Picture abhi baaki hai, mere dost – a First Day First Show review of Om Shanti Om
Well! I’m amazed! I actually watched a masala movie first day first show. And it wasn’t even impromptu – We actually got tickets in advance – another first for me.
New experience, this. I also watched this movie sans any expectations, and only a faint idea of what to expect, apart from SRK.
So.. well.. unprejudiced mind. A propah review. Here it comes.
It all starts thirty years ago, on the sets of Subhash Ghai’s Karz. Rishi Kapoor dancing to [surprise, surprise!] Om Shanti Om. Enthu extra [Guess who. Guess who] in the crowd dancing. RK throws off his jacket. Enthu Extra catches it. Aggressive Female Extra (played by Farah Khan) fights with him over it. Enthu Extra wears jacket. Dreams of himself in place of RK. Song ends. Enthu Extra in starry pose. Aggressive Female Extra says “Superstar ke jacket pehenne se superstar nahin bante!”. Enthu Extra: “Tujhe kya, tu is film ke director ho, kya?”. Aggressive Female Extra: “Main director hoti toh tujhe kab ka nikaal di hoti”.
That did it. My verdict was given. And three hours later, it hadn’t changed much.
Well, anyway, Enthu Extra, we discover, is called Om Prakash Makhija. And anyone with a last name like that, we learn, is doomed to non-stardom. Just like… um… Govinda Ahuja
Shreyas Talpade plays hero’s friend. And holds his own even while sharing screenspace with SRK; fits the role like a glove. And Kiron Kher… mother of all overacting filmi moms. She gives the “Beta, tum aa gaya!” cliche a whole new lease of life. And reveals to us, “Asif-ji ne mujhe bulaye the… agar tu mere kok me na hote toh Mughal-e-Azam ke Anarkali Madhubala nahin, Bela Makhija hoti… Waise Madhu ne bhi role achchi tarah se ki..“.
Then we meet Shantipriya, the “Dreamygirl”, whose poster Om talks to, lengthy monologues interspersed with “Tum bore toh nahin ho rahi ho, na?“.
Filmfare awards. Om and Pappu Master steal Manoj Kumar’s passes, and manage to hoodwink the guards with “Mera Bharat Mahaan, Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” and hand strategically placed over face, Manoj Kumar ishtyle. And Om meets Shanti when her dupatta gets entangled in the Shirdi Sai Baba amulet around his wrist, which his maa tied around his wrist…..
Yes, yes, the story is getting lame. It gets worse. There are mindblowing leaps of logic, but if you mind that, Manorama Six Feet Under would be a better way to spend three hours, Mind It. Oh, and SRK also does a scene in a Sambar Western, where he plays Quick Gun Murugan [Remember him on [V]? And Udham Singh? I heard the dude who played Udham Singh married Pooja Bhatt… but I digress].
Enter our villain. The oh-so-suave sleek-ponytailed film-producer Mukesh Mehra (“Call me Mike. Everyone in Hollywood does”), played by *whistles and oooohs and sighs, please* Arjun Rampal.
Anyway, we come to plot twist 1. And then plot twist 2. And the much-awaited deaths of the lead pair. And the reincarnation of SRK. In this janam as star-son Om Kapoor, (“Call me OK, everyone in Bollywood does”) ‘just good friends’ with Preity, Bipasha and.. Sanjay Kapoor, who wins Filmfare Best Actor award (For Phir Bhi Dil Hai NRI or Main Bhi Hoon, Na), beating Abhishek Bachchan (nominated for Dhoom 5), Hrithik, and Akshay Kumar (nominated for The Return of Khiladi), and causing much heartbreak and swearing-under-breath.
Thankfully there are no thunder-and-lightning shots or repeated close-up shots of photos and idols of gods when the realization of his past birth hits him. Farah Khan doesn’t make the mistake of underestimating her audience and dwelling on the revelation.
Predictably, Om finds Sandy, who looks like Shanti, and plots and plans delivering justice to the memory of Shanti. Plot twist 3. The end.
