Some things ruined our movie experience yesterday. It wasn’t the Om Shanti Om (OSO)’s fault. We unwittingly were in the middle of a largely-student gathering. Annoying as hell. I suppose I must have been as annoying in my undergrad years, but since I am older and wiser now – I have every right to be mad as hell with the kiddos.
Seriously, it’s a film. Shut up and watch. Don’t sing along with the slow romantic numbers. The item numbers I understand, the percussion sort of drowns out your tone-deaf rendition, but the slow numbers make life excruciatingly painful. And to the boy sitting next to us, your comments were not funny, they were just irritating. So stop doing those loud one-liners. Ok?
See, I am falling into a trap. I am so desperate to like a movie that I promise to forgive it some of its flaws. I am dying to love a movie. Because loving a film brings so many joys. It’s not just being able to watch it over and over again. Watching a film you can love is like getting a signal from the universe that you’re not entirely alone. Or entirely weird. Like any other sort of love, I suppose.
I love the way OSO starts. Anything that begins with the marvelous number from Karz – Om Shanti Om – with Rishi Kapoor swinging on a moving vinyl record is enough to make my heart burst with happiness. And it’s impossible not to compare OSO with Karz. OSO starts on that high note, provides a few laughs with this affectionate look at the 70s. The colour, the clichés, the glorious hairstyles, the melodramatic deliciousness of on screen romance.
Kiron Kher is wonderful. She plays a “Ma” – but not the usual over-dressed, mithai distributing “Mummy”. Shah Rukh Khan was perfect for this film. Given that he doesn’t need to act, just do his usual overacting. Deepika Padukone evoked a parental instinct in me. I wanted to take her home and feed her a decent meal. Incidentally, this isn’t her debut film. I think Deepika Padukone and Shreyas Talpade were the best actors in the film.
The film is definitely worth a watch. There’s something charming about the self-referential jokes. The digs at the filmi khaandans, the insertion of item numbers, the fits of superstars, the hilarious bit about a young Sooraj Barjatya walking around stealing dialogues, the reactions of stars at film award functions. But it gets into overkill. The fundamental idea of a spoof is to be subtle, not loud. There’s nothing more painful than a badly done spoof. The film industry is full of egomaniacal people, we get it.
Farah Khan obviously had a lot of great ideas, but the problem is that she isn’t familiar with the ancient art of editing. Being merciless with one’s own creation. So the film begins to ramble after a point, with too many unnecessary scenes and lengthy dialogues that are repeated over and over again to get some point across. Reincarnation is not logical, and I am not demanding logic, but the film lacks the tension that comes with such a theme.
The music was actually disappointing. I loved Dard-E-Disco to bits. But the comparisons to the songs in Karz are inevitable. The songs are not bad, but they lack the punch that the film deserves. Or maybe there are too many of them, and after a while you just get bored. Like you have to compare this fabulous number from Karz (Ek Hasina Thi) that scares Simi Garewal and makes her confess to this dull number from OSO that is supposed to play a similar role.
Had it been shorter, the film would have been far more entertaining. Watch it if you love Bollywood, and don’t mind a few annoying bits in between. I enjoyed the film, but the next morning, I remember very little. Right now, a flashback would be helpful. Om Shanti Yawn.
PS – Two things that might really piss you off. First, a very insensitive portrayal (however brief) of people with disabilities. Second, a strange insertion of a mock-shoot of a South Indian film that plays on all the stereotypes. But since this spoofs just about anything in the Bollywood film industry, it’s almost forgivable. It’s also mildly funny.