Om Shanti Om is a mediocre variety entertainment program. The movie gets marred because the makers did not have the courage to make a spoof for the sake of a spoof. It is obvious that the story was forced to make the movie sell. Had they stuck to the industry jokes, it would have been as entertaining as a gossip magazine.
It is at best a very average variety entertainment program. You have mimicry, song, dance, skit - all woven to fit a theme. Isn't it sad that the biggest "star" of our industry is doing the mimicry and yet it is only mediocre? And get this. Half the time he only has to mimic the hamming, hawing, grinning and face-pulling of ... Shah Rukh Khan.
No guys, my sense of humor hasn't taken a Diwali break. I am intelligent enough to realize the "spoof" genre requires you to make minimal use of intellect. I thoroughly enjoyed the "spot-the-tribute" game. I am sure I got most of the industry jokes. A few of them even had me in splits. And the coolest thing was that the people being made fun of couldn't be offended because the makers were equally vehement in making fun of themselves.
But, it angered me when the movie shifted gears from paying homage to the 70s to actually becoming one of them. Because movies from the 70s certainly were not this blatantly arrogant. However lame, they did afford the audience a justification. No sirs and madam, "anything" doesn't go - sab kuchh nahi chalta hai! - Isn’t that you wanted the citizens of this country to say Mr. Khan?
The movie is reverse engineered. First came the idea of making a movie that took a dig at the movies that gave "Bollywood" its name. Then came the list of names/clichés/industry trends that had to be, with all humility, made fun of. Then came the individual gags. To be followed by the situations that could use those gags. This made the first half and suddenly realization dawned that the audience is not "that" stupid. They need a plot. So, let's throw in the first theme that comes to mind. And there you go, we have a movie. What we also have is this obvious rush to get from one joke to another and one event to another. The end product is choppy with very abrupt plot transitions.
Now, you tell me, where's the time to fit in character development or chemistry between characters? Oh I forgot, spoof - no need for any such thing even if we did have time.
Unfortunately, because of this excuse, I lose the golden opportunity of truly criticizing Shah Rukh Khan's acting capabilities. Spoof, right? One is supposed to overact. It is tragic that Kirron Kher also is annoyingly loud under the same pretext. So what, if in the same movie, Deepika Padukone, a debutante manages to get through with just the right expressions. And she looks drop-dead gorgeous.
The good thing about having a woman director is that many women in the audience are kept happy with a very wet, bare-chested Shah Rukh for almost five minutes. A by-product of which is also a happy male, gay community. So what if the main woman lead is merely used to stun as a pretty prop?
The best thing to come out of the movie is the lyrics. Especially the romantic numbers "aankho meir teri" and "tumko paaya". The picturization of "tumko paaya" is very adorable too. However, the choreography of the faster numbers seems like a medley of Farah's older sequences and thus has nothing new to offer. The one song that does not work is "daastaan-e-om shanti om". It does not have the edge, the zing, that "ek hasina thi" (Karz) it tried to spoof has.
I think my most favorite sequence was the end credits. I love Farah Khan for giving credit where it is due. But, what does it say about the movie, if that is my favorite bit?
These are no dimwits and they have a great sense of humor - Farah Khan, Shah Rukh Khan - basically the Khan family. Then, how could they take their audience so much for granted? Yes, we are in a festive mood, we are willing to lap up anything remotely happy. But, does that mean you shouldn't even attempt to sharpen the movie a bit? Each episode in the movie is a bit longer than necessary. Each cliché repeated a few more times than needed to keep it funny. Each exaggeration a little more melodramatic (imagine that!?) to make it annoying.
The entire movie is a spoof. Then you have a spoof within a spoof. Then a spoof within a spoof within a spoof. So far, so good. You have learnt to excuse the joke driven situation (versus situation driven joke). Then...well, Farah Khan forgot where she had started and Shah Rukh Khan finished of the script for her. And we have this mess - moderately funny, but mess nevertheless.
- meetu, a part of the audience