Monday, January 21, 2008

Quite a Mughal-e-masala Om Shani Om

Lights, Camera, Action! Let Shah Rukh Khan take you on a journey through the golden years of Bollywood- the 70s and remind us of some of Hindi cinemas finest eccentricities that we tend to have forgotten or probably might have not known in the first place.

Om (Shah Rukh Khan) is a junior artist of the 70s who dreams of becoming a superstar one day. Completely in love with the leading actress Shantipriya (Deepika Padukone), he saves her from a fire which goes out of hand during a shoot. They eventually become friends and Om thinks the woman of his dreams is finally in love with him. However, fate has different plans for Om. He comes to know that Shantipriya is married to her producer Mukesh Mehra (Arjun Rampal). Truly, for some dreams to come true it takes more than one lifetime. Without giving the movie away, the film fast forwards to thirty years later where we meet another Om (SRK again) but only this time he is a superstar. What is his connection with yesteryear’s Om?

If one looks closely then there isn’t much from the story point of view. The ‘ purna janam ’ episode has been witnessed innumerable times in Bollywood but yet the film has its own originality. The screenplay written by Farah Khan and Mushtaq Sheikh is the winner here. It is evident that a lot of thought has been given to the minutest of scenes which enhances of what comprises of a very common plotline.

Recreating the golden era of Hindi cinema is not an easy task but Farah Khan manages to do that with so much skill and precision. A whole lot of yesteryear actors are made fun of though in a very sporting way. Manoj Kumar, Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna, etc are some who might feel nostalgic while watching the film. Also, there are quite a few jokes that you may not easily pick up if you aren’t paying attention.

The Filmfare Awards function is cleverly thought of. Akshay Kumar being nominated for The Return of Khiladi and Abhishek Bachchan for Dhoom 5 is simply hilarious.

Shah Rukh Khan is at his best once again. In top form, SRK plays the two Oms with complete ease. It would be difficult to imagine another actor enacting the same roles with so much flamboyance. With good support from Kiron Kher (Om’s mother) and Shreyas Talpade (Om’s friend), the trio form an amusing team. With loud over-dramatic mannerisms seen in films of the 50s, 60s and 70s, the three just rock in the first half. Deepika Padukone gets a debut which many only can dream about. The debutant is very confident and after this the offers are definitely going to be pouring in. Villains are getting handsomer by the day and Arjun Rampal fits the role perfectly. Evil to the core he is perfectly cast as the evil producer.

For lovers of popular cinema of the 70s, Om Shanti Om recreates something which you might have forgotten over the years. Watching Rishi Kapoor’s dancing to the tunes of the song ‘ Om Shanti Om ’ is a delight not to mention the special effects where Deepika’s dances are superimposed with yesteryear songs.

The music too is terrific and goes well with the film. Vishal and Shekhar are in complete form and the ‘Deewangi’ song is probably the highlight considering the amount of stars in it.

Any flaws? Not many but the entertainment value which was full of gusto in the first half seemed to have died a bit post the interval. Nonetheless, the overall package promises sheer leisure.

Masala in Hindi films hasn’t been this good for a very long time. New age directors might have their issues with this but this is what the masses want and this is exactly what they are getting. If you haven’t yet given any Diwali gift to your near and dear ones, grab a few tickets of the film and have a family picnic at your nearest cinema hall.

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