence big studio movies have had on people of my generation. Our formative years were shaped by tales of reuniting brothers, heroic tales of good and evil, and love in the face of parental opposition and social stratification. Our cultural moorings are so steeped in movie lore that when two South Asian strangers meet, all it takes is a filmy reference to break the ice and find a common dialogue.
Given the clichéd, inane and often insane nature of Bollywood movies, one would have though they were ripe for a good satirical look at what makes them tick. The closest Bollywood has come to self-examination is Farah Khan’s Main Hoon Na, which, far from being a satire, is a loving tribute to the magic and inexplicable appeal of these corny melodramas. The movie employs every Bollywood/Hollywood cliché that makes the viewer gasp in disbelief while cramming the popcorn – from Ram and Lakshman the separated brothers, Mission Impossible style action, spit that makes its Matrix-like way to the heroes face, and of course, the climactic explosion. The genius of the movie is in its cheeky self-awareness – ‘Look,’ it says to the viewers, ‘this is what you love, whether it makes sense or not.’
Well, Farah Khan laughed all the way to the bank that time. Her new offering, Om Shanti Om promises to be more of the same, using another time-tested plot device – reincarnation- to explore the evolution of Bollywood from the 1970’s to the present day. The movie has apparently already been sold to Adlabs for a staggering 88 crores, but the real buzz in the movie is coming from Shahrukh’s 6-pack which has already generated the kind of crazy media attention that makes you want to put your head in your hands in despair.
See for yourself. 🙂
Predictably, this has brought out the worst in bloggers, with people commenting on how creepy it looks to have a 44 year old face pasted on a 24 year old bod( ok there’s a little truth to that!) and how SRK is trying to ape Hrithik in the worst possible way. It seems his acting cred, which had risen considerably with Chak de, is taking a real pounding, even with OSO being a couple of months away from its release.
But if you take a closer look at the song( and I have taken many !) you can see it is a complete spoof of the current trend of ripped abs and buffed pecs. And no one can carry off the wink-wink, nod-nod self caricature better than SRK can. When asked if this is the beginning of a ‘shirtless’ trend for him, he replied, ‘No, but I’m willing to go pantless.’ On an interview on Koffee with Karan, he took a good natured swipe at the age-difference between him and his co-star, Deepika Padukone by commenting, “I fully expected her to say, ‘I love you uncle !’” Oh he knows what he’s doing, and so does director Farah Khan.
Expect an energetic, enthusiastic, fun-filled, send-up of the movies when you go to see OSO but for heaven’s sake, leave your brains at the door. It is not supposed to make sense.