Monday, January 21, 2008

What do you think about Om Shanti Om

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padhukone, Arjun Rampal, Shreyas Talpade
Director: Farah Khan
Producer: Shah Rukh Khan
Music: Vishal Dadlani, Shekhar Ravjiani
- Anupama Chopra, Consulting Editor, Films

Bollywood’s blockbuster weekend is finally here. After months of deafening hype, Om Shanti Om and Saawariya have hit theatres and the question on everybody’s lips is: are the films any good or was it all sound and fury signifying nothing.

In a recent interview, Shah Rukh Khan stated that all logic and intellect should be left at the door of filmmaking. They certainly seemed to have followed that dictum while making OSO.

OSO is a reincarnation saga, made with, as Arjun Rampal playing a producer puts it, Manmohan Desai Ka angle.

So anything is possible. The climax is Karz meets Madhumati and in certain scenes Kiron Kher seems to be directly channeling Rakhee from Karan Arjun.

The first half of the film, set in the 1970s, is a breezy roller coaster ride. Director Farah Khan pays homage to the film industry of 30 years ago.

The time-worn cliches of Hindi cinema are trotted out—so the mother makes kheer and the heroine tells leering villains bhagwan ke liye mujhe chod do—but it is done with such affection that you feel nostalgic for a time when actors sported giant sideburns and actresses danced on drums.

There is also a superbly funny scene in which a young Sooraj Barjatya is shown taking notes for his future films.

The love story of Om Prakash Makhija, a junior artist played by Shah Rukh Khan, and Shantipriya, a megastar played by Deepika Padukone, is charming.

Surprisingly Farah loses her footing when it comes to contemporary Bollywood.

Om Prakash is now reborn as Om Kapoor, a spoilt superstar. OK, as he likes to be called, discovers the mysteries of his last birth and sets out to punish the wicked producer who killed his beloved Shantipriya.

There is an item number with lovingly shot close-ups of Shah Rukh’s new rippling torso and a party number with more stars than you can count, but post-interval OSO starts to creak.

The screenplay strains to tie-up the loose ends and the leave logic behind mantra goes into overdrive. Beyond a point, the proceedings become pure tedium. Watch out though for the stand out Filmfare Award nominations.

Shah Rukh Khan is first-rate in his junior artist avtaar. His longing for stardom and Shantipriya is sweet and sad—Om is such a ham that you know even if he had lived he would have never made it.

But OK is such a clich├ęd and underwritten character that there isn’t much that Shah Rukh can do with it.

Ditto for Deepika Padukone. The luminous debutant is pitch-perfect as the megastar but she’s mostly chewing gum in the second half. Shreyas Talpade, as Om’s sidekick, suffers the same fate. However, Arjun Rampal as the suave, menacing producer is surprisingly good.

OSO has serious glamour, thumping music and some inspired comic moments but the film never aspires to be more than a time-pass entertainer, which coming from such a talented crew is disappointing.

OSO is intermittently engaging but once the lights are back on, there is nothing you will take home with you.

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