Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Om Shanti Om - the Review

SRK - Supposedly Six pack Khan - ah! never mind!
Deepika Padukone - the most beautiful and graceful girl ever!

Every once in a while comes a film that moves you, that forces you to think - to contemplate and reflect - and after much deliberation, you feel you have gained something more tangible than a couple of hours of entertainment - that you have gained some insight into an aspect of life that was previously unvisited. Om Shanti Om is definitely not such a movie! What it is though is pure, unadulterated masala entertainment at its very best.

Not that Om Shanti Om is not corny - it is cheesy and at times exceedingly melodramatic - but its charm lies in its excessive, unabashed celebration of Indian melodrama at its cheesiest worst! This movie is so cliche and typical, that somewhere down the line it becomes charming.

The plot is simple enough (in fact, its barely a plot, but thats the point - the absence of a tangible plot adds to the silly, charming pointlessness of the movie) :
It is circa 1970 & SRK stars as an aspiring actor (a junior artist) whose ambition is to make it big. He wishes to marry the girl of his dreams - Shantiji played by the divine Deepika Padukone, who is the Audrey Hepburn equivalent of Bollywood in the era. A lot of cheesy/goofy/charming comedy and beautifully shot songs later - Shanti is killed by her husband played by Arjun Rampal (finally the guy is getting some work!). This gives rise to simultaneous death-reincarnation of both SRK & Shanti. SRK grows up and enlists the new Deepika to avenge Shanti's death.

Shah Rukh Khan plays yet another role which seems to have been tailor made for him - down to the last dialogue - Khan's tongue-in-cheek personality is perfect to essay the role of the quintessential bollywood struggler of the 70's. Kiron Kher delivers yet another endearing performance, proving her versatility once again. Of special note is the scene where she baulks with her knuckles in her mouth when SRK apparently insults his dad - classic! And Shreyas Talpade is the stereo-typical side-kick and plays it to the hilt.

But what did it for me as I am sure for many others is Shantiji played by Deepika Padukone - never before have I seen a woman (a actually girl - she's just 21!!) so beautiful and so graceful and so amazingly divine. Stick a couple of extra hands and she would look a goddess - a real one! Deepika's face especially in the 70's period (1st half of the movie) is something to look at - incredible beauty and amazing poise! The song-writers (Akhtar sahab) seem to have been inspired by Deepika's presence when they wrote the songs! Not only does she look the part, she acts the part too - I was pleasantly surprised by good emoting skills (of course, the real test for her would be to play method roles). Deepika dazzled me by the magnificence of her beauty and the poise with which she carried herself. I am sure India has found its next sensation - beware Aishwarya, Bipasha and rest - Deepika is here and here to dazzle!

Of course the movie is not without its pitfalls - it wishes at the most trivial of excuses to give SRK an opportunity to showcase his 6-packs! Agreed that SRK has toned his body, but a male cleavage show of the extent and degree as in that irritating and redundant song 'Dard e disco' is clearly abominable & causes uncomfortable squirming from the male quarters of the theater, while eliciting squeals of delight from a few, enamoured teen girls. Clearly, the song was a diversion to the plot and could have been done without.

In the end, the movie was an enjoyable experience - nothing memorable, but worth the buck. It celebrates and ridicules the absolute melodrama and repetitive nature both of Indian cinema and Indian melodrama and does so with unabashed glee and unrepentant scorn. The pointless plot serves merely as an excuse to both celebrate and castigate Indian stereotypes, cultural and social situations. It is this dichotomy that makes it so bitter-sweet! I felt the rational side of me hating it - so damn unrealistic and typical! Yet, there was something in it which was achingly genuine. Put it this way - Om Shanti Om is as much an ode to Indian cinema as much as it is a caustic, unsparing critique.

Some Links:
OSO Wallpapers on Yahoo! India Movies
OSO Posters on Yahoo! India Movies
OSO Movie-Stills on Yahoo! India Movies

PS: Sorry for the late review - its courtesy of the Sem VII exams coming up ;)