By Vidya Pradhan
For a parody to work, everyone in the film must play it absolutely seriously.
And this is the basic problem with Om Shanti Om. Like a couple of other over-hyped movies I can think of, (Ocean’s Twelve and Jhoom Barabar Jhoom come to mind), if the cast and crew look like they are having too much fun, the movie-goers begin to feel it is at their expense; they tend to scratching their collective heads and wondering if they’re also supposed to be in on the joke.
As a lover of mainstream Bollywood, I found OSO incredibly frustrating at times.
You know the potential is there – Deepika Padukone is gorgeous as Shantipriya, a 70’s glamour queen in the mould of Hema( a point that is hammered into the audience without subtlety); SRK is game for the most absurd of scenes, costumes and mannerisms of the era; Shreyas Talpade is a fine and competent sidekick; and the theme of reincarnation is guaranteed box-office gold.
So why am I so upset with Farah Khan?
For one the script really lets her down. Main Hoon Na, her first film had the sparkling talent of Abbas Tyrewalla, who has a real feel for comedy( among his other credits are Salaam Namaste and Munnabhai M.B.B.S). Mayur Puri and Mushtaq Sheikh, who collaborated with Farah on this one, can only come up with pedestrian fare. An example – just before the Dard-e-disco song, SRK actually says “Yahaan pe ek item number hona chahiye.” You see my point. IMHO, scriptwriters are worth their weight in gold. Also everyone keeps saying Happys Ending – it got tiring after the 4th or 5th time.
For another, the pacing is very uneven. There is a really hilarious scene with Om pretending to be a South Indian star in the mould of Quick Gun Murugan, but the lead-up to this scene appears to be missing. I blame the editing. Farah, just because you are married to the editor does not mean you hand over complete control. I know you are better than this.
And lastly, there are some glaring logic issues which transcend the SOD ( suspension of disbelief) that Hindi movies warrant. Here are some off the top of my head. Feel free to chime in with your observations –
– How did Om get into the burning building? If there was a way in, why wasn’t there a way out?
– When the chandelier falls on the villain, where do all the assembled guests disappear?
– ( this from a friend) How does the fallen chandelier go back up for the final scene?
– If the body was hidden under the (very expensive and marbled) tile floor, how was it intact when the reincarnated Om comes to the ruins? Surely the villain would not have retiled the floor and re-scorched it for the smoky effect?
If OSO is still worth watching, it is because there are some genuinely funny moments. As mentioned before, the Quick Gun Murugan parody is priceless – I never miss a chance to say ‘Enna rascalla, mind it, mind it!’ The Filmfare award ceremony is hilarious – my favorite was Akshay Kumar, who plays his part exactly right ( my respect for his comedic talent has gone up tremendously.) The songs are great, even if I was cringing during the baring of the now-famous abs. Scores of screen legends and two-bit wannabes make guest appearances and everyone sportingly takes digs at himself/herself. I suggest taking along a notebook to play a game with your friends to figure out how many movie references you can spot. There are some obvious nods to Karz, ( the Subhash Ghai movie on reincarnation) and Gone With the Wind and plenty of subtle ones that will need repeat viewing to note.
For the kids, there are some scary and some violent scenes. I left my 5 year old at home took along my 11 year old, who says it is the best Hindi movie he ever saw, so that should count for something.
Picture courtesy Bollywoodsargam.com
Will appreciate a few pieces of info, WNI. How is the movie faring on your side of the Atlantic? And what are American critics saying about it – if they are saying anything at all?
Judging by ticket availability, I would have to say both OSO and Saawariya had bumper openings here in the Bay Area. OSO does not seem to be mentioned in any of the mainstream media but Saawariya, which was bankrolled by Sony Pictures has had a mention in the New York Times.