Yes, it is paisa-vasool. Yes, it calls for suspension of disbelief. While these are normally seen as negative traits in movies, I wouldn’t quite say that about OSO. It can be called nothing but a masala movie, but it is quite unabashedly, enjoyably, delightfully, delectably one. It does not pretend to awaken the inner you, it does not pretend to attempt to bring out patriotism in you, it does not call itself a “Different” movie. The very honesty about the way it’s been made has its own appeal.
Farah Khan, just like she did in Main Hoon Na, pays tribute to the Hindi films of the ’70s and the cliches associated with them – the maa sentiment has been done to death, but so endearingly so… the language (“Happys endings”), the clothes, the behaviour of stars, the choreography…
The music suits the plot, and at no point of time did I feel a song was uncalled for, unlike my “Oh, maaaaan, stoppit!” when I was watching Sivaji. And the song picturizations!! What slick editing! You have an old video of some Sunil Dutt song, and it’s made to look like Deepika Padukone is dancing with him. One of the best things about Farah Khan is that her song picturizations are innovative, with the innovation giving the viewer something to look forward to (“Oh! Man! She’s dancing with Sunil Dutt!” and in Main Hoon Na, “Watae! The camera just follows her, no cuts!”), not just arbit stats that you’re supposed to “ooooh!” at (Do I really care if the 1000-odd sunflowers in that song in Nayak were computer-generated?).
And when the stats are something to “oooooh!” at, the “ooooh”s really are heartfelt, as in “Dharmendra! Oh.. look! Jeetu, and Tusshar Kapoor! Oh, my!! Shilpa Shetty! Kajol! Man, she looks so perfect as usual! Zayed Khan! Re-e-kh-aa! Oh, god, she looks so vampish! Karisma! Man, she’s still soooo…… why isn’t she doing any movies now? Oh. My. God… is that Tabu? *Sigh*”. And here, of course, I’m talking about the much-hyped song with 31 stars in it, and it certainly does live up to all the hype – it is shot so excellently, and all the stars look really ravishing.
Oh, and the ending credits. Just like Main Hoon Na, this flick also has its credits with everyone from SRK to the Spot Boys getting screen time, all looking their best. Watch the credits roll till the end, you won’t regret it.
The performances all simply fall in place, the characters don’t astound you individually, or catch your eye; they are just part of an overall effect. Which is perfect as far as I was concerned – what’s the point if you’re watching the movie just for SRK, or for Deepika Padukone, or Arjun Rampal if that’ll just make you miss the entire combined effect?
OSO does have its negatives, though. The senti, emotional, dramatic scenes are where Farah Khan loses her footing. Not too much, though, and she gets back in shape there with cliches. And there aren’t too many of those scenes – just a couple in the end of the first half, and a few in the second half.
And saving the best for the last – the dialogues. They aren’t Sholay-ishtyle hard-hitting ones. They are that sort that put a smile on your face when you listen to them.
And to conclude, I’ll say it’s worth a watch. On big screen, preferably. Look forward to a great first-half, an okay-ish second half, great music, great dialogues. This is one flick that lives up to all the hype it brought upon itself. Its arbit, irreverent style is what appealed best to me, best characterized by the following sequence:
Shanti: Apne naam nahin bataaoge toh kaise thank-you kahoon?
Om: Dosti ka rules – no sorry, no thank you.
Shanti: (laughs) Koi film ka dialogue hai kya?
Om: Abhi tak nahin….
Pappu Master: Om apna dialogues khud likhta hai
Shanti: Dosti ki hai, nibhani toh padegi
Outside there’s a gawky kid writing down “No sorry, no thank-you”.
Director: Sooraj-bete, kya kar rahe ho?
Sooraj: Ji, dialogue likh raha hoon.
And… I hope I haven’t spoiled anything for anyone… ‘coz Picture abhi baaki hai, mere dost. Enjoy!
PS: It feels so good to have your exams finish a full fortnight before everyone else’s. And it feels even better that all around you are slogging away for CAT, and you are not. Yeeha!!
PPS: One of my friends called out my name, and my lookalike happened to respond. “Oh,”, she said, “I’m mistaken so many times, I’ve started to respond to that also”.