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Review - Om Shanti Om: Story messes the entertainment

Om Shanti Om

quick review:

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.

[Poster for Om Shanti Om]

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

Om Shanti Om - Movie Details

Om Shanti Om - Trailer

Comments (23)

Ashok:

Well done meetu..

Perfect review, Perfect Rating! Completely agree!

Dadasaheb Phalke:

I thoroughly enjoyed OSO and disagree with almost everything you've written. Once again you fail to analyse what you find wrong in the movie, choosing instead the easier path of berating the movie, the stars, dialogues, etc. I appreciate that we have all our own views. However, you have done a film appreciation course, you now seem to be part of the reviewing community so we expect more. At the very least, please be consistent. You are willing to give up your need for "resemblance to reality" for Jab We Met, but not for OSO. Why? Almost all the accusations you leveled at OSO apply to JWM too. Can't understand. And your ratings also seem weird..you're willing to give OSO's spoofy lyrics 4, while Saawariya gets only 1? Finally, can you please tell me other Hindi movie spoofs you've seen? I am referring, please, to spoofs and not to comedies. Thanks for your patience.

meetu:

Thanks Ashok!

Dadasaheb Phalke, well I gave Saawariya's lyrics 2.5 - not 1. OSO got 4. I liked OSO's lyrics better. Hmmm...I thought you did not like the fact that I didn't like OSO, do you also not like the fact that I appreciated what I liked?

When did I ever say I expected reality from OSO? I just did not like the fact that in the name of spoofing the 70s, Farah Khan actually tried to make a movie of that era. Now, even in the 70s, the movies were far from reality, but they gave us some explanations as to why things were happening, here there were none. So, I don't think it was spoofed right.

I usually don't like comparing movies, but since you demand a justification - Jab We Met made me laugh and cry. Kareena and Shahid were brilliant. OSO made me laugh a few times, that's it. It's characters did not touch me. SRK was at best annoying and Deepika hardly had room to prove herself. And in Jab We Met too, I was unhappy that I was not given explanations, when they were so easily possible.

I think Main Hoon Na was a very good spoof. In my opinion, Salaam-e-Ishq was a spoof too. Especially the Priyanka Chopra-Salman Khan track. Why do you ask?

I completely appreciate that you expect more from me because I have done a course. Please be specific about what I did not analyse and we'll talk. Otherwise you can be accused of the same thing that you are accusing me - "fail to analyse what you find wrong with this review but choose the easier path of berating it"

Sakshi:

Meetu, good review. Though I still feel that you have been kind on them. ;)

meetu:

To borrow from Mayur Puri's talent - "kuchh reviewers ka dil hi aisa hota hai" Everything is relative, right Sakshi? I have just seen too many movies that are much worse.

jolyon antao:

its a super duper hit movie.Howerever it a collection some old n some new we all enjoyed the
movie

Shaan Khan:

OSO is “bas deewangi deewangi deewangi hai”

There are various categories and types of re-incarnation. A God denying Saddam Hussein was re-incarnated into a God quoting Saddam Hussein on losing his dictatorial powers. A girly man, Man Mohan Desai of the 70s was re-incarnated as a woman, Farah Khan, in the 2Ks. Even I, a person (while growing up), who was repeatedly told that I was selfish, self-centered, heartless, & cruel by my three sisters, was later (thanks to the hard knocks of life) re-incarnated as the only living man who knows what a woman wants. Let me assure you “What women want” is a very complex subject, and to those who are attempting to start on this path, to seek this knowledge, I would like to say, remember two sentences, i) “Really, that is awesome” (punctuate the really with a surprised look and a pregnant pause. Say this like you mean it, whenever she says anything) and ii) "Oh, my, my, you poor girl" (say it whenever you are not saying the previous sentence).

The most complex case of re-incarnation that I have seen is that of the Big Bad Bachchalan. A super star of the year 76/77, Big B was re-incarnated every decade since then as a bigger and bigger flop actor. Today he is a lame horse struggling to cross the finish line. What is more complicating is that while he still exists in the 2Ks, he has been re-incarnated as a clone as well in the form of Lil C. Here is a case where a decent actor has been re-incarnated as a non actor.

