Review: Om Shanti Om

Updated on Nov 13, 2007 11:02 AM IST

Want to celebrate the crunch-popcorn-Manmohan Desai movies of yore? Then you’ve come to the right place. Farah Khan’s Om Shanti Om is dedicated to the imperishable magic of the movies, avers Khalid Mohamed. What our surfers say...

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Hindustan Times | ByKhalid Mohamed, Mumbai

Om Shanti Om
Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Arjun Rampal
Direction: Farah Khan
Rating: ****

Yesterday’s gangsta moll, Bindu, is now bigger than a shopping mall. No one can carry off a suit as sharply as Dharmendra, jackflash like Jeetendra, and hey dude, Mithun Chakraborty is still the disco champ. As for Rekha, guys, ma’am can blow the stockings off any fashion ramp. Drool.

Want to celebrate the crunch-popcorn-Manmohan Desai movies of yore? Then you’ve come to the right place. Farah Khan’s Om Shanti Om is dedicated to the imperishable magic of the movies. Flog them or fume over them, but nothing compares to those tickets which make fantasies real. Mmm, that’s entertainment.

Be warned though. You really have to love the matinee madness to go rah-rah at the homages to the classics (like the haystack fire from Mother India), and hello, even larkish lampoons. Govinda, Manoj Kumar, Feroz Khan, Rajnikant, the Bachchans, Yash ‘Swiss’ Chopra, Sooraj Barjatya, are all targets of affectionate humour. Chuckle.

Clearly, the choreographer-director’s zest for the movies is apparent right from the moment, she kicks off with a clip from the Omrao Jaan act performed in Karz (1980). Subhash Ghai is directing , his facial expressions are a laugh riot. Cut, cut, cut, the camera alights on a jazzy junior artiste (Shah Rukh Khan) who’d love to be Chintu baba, Rajesh Khanna, a star! Zoom over to a physically challenged Baby Naaz-type, chasing her brother a la Sacha Jhuta. Yup our wanna-Khanna is among the baraatis. Howlarious.

Of course, there’s no plot. Wanna-Khanna flips for Dreamy Girl (Deepika Padukone) with that Hema Malinesque smile. Baddy movie tycoon (Arjun Rampal) organises a studio fire. Blood, burns, deaths, the works! Oh oh.

Some 30 years later, the wannabe has become Megastar OK, gets these terrible aag-hi-ugh headaches, and vows to exterminate Baddy. In the bargain, he reunites with Lady Malini, Chum Papoo (Shreyas Talpade, nice nice) and Masala Mum (Kirron Kher, ticklishly over the top). All quite easily done. QED.

OSO, so wonderful, the ‘70s are rocking. But the latter-half is a bit of a head clanger. In fact, you want to rush the screenplay to the ICU unit. Oxygen laao! The transitions to the reincarnation stuff are sloppy, insulting to the intelligence of the viewer.

Staggeringly, apna Om-reborn meets his mum etc as if mythological hero Mahipal had given him a road map. Dame Dreamy pops out of thin air. During the climax, a door is suddenly jammed. Now, that never happen even in the Joginder Singh jamborees.

The finale does drag. Fortuitously, the end credits are marvellous. As in Main Hoon Na, the entire cast and crew shows up for a jig. Brightly photographed, OSO returns the smiley to your face. The dialogue has wit; Vishal-Shekhar’s music is remarkable for the title track and the spoofy six-pack Dard-e-disco. The unqualified piece de resistance, though, is the Naseeb-inspired song-and-dance with the who’s-why of showbiz fetching up to shake a leg. Wah!

Of the cast, Arjun Rampal is consistently first-rate as the suave villain. And Deepika Padukone is fantastic, so surprisingly assured that you marvel at her poised debut.

Above all the enterprise belongs to Shah Rukh Khan, who tackles comedy, high drama and action with his signature style – spontaneous and intuitively intelligent. Six-pack or no-packs, he’s the entertainer of the year in this valentine to the movies - hatched and delivered by Farah Khan. A must for masala movie lovers.

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