Sunday, October 28, 2012

Om Shanti Om

I am back watching Bollywood on ErosNow!!

I am currently on the east coast in the states, on a visit, during “Frankenstorm”, watching Bollywood movies.

We shall see how ErosNow works in Mexico when I return.

I am so hooked on Bollywood, I can barely watch Western movies. I love the multiple storylines, the contrasting emotions, the over-the-top humor, the costumes, the song-and-dance numbers, the guest spots, and the evolving technical advances.

Om Shanti Om 

What the fish! Pagal! 
Run to the nearest DVD vendor and watch this movie. 

I like this movie. I have watched it three four five times. I will not deny that I run to Bollywood and Shah Rukh Khan’s movies for escape. It is like an addiction because I forget everything but what is happening on the screen yet reality is not far away.

For this review, I will highlight my favorite parts.

The opening credits include a generous thanks to many of Bollywood’s well-known stars, directors, producers and artisans then leads into a reworking of the Kishore Kumar version of the song Om Shanti Om where Kumar sings while dancing on a revolving 45-record. The scene evolves into the current movie location and characters.

Set in the 70s, in the guise of a comedic Bollywood movie-making love fest, the underlying story in Om Shanti Om is about the tragedy of wife-burning.

Shah Rukh Khan’s character, Om Prakash Makhija (and Om Kapoor); Shrevas Talpade who plays his brother, Pappu Master; and Kirron Kher who plays their mother, Bela, are junior artistes on a massive film production featuring Dreamy Girl, Shantipriva (and Sandy) played by Deepika Padukone.

Om wants to be a hero. The canteen scene where Om and his brother discuss Om’s name change is a kick. While they dwell on fame with a last name of Kapoor, a junior artiste walks by. They ask his name, laugh and tell him he needs to change it. He suggests shortening it to Govinda and walks away. Even the canteen scene highlights an historical movie fact when Om obliquely alludes to how SRK’s father once ran a canteen to serve the cast and crew on movie sets and how some big stars still owe him money even after he quit that business.

Om loves Shanti from afar. There are several scenes where Om talks to his love, Shanti, by addressing her picture on a huge billboard surrounded by other billboards featuring well-known movies like Sholay, director Farah Khan’s favorite.

It is a riot to see song-and-dance numbers from various movies from Mughal-E-Azam to a Maduri Dixit number reworked into the premiere. So many famous Bollywood stars are referenced or portrayed by others, it’s hard to keep track. In fact, one actor who was represented in the film took insult to his impersonation.

A key scene where Shanti and Om interact is a re-creation of the famous fire scene in Mother India. In Om Shanti Om, prior to any imminent danger, it’s all slapstick and fun.

Om Santi Om features a plethora of funny scenes where you see behind-the-scenes tricks in fight sequences and more. Hilarious costumes abound. Shah Rukh Khan enjoys being silly and he makes the most of it in this movie.

It is fun to see many production crew members on screen as directors and more. Also, it is interesting to see the use of special effects where past scenes are incorporated into scenes later in the movie like where Shanti makes a plea to her husband and Om observes from a distant window.

The turning point in the movie is where Mukesh Mehra (Arun Rampal) shows off a beautiful movie set to Shanti describing it as the place where they will be married before he burns the set with Shanti trapped inside. Om tries to save her but he is killed as well.

The fire scenes are impressive. I have no idea how they did it without endangering the actors. I realize the actors may not have been in danger but I still worried.

Rajesh Kapoor (Javed Sheikh) and his wife play a pivotal role in the plot turn. Thirty years after the set of Om Shanti Om burned down, they are celebrating their son’s, Om Kapoor, 30th birthday and Om begins to remember a past life. As he explores his dreams, fears, and visions, they lead him to the burnt movie set of Om Shanti Om and Shanti’s story.

The humor is still there in the scene setups with Om Kapoor as the star. I admire SRK’s self-deprecating humor, like when he mimics his signature wave of his hand through his hair. Making fun of himself keeps SRK grounded and reminds me, too, that family, friends, and faith are what are important in life not fame or adoration.

Rapidly changing scenes on the film’s various movie sets reference more famous Bollywood movies with comic gags, set pieces, and guest shots like the farcical over-the-top take-off on the Filmfare awards ceremonies featuring multiple guest shots with Abhisheck Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan, Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai, Rishi Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Rakesh Roshan, Hrithik Roshan, Karan Johar, Diya Mirza, and more.

As Om takes the Filmfare award, he experiences the vision of a drunk Om Prakash Makhija in an alleyway and gives Makhija’s wistful award speech, “If you want something with all your heart, the entire universe will conspire to help you get it….I feel like the king of the world…to happy endings! Finally … if it is not happy then it’s not the end, the film is not over yet.”

The song Om Shanti Om is featured in various renditions. In the vigorous birthday song and dance rendition, it is peppered with copious Bollywood big names. It is a joy to see Kajol, Rani, Juhi, Preity and others. It is another way the movie pays tribute to those who make wonderful movies. Plus, I love men who dance like Sanjay Dutt, Zayed Khan, and more!! 

Om Kapoor is played as a self-centered Bollywood star whose visions convert him into a serious man with a mission.

The second half of the movie is more dramatic as Om Kapoor sets the stage to reveal Mehra’s crime.

Deepika Padukone plays Shanti as a graceful, delicate, vulnerable star and her reprisal in the role of Sandy is funny as Sandy is beautiful, naïve, and clumsy.

Kirron Kher’s wide range of acting abilities are seen in her role as Om Makhija’s over-dramatic mother. Then, they are demonstrated again, as his aged mother as she chases Om Kapoor’s car begging him to come home and later in her role as a demented seer.

Shrevas Talpade as Pappu Master is delightful, light-hearted and an easy foil for Om.

Udit Narayan is a playback singer whose voice I love, I could pick his voice out in the first notes of the Deewangi Deewangi and Om Shanti Om songs.

The remainder of the movie is the tale of how Om Kapoor deceives Mukesh into completing his abandoned film, Om Shanti Om, featuring more behind-the-scenes movie-making processes.

In an early scene where Om is trying to convince Mukesh to finish the film, Om Shanti Om, I feel Om makes a profound statement, “If you search hard enough you can find god.”

Om leads Mukesh back to the burnt movie set where mysterious things happen leading to revealing moments from his past.

Again, Director Farah Khan makes the closing credits fun to watch. Now, Gauri Khan, one of the movie’s producers and SRK’s wife, has been captured in pixels walking the red carpet. She is beautiful and slim. All I can think of was ‘I need to exercise—a lot!’

As Om said in his Filmfare award acceptance speech: “To happy endings, if not, it’s not the end, my friends, the film is not over yet.”

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