Thursday, November 29, 2007

Om Shanti Om

OSO is a Farah Khan movie – if you do not keep that in mind and condition yourself accordingly, you’d miss the point of the movie. Ms. Khan and party are out to have a ball and whether you like it or not, it does not matter or as SRK says, in the movie, in his tribute to Gone With the Wind - Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn. There is a scene in OSO when a wannabe Bengali director says that the cameras are ready from the Satyajit Ray angle and the Bimal Roy angle but the producer asks him to focus on the Manmohan Desai angle kyonki wahin kaam ayega.

This philosophy exactly reflects Farah Khan’s mind as she sets out to make a pot boiler with no arty pretensions. For a lover of serious cinema, this can be a difficult experience – akin to a true blooded South Indian reading the Times of India after years of digesting The Hindu. But after the initial period of indigestion, it can also spell fun in a different form of way; of course, this feeling has to be a more conditioned one rather than natural.

Comedies/spoofs suffer when they start taking themselves seriously; and then you wish they’d stick to the comic plot instead of weaving silly melodrama- Check any Priyadarshan’s movie for that. Farah’s Main Hoon Na was a pain whenever the story tried to take upper hand over plots like the Sush-SRK romance; OSO also charters into such a terrain occasionally but for some reason the seriousness never sinks in.

There is not much of a story to mention, except that boy loves girl but girl loves someone, that someone kills her and boy and girl die in the process. They are reborn and the hero takes revenge with a little help from the girl’s ghost – a Karz meets Madhumati and then The End, finally!!! The story of re-incarnation and revenge is old enough and there is no real intent to recreate with a different perspective (we’ll leave that to RGV).

The pre-incarnation story of the 1st half is set in the 1970s while the second half moves into the current world of cinema. So, you have spoofing right from the days of Rajesh Khanna to Abhishek Bachchan. The movie meanders into seriousness occasionally but Farah Khan does not intend to continue the serious element for long. So, the seriousness stays put for a brief period before things again become hunky dory.

The good part about such movies is that they ask you to sit back and just watch, with a sense of abandon - keep your cerebral part out of it. Let’s not discuss the plot and the futility of it in the entire scheme of things because that is not relevant – Damn, we have a topless SRK emerging from the waters and bringing forth the quintessential metrosexual male (he could try the Daniel Craig style next time), a beautiful Deepika Padukone who manages to keep our attention on her face throughout and a whole lot of actors gyrating to foot tapping music!!! And you dare to ask for more????

OSO mocks at many in the industry- Sooraj Barjatya, the Kapoor family (Overacting hamari khandani beemari hai), Manoj Kumar (wonder what was there to be upset over his depiction here???) and many others but it is all in good fun. The clich├ęd dialogues and the performances (especially in the first half)) are clearly over the top but that is partly Farah’s tribute to the good old world of Hindi cinema.

Only the villain played by Arjun Rampal is underplayed; Baradwaj Rangan has a point when he says- an “unabashedly old-fashioned, over-the-top approach would have been more appropriate” for the antagonist of a self-respecting masala movie.

The songs are good, pleasantly hummable but for some reason they fall short when you watch it on screen. Where is the “Aankhon Mein Teri Ajab si” song; slicing and serving it in parts destroys Vishal-Shekhar’s wonderful score. And the title song is an HAHK type family get-together song- where the idea is “I scratch your back and you scratch mine” (Witness Govinda and SRK scratching each other’s back literally in the song).

The song went on for too long and I was waiting for the song to complete. But the songs still remain a plus point in the movie- Maybe Farah should try her hand at a musical where she can take more liberties with the script.

The best part of the movie is actually the rolling of the credits. It is done pretty innovatively and everyone gets a part in the credits, including the spot boys- Now that is good work and I’m sure that it would have pleased the entire team to no end. Moreover, Farah Khan entering the final stage of the credits and being welcomed to no applause is pretty symbolic of the hold that directors have on audience – none at all!!!

At the end, the movie remains just an occasional spoof – an attempt at parody with a story thrown in bits and pieces occasionally for the discerning guy in the audience to pickup if he wishes to. Too many wisecracks can make a half an hour serial but a 3 hour movie can be a bit of a stretch and that’s where Farah Khan stumbles.

Honestly, I don’t think there is anything much in the movie but if you want to while away a couple of hours and more and you have nothing much to do, go for it. Either way, there is nothing to lose….