OSO is one such re-incarnation story. You do not have to believe in re-incarnation to enjoy this story. It is not as complicated as Big B’s re-incarnation saga. In fact it is a very simple and straightforward story of an unfulfilled man, who comes back to seek revenge against the person who killed him and his ladylove. Nonetheless, this sad and moving story is told in a fun filled over the top manner. The story in OSO becomes a platform to spoof the Bollywood of the bygone era (not necessarily just 70s/80s) as well as the contemporary Bollywood. The jokes, parodies & satire hit you nonstop. It is hard sometimes to listen to the dialogues because of the howling and laughter that engulfs the entire theater. I have never seen people have so much fun in any movie. I never knew this was possible. Interestingly enough everyone has his own take on the jokes. My mentor, Essac Bhai Khopdi who lives above the Sarvi Restaurant in Nagpada Bombay and has won many a Nawabi awards, thought that the blind/deaf and dumb and over the top SRK was a funny reference to Big B’s Black, while the good for nothing star son was Lil C.

Rahim Chacha, my butler, who never likes to be outdone by Essac Bhai Khopdi, has his own views. He thinks that Big B was not invited to SRK’s Bollywood bash (i.e. the “bas deewangi deewangi deewangi hai” song in OSO) because Big B did not invite SRK to Lil C’s wedding. Although I may not entirely agree with Rahim Chacha, I do think in many ways, OSO is like this song. While “bas deewangi deewangi deewangi hai” gives you an inside look at a typical Bollywood party, OSO is SRK’s invitation to an inside look at Bollywood itself. Farha Khan has left no leaf unturned in making sure that all feel welcome and enjoy this SRK offering, especially the common laymen with little or no knowledge of Bollywood, but it goes without saying that some knowledge of Bollywood will give a viewer a more profound reason to chuckle. In this respect OSO is not as mindless or random as it appears on a superficial level. The jokes and the sequence of the jokes are all well targeted and serve a purpose. OSO is wicked, it is a laugh riot for those who do not know Bollywood and but infinitely more so for those that do.

HR cameo was superb, but Akshay Kumar’s was even better. Govinda & Dharam Paaji were appreciated in the “bas deewangi deewangi deewangi hai” song but Kajol got the most whistles. Of all the parodies the one that I liked the most was about the insertion of a mindless item song with mindless words just to make the movie more commercially viable, yes I am refereeing to “Dar-E-Disco”. Hence, next time when you hear an item song such as “Kajra Re Kajra Re” you will know exactly the thoughts that went into its insertion. At the very least, after seeing OSO you wll know why Lil C is making a super hero film, “Darraoona”.

Thanks to the advances in the technology, the unfolding of SRK's past is handled very effectively. The scene where he witnesses himself eavesdropping Deepika and Arjun is marvelous. Finally when “the moment of truth” dawns (at the Filmfare award ceremony) the reaction is just priceless. The look on SRK’s face and his voice (while receiving the award), captures the right amount of confusion, fear, and the acknowledgment of the new truth, without letting go of the awareness of the honor being bestowed upon him. All in all the Filmfare award scene puts SRK in a league never ever witnessed before in Bollywood.

For SRK, OSO is another feather in his cap. As Om Makheja, his hamming is as believable as his seriousness was in CDI. It is a SRK you have not seen before. Just like no one could have played Kabir Khan as well as SRK, let me state that no one could have played Om Makheja as well as SRK. This is why SRK is an actor’s actor, the Don Jungli Billa KHaaaaan of Bollywood. SRK’s Om Makheja is a lovable looser, then as Om Kapoor, the brat, he kicks it up another notch. For me the icing on the cake, as far as SRK’s acting is concerned, was the underplayed and intimate scene where he tells his father that he will try to be a better son (and a better actor). Before I forget, let me state that the rest of the cast and crew, Arjun, Kiran, Shreyas, & Deepika are equally outstanding.

OSO rocks. It is an, in your face, inside look into Bollywood. It is not too late to book your tickets for the next week-end. Some shows are still open but rush, don’t walk, OSO is worth it.

meetu:

Hi morph! Good to know you enjoyed the movie. You love tearing apart my words, don't you? So, here we go -

I thoroughly enjoyed the "spot the tribute" game. Just because I "got" the jokes doesn't mean they made me laugh. A few of them made me laugh - say 10%. So as per your calculation, that makes it 7.5% of the movie, which is about 12 minutes. Add to that the 2 songs that I enjoyed watching. About 22-25 minutes, I enjoyed, and that is why I recommend watching it if you have nothing better to do.

Credit for overacting?! Had it been funny or tolerable or different - sure. But, that is just his normal annoying style, so why does it deserve extra credit?

