1.5 Average

Om Shanti Om

No Farah, not this time
I was thoroughly disappointed with Om Shanti Om. Why? Perhaps coz I went with expectations that stemmed after watching Main Hoon Na – once on the big screen and then entire re-runs or portions of it time and again on DVD.

Main Hoon Na, though not super cinema, was according to me, immensely entertaining. A lot of my friends disagree, but I think the movie was extremely intelligently made and it gave us a talented director in Farah Khan. Someone who understood conventional Bollywood “masala” entertainment and was intelligent enough to package it in a format that was lapped up by today’s generation. The soundtrack was pretty rocking and some of the song picturizations were awesome. But most importantly, inspite of its various cinematic liberties, I didn’t end up questioning a lot of happenings in the script. Coz the narrative was water-tight. Situations were handled with conviction. And the songs seamlessly blended with the narrative. Also, the tributes were classic. Be it Sholay, Mohabbatein, Maasom, the Manmohan Desai genre of the 70’s – everything was perfectly woven into the story – however filmi/contrived the story was.

And exactly on those counts, OSO is a big let-down. Spoofing the 70’s is fine, but is it all that’s there to your movie? Is it just another spoof-show? Are the spoofs and tributes present to enhance the story, or does the story exist merely on the basis of the spoofs? Unfortunately, it is the latter in the case of OSO. Amidst her desire to spoof or pay tribute to the 70’s – the era of Rishi Kapoor and reincarnation sagas, Laxmikant Pyarelal’s music, Manmohan Desai entertainers (again?) – Farah has lost the plot. SRK is a the biggest prop you can get for your movie, and Farah had him both as an actor and as a producer. As a producer she perhaps used him to full effect – the money, the glamour, the goodwill, the six packs, the media reach, the hype, the publicity – everything. But as an actor on the screen, she fails to put him to effective use like she did was Main Hoon Na. He’s wasted big time, especially in the second half.

The contrast between the two halves is so stark, that you are almost left wondering whether you are watching the same movie. I know there is a time shift, et al in the pre and post interval portions, but the movie has to perhaps maintain a consistent graph throughout. And it doesn’t.

The first half is strictly bearable. And that is perhaps because you are willing to give Farah the time to establish the characters, the plot, etc – throw in a few in-jokes on the film industry, some tributes (Karz, Mother India), drooling over Deepika on the big screen, dancing, et al, watching the SRK-Shreyas combo for the first time – the first half passes by. But there too, most of the jokes are over-stretched. Like her brother Sajid did in Hey Baby, Farah too doesn’t realize when the joke is over and when to draw the line. Nevertheless, not entirely impressive, but so-so.

But when the movie resumes post interval, by God, the transition is very difficult to take. Senseless, completely senseless. How does SRK land up @ Kiron Kher’s doorstep? Why isn’t his father concerned when he meets his previous life’s mother and friend, does his father even know he’s realized who he was in his previous birth? Why isn’t his father tuned into what all he (and his gang) is trying to do to Arjun Rampal , when his father introduced him to Arjun in the first place? And why is his dad gleefully present @ the mahurat of the movie as if all is well with the world? And doesn’t Sandy know that she looks EXACTLY like an erstwhile superstar, Shantipriya? After all, its been only 30 years right? I would certainly know if I was a carbon copy of Rajesh Khanna or even Dev Anand for that matter, wouldn’t I?

And even SRK’s realization about his previous birth is utterly unconvincing. I am sure Farah would’ve seen similar scenes in Karz – remember Rishi Kapoor’s guitar strumming with electrodes attached to his head? Quintessentially bollywood, but it did work big time. Still does. The scenes in OSO don’t.

And what about Farah’s forte – song picturizations? What happened in that department? I think Dard-e-disco is one of the worst choreographed/picturized songs of the year. “Tumse Milke” or even “Tumhe Jo Maine Dekha” from Main Hoon Na were so-so much more superior. Just flaunting SRK’s six pack abs (are all of them real for sure or is it super duper makeup?) or 31 stars (a school-boy type editing job done by Shirish Kunder in this one – star1-star2-star3-star4-SRK-repeat) doesn’t a good song picturization make, dear Farah.

There isn’t a single song in the soundtrack that stays with you after the movie is done with – except for perhaps “Main Agar Kahoon” – Vishal Shekhar are nothing but plain mediocre here.

With OSO, I guess Farah Khan jumped into making the movie based on a few loose ideas – reincarnation, homage to some of the 70’s movies, SRK – the biggest superstar, a debut by a hotshot model, a Diwali weekend release – and thought that somehow, all this would come together as a coherent movie. Alas, it doesn’t. Not even close to it.

I’ve heard Farah say time and again that her favorite masala movie of all time is Manmohan Desai’s Amar Akbar Anthony. With Main Hoon Na, she had made an honest and a pretty successful attempt to replicate that kinda entertainment. But with Om Shanti Om, she is way way off target.

Better luck next time, Farah.