Monday, November 12, 2007

Grand 'Om Coming

Om Shanti Om

*ing: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Arjun Rampal, Shreyas Talpade
Director: Farah Khan

Given that I never thought of her previous outing, Main Hoon Na as anything more than a garrulous, over-the top no-brainer, one wasn’t expecting anything out-of the ordinary from Farah Khan here.
The only thing one could safely bet on was that she would be pulling all stops to make her song & dance sequences a scintillating visual experience.
Also a certain standard of humour could be expected, given the director’s off screen talent for sharp, witty repartees. Of course, since I personally found Main Hoon Na’s comedy quite lame, I wasn’t particularly pinning my hopes on that either.

With Om Shanti Om, Farah Khan chooses a theme, extremely close to her heart and one, which she knows like the back of her hand –Bollywood.
From the moment the film begins, the script displays the confidence and control of a director, who knows she’s playing on home ground. Naturally then, the film sparkles with a clever screenplay, witty dialogues, splendid spoofs and stunning item numbers.

Considering that the film is a riotous parody on Bollywood, it’s perfectly apt then that the movie’s basic one-line plot stays true to the set conventions of the 70s cinema. So essentially, any suggestion of far-fetched plot elements only strengths its evocative appeal no?

Om Prakash Makhija (SRK), a junior artist in the 70s film world, is deeply in love with a leading young actress, Shantipriya (Deepika Padukone). But his dreams of becoming a huge star and then marrying her are crushed when he discovers she’s already married to her producer Mukesh (Rampal).
Soon later, tragedy strikes and in a bizarre twist, Mukesh kills Shantipriya by setting her on fire. Om too dies trying to save her.

30 years later Om is reborn as Om Kapoor and in due course of time, his past reveals itself before him. From there on, the film takes on the form of comic-thriller, with Shanti’s look alike (Sandy), his old friend Pappu (Shreyas Talpade) and mother (Kirron Kher) helping him to take revenge on Mukesh (who comes back as Myke).

The spoofs are tremendous here. I especially loved the one on Subhash Ghai and his penchant for wasting time at award functions, by rambling nonsensical stuff, even as an impatient Rishi Kapoor looks on. Another zany idea is the one where SRK and Shreyas throw a few lines from Maine Pyaar Kiya to Deepika while they’re in the 70s. When she asks them which film it’s taken from, they say, ‘Abhi tak toh film main nahin aye hai. Lekin aye hi jayegi’, while a young Sooraj Barjatya is quietly taking down these lines standing outside for “future use”

Then there’s that superb award function sequence. I loved the way Abhishek Bachchan gets off his bike with the Dhoom signature turn playing in the background but in next few scenes, he hams like crazy. And oh, there’s a scene with Akshay Kumar, which is an absolute laugh riot.

Farah spares no one –not Karan Johar, not Yash Chopra, not Govinda, not Amitabh (who is aptly abrasive as he says, ‘Who Om?’ when asked about SRK’s prospects of winning at an award function), not Rakesh Roshan, not SRK himself ---- who is nominated for all similar looking films named Phir Bhi Dil Hai NRI and Main Bhi Hoon Na etc. But mind you, none of it is mean-spirited.

There is a huge sense of dissapointment one feels pre-interval, when the plot appears to go totally haywire (I mean, this is too much even if you suspend your disbelief to its utmost limit) but somehow, even this resolves itself in the second half.

Also, the second half makes you feel the film is getting too close for comfort with Karz and this leaves you with mixed feelings. Why couldn’t the makers have credited the original when they were taking a huge chunk from this 70s film? But thankfully, Farah doesn’t let you down here and comes up with another blinder of a climax.

Almost all the songs are good but I didn’t like the way whistles and noises were inbuilt into that extremely peppy number with 30 guest appearances. This is a new trend of adding whistles (Aja Nach Le has it) and clearly it’s a silly device to induce a ‘chartbusting’ moment. Agreed that multiplex audiences are generally placid (there was pin drop silence in the theatre even when the highly addictive Dard-e-Disco played) but this sort of gimmick is in bad taste. Especially when one hears loud whistles in the film when the likes of Dino Morea, Amrita Arora and Aftab Shivdasani walk in. Pulllleease!

As for the performances, Deepika Padukone radiates with charm and grace. She’s certainly a wonderful addition to an industry, starved of fresh looking heroines. For SRK, this is a double whammy after the super Chak De India. He doesn’t have any outstanding moments in the film but his acting is uniformly good. Arjun Rampal registers his first solid performance with Om Shanti Om.

But, the film belongs to maam Farah Khan, who has not only made a thoroughly entertaining film but infused it with so many layers and rich period references, that it would take a couple of more viewings to capture all of it.
A grand ’Om coming indeed for her.

Stars: ***1/2

What these stars mean

* Yuk, what was that!
** See, only if you must
***: Neat film
**** Excellent
*****: Send this straight to the Oscars!

-Sandhya Iyer


Anonymous Arun said...

Sandy...this is well written review!
I would also call this one as a very clever movie!

Any news about TZP?

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