Isn't it unfair, that pen and paper are allowed for serious movies and not for "time-pass" movies? I think the latter can be made funnier/more entertaining if the audience is not taken for granted.

meetu:

Finally, got it, morph! Our definition of "taking for granted" and so "what makes a good movie" is different. Neither is right or wrong, they just are.

No Smoking - I hadn't read the director's blog before watching the movie and had formed my opinion before reading it too. And I know many other people who liked the movie, haven't read the blog and are very happy with their interpretations of the movie.

Anyways, I enjoy the differences, so keep leaving your thoughts.

indya:

Movie was alright in bits and pieces but overall it was horrible.

As usual your review is great.

-Indya

_ram-jaane':

I enjoyed OSO just as much as if not more than No Smoking:
http://www.ramchandra.me.uk/blog/archives/2007/11/om_shanti_om.php
http://www.ramchandra.me.uk/blog/archives/2007/10/no_smoking.php

Amodini:

I agree with your review - I've given it a below average rating myself. I was so bored in the second half - it's like the film had morphed into some terrible 70s film - direction, acting, character development had pretty much flown out of the window - the only saving graces being Deepika and Shreyas. If OSO was this bad, I quail at the thought of Saawariya.

meetu:

Thanks all for your comments!

Amodini, don't compare Saawariya and OSO. They are two different genres. I didn't like either but I know people who liked Saawariya but did not like OSO.

Jahan Bakshi:

Hi Meetu- totally agree with you on Salaam E Ishq was definitely a spoof and actually quite nice but overlong- I though it was unnecerssarily and excessively criticised for no reason. Mostly agree on OSO, however loved Deepika and though Shahrukh was pathetic otherwise, he gets full marks from me for the Quick Gun Murugan bit- HILARIOUS! Lo love your reviews- keep them coming!

B4Bollywood:

I loved the movie OSO. I appreciate the attempt that Farah Khan has made, in her own style, to bring forth the hypocrisy that is still so prevalent in our Bollywood- one that adores those who succeed, and the other that totally ignores the not-so-lucky actors. She has beautifully woven the two together. Even if it is mindless, I still liked it. It is a complete entertainer.. a paisa wasool. I cant think of anyone else but SRK who could have played the 2 characters with equal ease, so what if the hair grows overnight!!!! Who claimed the movie was purrfect!!! I can't compare OSO to CDI, they are class apart.... they are theme apart. It's good to see Farah Khan doing what she loves to do ..So far as overacting is concerned, it certainly is SRK mark.. we know him for that, so what's new...the movie is MAST, and a MUST SEE.

meetu:

Thanks Jahan, I thought the Quick Gun Murugan bit was stretched a bit too much. I loved the SRK making fun of his repetitive romantic performances at the filmfare awards. That really made me laugh. But that's about it!

meetu:

prateek, the only reason not to trash the movie completely is because I have seen worse...much worse!

meetu:

Hi all,

What I have noticed is people either loved the movie or hated it. And no matter what, people have taken it pretty personally. As in the people who loved it will defend it no end and the people who hated it are trashing it to death.

Keep it going!

meetu:

Ashish, if I were trashing it solely on my preconceived notions then I wouldn't have liked Chakde! nor would I have liked Don. OSO was a bad movie. There were just a few laugh-worthy jokes - the story was all over the place, the acting was bad.

All I say in my reviews is what I thought of the movie. I certainly will not claim to know what types of shoes the target audience is wearing (unless it includes me :) ). On the same note, I don't think anyone can.

Nice 'I' quote! Just can't figure out how to leave "I" behind. How much ever one tries, "I" follows like Mary's little lamb. Pretty darn adamant it is.

KARUNESH GOUNDARRUN:

I WANT TO MEET KING KHAN.WISHING VERY BODY IN INDIA AND OM SHANTI OM CREW MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR.GOOD BY FOR NOW

abu & rabad » Blog Archive » hot g:

[...] was when we went to watch Om Shanti Om. During the “31 star” song, rabad started screaming “Om Shanti Om” at the [...]

meetu:

@TimELiebe we have seen a lot of reincarnation in our films. Madhumati or Karz (the one this film is trying to pay a tribute to but is actually just shamelessly copying)
Manoj Kumar covering his face - that's the way he would act - and if i remember right, especially when he was sad/intense :)

meetu:

@TimELiebe :) Looks like there was a serious mail delivery problem at wogma's end itself. Hopefully, it's sorted.

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