I’ve recently had a bit of respite from a month’s hell, and my sister, from a year’s… and we’ve been catching up on movies we’ve missed.Here are the highlights:
You wonder if Nagesh Kukunoor had a lobotomy or his brain tissue was replaced with that of Abbas-Mastan… is this the same guy who directed Rockford and Hyderabad Blues? And if you haven’t watched it yet, I’ll spoil it for you: The villain is Akshay Kumar’s evil twin. And Ayesha Takia is his girlfriend, while pretending to be the girlfriend of the Hero Akshay Kumar. What hits rock bottom however, is when the evil Akki says to the good Akki after it is revealed that Ayesha Takia is the evil one’s girl too, “We have the same taste… isn’t that kinky?’. *Gag*.
My colleague wondered why no one in the movie thought of showing Akshay Kumar a picture of the night sky or some other bit of the universe, given he can go back in time and space to identify the events before and after the image was clicked.
I couldn’t finish watching Gulaal. But whatever I saw of it… awesome. Kay Kay Menon is enchantingly fiery and calculative. Mahi Gill suits her role perfectly. They couldn’t have picked a better guy for the role of a nerdy fresher than Raj Singh Chaudhary. I’ll finish watching it one of these days.
Fast-paced. Nice storytelling style. I’d like that applied to other sorts of stories… just to see how it’d work.
In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones
The one I liked best. It’s a really nice slice-of-life movie about students at the School of Planning and Architecture. You see so many movies depicting hostel life, youth, students and stuff like that…. but none have come so close to reality as this one has. In most such movies, you’ll have the hero riding a bike and having a hot girlfriend, but here he’s stocky, unattractive, takes a rick, doesn’t even get the maximum screen space, and has a cabaret dancer for a fiancee. The villain is supposed to be the head of the department…. in any other movie, he’d've been an intimidating guy suited and booted all through, and who doesn’t do an ounce of good work…. but here, he’s played by the diminutive Roshan Seth, dresses just as unimpressively as the profs at NITK, lives under his mother’s thumb, and can be seen at the drawing board even at late hours… but is mighty condescending and sarcastic and his tongue-lashings that begin with a “My dear donkey” rather remind you of some of the more condi profs you’ve met. Just when you wonder how such a guy can be evil, you get to know he’s holding a grudge against a student and has flunked him for four years just because on a dare he peed next to him in the bogs and looked over the side… and you see him whispering to the other thesis jury members that this student is a hardcore drug addict….. evil, evil Prof.
Quite a star-cast… Himani Shivpuri is the cabaret-dancing fiancee. Shah Rukh Khan (yes, the very same) is a random student with a few lines of dialogue who is credited as one of the ‘Other Others’. Arundhati Roy (yes, the very same) is one of the main characters, apart from doing the story and screenplay.
It amazes me how little she has changed over the course of twenty years (more so since the same twenty years have changed me beyond recognition). She sounds the same. Speaks the same commie crap. Gets credited for absolute nonsense – in the movie, her character gets away with complete crap presented for the Art Thesis and even manages to secure the highest marks in the class…. not much has changed.
But what shocks me is her looks. She has the same ungainly way of walking still. Wears a saree the same way, with a short pallu. Wears her hair the same unkempt way. And her build hasn’t changed at all! She’s still the same anorexic-looking stick-thin woman. If it weren’t for her wrinkles, I’d suggest she’s some sort of a non-learning robot in which the things to speak, walk, dress, write have been hardcoded long ago….. maybe we can call her Paranoid Android.
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”.