Monday, February 18, 2008

Om Shanti Om


Om Shanti Om proves that the Hindi film industry is capable of poking fun at itself; that it is one big, fun-loving family that doesn't take itself too seriously. And watching a film where everybody involved had so much fun, it is difficult for us not to share in it. Some parts of the film, especially when it starts getting all serious, don't work as well as others but a sense of fun is prevalent throughout, making it a light-hearted, fun entertainer.

OSO is fun mainly because of Bollywood's ability to take a joke. Everything from the actors' images, both on-screen and off-screen, to the industry's tendency to stick to cookie-cutter films to our films' over-sentimental take on romance is spoofed in delightful fashion. And the participation of almost all the actors in all of this makes sure that the proceedings seem good-natured rather than mean-spirited(as in some scenes in Mahaanadigan). The Filmfare awards function is when this aspect of the film is most obvious and so it is one of the highlights of the film itself. Whether it is Shabana Azmi talking about her social causes or a bunch of actresses - and an actor - talking about their relationship with Om Kapoor or Abishek showing, rather openly, his disappointment over losing the award or all the actors taking part in the Deewangi... song sequence, the segment is a blast.

This sense of fun is evident almost the entire first half, when the movie is set in in the 70s. Making full use of the time period and the Bollywood setting, Farah Khan peppers the film with in-jokes and references to popular films. Taking the Forrest Gump route(as when Gump is shown responsible for Elvis' dance moves and the smiley face, among other things), she even throws in imaginative and hilarious re-interpretations of cinematic history(like Sooraj Barjatya taking notes for a popular dialog). Seeing the younger versions of the actors is fun too and Farah's attention to detail is evident when a women swoons at the movie premiere on seeing Mithun doing his Disco Dancer moves and 30 years later, a woman - maybe the same woman? - swoons when he dances in the Deewane... song too!

The film becomes serious once it moves to the present and delves into re-incarnation and revenge. In fact, it comes close to becoming the kind of film it was spoofing but what moves it away it is the self-awareness that is evident throughout. It does seem to take itself seriously but there are occasional hints - like the one where Shreyas complains that Kiron Kher overacts and Shah Rukh brushes it away with a "that runs in our family"! - that leads us to believe that Farah is simply paying homage to those kind of films rather than inadvertently making one herself. In fact, the opening scene that puts SRK as one of the extras in the Om Shanti Om... number from Karz(the original of Kamal's EnakkuL Oruvan), probably the most well-known 're-incarnation movie' could probably be considered the biggest hint of the movie's intentions and direction. And it never deviates from these.

Shah Rukh is just perfect for the role. His typical hamming serves his role well and there are particular scenes, like the Tamil film shooting and the segment where he is unable to utter all those perfect sentences his brain is forming, where he is downright hilarious. Deepika Padukone is the find of the last few years. Radiant and gorgeous, she is every inch the dream girl she portrays. The final scene of the climax where they look at each other, inspite of being completely predictable, works beautifully entirely due to these two actors. Shreyas provides good support and his character works well as a calming force amongst all the zaniness.

11 Comments:

At 5:33 AM, Anonymous Dr Sharavanan said...

Hi Balaji,
Nice review as always. I would really like to read your review on "The Prestige". One of those movies which you can watch more than once and enjoy every bit of it.

 
At 11:24 AM, Blogger Goda Ramkumar said...

Hey cool review...enjoyed it as much as the movie...can u look at my review and comment so that I can improve my reviewing?
http://godamindtoweb.blogspot.com/2007/11/om-shanti-om-audience-always-look.html

 
At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi BB,
I am not sure if u reviewed "Thare Zameen pe" ( TZP), this is one movie done with great perfection and with some extra ordinary performance of every character and excellent direction by Aamir Khan. Now this is a real movie, entertainment inra perule, freakin... whole Bollywood and Kollywood are just putting out overhyped thrash incliding "OSO" and " Shivaji", my gripe is they are average movies at best, nothing worthy to mention apart from the hype and star value and ofcourse with the "retarded fan" factor palying 200 % in these movies making them unbelievable and undeserving hits. Both "Oso'and Shivaji had absurd scripts, people can make entertainers with reasonable scripts ( ex. MMKR, Appoorva sahodarargal)or some great scripts ( Paruthiveeran, Lagaan).
"TZP" what a fantastic movie bringing out subtleness and some extreme complex depiction of "dyslexia", "Rainman" on "autism" is nowhere even close to TZP, in terms of script.
Disclaimer: I am huge fan of SRK and Aamir, Kamal and rajini.

