I decided I would follow Astia’s remark, expressed in a recent commentary on Love aaj kal, which suggested I should review some more recent BW issues than Nutan and Bimal Roy. So as I’m of an obliging nature, I dutifully pored again in that cardboard box of mine to see what was inside, and decided I would blow the dust off that much eulogised multi-starrer which dates back *only* to 2007!! Is that recent enough?
Ah well, it’s true that my choice was a little rascally… You see I like Miss Deepika’s looks, and I was ready to go through the two hour-long potential ordeal with this little life-saver. BUT… If I did reach the other side safe and sound, I can’t say I didn’t drown now and then. Or was it the movie that had sunk somewhere in the crossing? Yes, that’s it: OSO sank back there in the stream, unable to float on its own, and even Deeps’ clever shiny eyes were unable to salvage it. (To say the truth, there was some flotsam, but we’ll see that later!)
Let me put it bluntly: I prefer when Farah Khan (great thing about blogs… you can actually say that sort of thing openly) doesn’t direct. I don’t mind her as choreographer: but why did she decide to swap roles? Main hoon na I didn’t really like either (what a grumpy character, ts), thought it was a waste of time, and I’m always uneasy with spoofs. Well, it depends, really (so you see, it depends). But Om Shanti Om is either too full, or too empty. Too full of its own worthiness, self-celebration and all that, too empty of any real purpose, any reality. Yet spoofing does just that, I suppose, putting reality at a distance. But what if the spoofing achieves nothing? You know, if I’d been on the sets, I would have tried scratching some of these characters, to see what’s under the surface. Or poking them, to check their balance (I know, that’s impolite and juvenile).
One question left: HOW MUCH did Shahrukh get paid to have to show that much stretched skin? HOW MUCH did he need? The silly pun on OK was okay, but WHY on earth did the directress need to pad her flick with ALL (nearly all, don't exaggerate) those BW faces? That trick has already been done how many times? Yeah I know that feelgood impression that overcomes you when you see your favourite stars all bunched up together. But wasn’t it a little too much? When BW looks down at its navel, what does it see? Last venom spittle: does one turn to the past when one cannot deal with the present? (That’s your case, dude. And besides, you know you're a sucker for nostalgic things).
People’s criticism apparently centred on the lack of a plot… I wonder why they say that? There is a plot: a shy young junior actor falls in love with a beautiful movie actress back in the 1970s, and she notices him (joy!), but is married (so…) to a baad guy (ugh!) who doesn’t want to let her breathe and have her baby. He brings her to a splendid hall, where he pretends he’s changed, and they will get married, but then he shuts her up and burns the place down with her inside! Om (that shy guy from the beginning) sees her and tries to save her, but is hit by thugs and crumbles to the ground. 30 years later, the same but oddly different Om appears from nowhere (in fact he’s reincarnated) and decides to nail the baad Arjun, but it’s hard to do, because he doesn’t want to get nailed. So he tries hard to confront him with his past, and make him admit what he’s done to his beloved. We know the story has to finish well, so how is it going to finish? Well, that’s where there’s a good trick: the dead actress’s ghost comes to the rescue, and reveals where her corpse is hidden! Justice is finally done. And Om gets to stay with the gorgeous pair of eyes!!
I’ve allowed myself to laugh at this plot a little, but why was it considered so bad? There are hundreds of worse plots in BW movies. This one, reincarnation, arson, spooky spoofs and the rest of it, isn’t that bad. No, what’s bad is that there’s no acting, the characters are SHALLOW and EMPTY (Halloooo? Is there anybody in there?), and too much complacency makes me sick (oh now come on, just… let them be).
So, what will I like remembering from Om Shanti Om? That moment when Shanti’s eyes cry upon leaving the scene, and climbing the stairs? And “Main Agar Kahoon”: one great song, with splendid picturisation (especially the love-bubble, with the puppets-actors fade-in). And the credits at the end, which were a fun way of finishing a movie. (I prefer that!)