I went to the theatre, anticipating a screening of the biggest blockbuster of the year, expecting to see typical Bollywood masala and to be left thoroughly entertained at the end of it all. At least, the reviews and the trailers on TV had me believe that. But now, two days later, several questions still linger in my mind. Why was such a film made?? Why was it touted as the biggest hit of 2007?? What was the craze for ‘Om Shanti Om’ all about??
Many of the questions will never be answered, there will be no answers to them, as long as Shahrukh Khan continues to dance shirtless, flaunting his newly acquired ‘assets’.
The movie had everything, a dazzling star cast, a fresh face, a successful director, larger than life sets, nice music, romance, action, (melo)drama, suspense, comedy, horror, reincarnation etc etc. But the biggest drawback of the film is that it had everything. Way too much to pack in that two and a half hour slot that was given to it. It falls in a category where it can be branded just a tad bit better than completely random visuals.
The movie starts with Om (Shahrukh Khan) and his best friend Pappu (Shreyas Talpade) struggling to make it big in Bollywood in the 70s era. Meanwhile, Om’s love interest Shantipriya (Deepika Padukone), introduced as the superstar in the Film industry, with films like ‘Dreamy Girl’ to her credit, is busy dancing to songs with the 70s feel to them. You know it’s the 70s period because the costumes and make-up hit you so hard.
The quintessential villain of Bollywood, Mukesh Mehra (Arjun Rampal), is a shrewd film producer who kills Shanti and Om for reasons I haven’t still comprehended. The story takes a 30 year leap post interval (putting Ekta Kapoor to shame). Born as Om (again!!!), Shahrukh Khan is a successful Bollywood star, much like his real life self. How he manages to resolve the mystery of the murders and meet Sandy (a lesser-clad version of Deepika Padukone), is not interesting enough to bind you for the remaining runtime of the movie.
I was prepared for a film, which required me to leave my brains at home. But even given the very very flexible premises of fictional possibilities in Bollywood, the events of the film are not allowed for. Not everything can happen, the way Farah Khan wanted in the movie, given that Bollywood has established some ground rules for its working.
The story line of the movie is very weak. Infact, the first half of the film looked more like a fancy dress party where everyone wanted to dance and act like one of those 70s actors that you can’t and don’t care to remember. More than being a harmless dig at the movies made then, it ends up mocking all of them. The fine line of divide between humour that compliments and the one that insults is lost in the movie. The spoofs continue in the second half as well. The jokes progress from being lame to lamer. After a certain point, it becomes tiring to endure the numerous satires the film confidently rests on.
You are frequently reminded of a parallel story running in between the Bollywood parody. And that is precisely the reason there is a disconnect in the entire film. After dancing with anyone and everyone in Bollywood in the title track, Shahrukh almost instantly (without waiting to realize that he remembers details of his past life) comes to meet his mother in the previous birth, followed by a scene, which could have either been a take-off on the typical Hindi films or an intense emotional drama. The transitions between the two elements- a spoof-opera and a Bollywood film, is so sudden that it is difficult to tell one from another.
There is no doubt about the fact that the film has its share of genuinely funny moments. You will be kept busy, either admiring the outfits, the dances, or debutante Deepika. All the hype around me did nothing to save the movie from being the very average movie that it is.