 
At 1:25 PM, Anonymous Ram said...

balaji, cool review of a cool movie...
ena sir, deepika padukone-a paathu lupthaans aayteenge pola theriudhu...! ;-)
i enjoyed the movie...it was fun to see shah rukh poke so much fun at himself as well as others in the industry...
that 31-stars song was a visual treat...
having said this, i think farah khan should branch out a little and move away a little from these spoofs...main hoon na was more effective than om shanti om and i would think that another spoof from her might make others spoof her style!
but yeah, this movie was indeed a breath of fresh air...

 
At 5:38 PM, Blogger skanda said...

The thing that was lacking in "OSO" was the romance. It is one sided and also touching but it was not a fixture throught the movie. The lack of it in the second half was a huge disappointment for me. Also Deepika was not there througout the film and that was a big minus..But she does look beutiful in the initial portions. A True Dream Gurl...

 
At 6:06 PM, Blogger Babu said...

Anon,
" "Rainman" on "autism" is nowhere even close to TZP, in terms of script."

Now thats a bold statement and a emotional one too..no wonder u liked the movie :-)

"Disclaimer: I am huge fan of SRK and Aamir, Kamal and rajini."

how convenient......

Dr Sharavanan,
I'm with u in this...loved the movie and enjoyed the book very much too....fell in love with magic...neither complicated nor simple script.....brilliant adaptation....

 
At 6:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As rightly stated in the review, the movies take a liberal poke at the industry itself - which undoubtedly requires poise, nerves and skill. The film does all that in absolute grace & taste - despite obvious concerns about ruffling feathers... or not (?).

I wonder if such a film can be made in Tamil - where some deliberate parody or satire can be made in an industry that is largely leveraging on old customs, beliefs, practices and of course, politcially uptight big wigs.

 
At 9:58 PM, Blogger Bart said...

Saw OSO when it was released. Enjoyed it though can't remember details now. The funny parts of the movie worked well more than the serious parts - especially when the mother and friend characters turn serious in second half.
Overall a timepass movie. On spoofs in tamil movie, I remember "Mahanadigan" as a recent attempt. The upcoming Vellithirai's original had enough content for spoofs. Will have to wait and watch how bold Prakashraj is.

 
At 10:50 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

hi sharavanan, thanx. and yes, i enjoyed 'prestige' when i saw it. thot it was a wee bit more complicated than necessary but the story was terrific :)

ramkumar, thanx. not sure if i'm expert enuf to help u improve but will surely read ur post :)

anon, no, haven't seen it yet :) agree that OSO wasn't a classic but wouldn't say there was nothing apart from the star value and hype. it had its moments... and quite a few of them :)

ram, thanx. yeah, MHN was more enjoyable overall than OSO. this one kinda lost some of its sheen in the serious 2nd half while that one had the perfect tone throughout :)

skanda, yep deepika was sorely missed the time she wasn't on screen :)

anon, i think it did ruffle a few feathers(manoj kumar) :) but i think we're quite a ways off from making this kind of a movie in Tamil. there's just too much of ego and self-importance among our heroes for them to poke fun at themselves :)

bart, not much hope on 'vellithirai', atleast on taking digs @ other actors. i'll be happy with a few good-natured digs :)

 
At 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

btw balaji and other readers, have you listened to Vellithirai songs? Uyirile and Vizhiyile are simply superb! guess GV got it in his genes.

 
At 9:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.desipundit.com/baradwajrangan/2007/11/10/review-om-shanti-om-saawariya/
i think u copied some of his words...

 

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