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Om Shanti Om: Feast for Shahrukh fans, average fare for the rest
Diwali witnessed two releases: Saawariya and Om Shanti Om. With early reports trickling in, Saawariya is already losing out to Om Shanti Om. Based on inter-textual insights, Om Shanti Om has got a mixed response so far.
FARAH KHAN’S second outing, as a director is an ode to cinema she grew up on: the films of the 70’s.
 
Om Prakash Makhija (Shahrukh Khan) is a junior artiste in the film industry. His only dream is to be a superstar. Tough call, as his friend (Shreyas Talpade) puts it. However, his mother (Kiron Kher) is confident that her son will not only make it, but also win the love of his dream-girl, reigning superstar, Shanti Priya (Deepika Padukone).
 
However, Shanti is already in a relationship with her producer Mukesh Mehra (Arjun Rampal). His dream is to be the movie-mogul of Bollywood.
 
However, the news that Shanti Priya is pregnant doesn’t gel with him as it jeopardises his dream project, his biggest film, Om Shanti Om. To further aggravate the matters, Shanti wants to marry him.
 
Mukesh decides to kill Shanti. He burns the studio with Shanti inside. Om tries to save her and is badly hurt in the fire. To add to his misery, he is hit by the car of reigning superstar, Rajesh Kapoor (Javed Sheikh) and dies.
 
Thirty years later (second half)…
 
Om Kapoor (Shahrukh Khan) – Rajesh Kapoor’s son - is the new superstar, who is afraid of fire (quite naturally).
 
Mukesh, who has since relocated to Hollywood where he is known as Mike, wants to make a big-budget film with Om.
 
However, on seeing Mukesh, Om recollects his past life. He recollects the manner in which he was killed together with Shanti. All he wants is justice for Shanti.
 
So he plans an expose with Sandy (Deepika Padukone) where he tells Mukesh to revive Om Shanti Om. His plan is to scare Mukesh with the help of Sandy and to make him confess.
 
The plan is in place, but Mukesh sees that Sandy gets hurt and bleeds.
 
However, before Mukesh can do any harm, the ghost of Shanti kills Mukesh.
 
Cast in a formulaic mould, the film borrows liberally from Karz (note Shahrukh doing the climax song a la Rishi) and from Madhumati, the entire climax with the ghost of the female protagonist avenging herself.
 
The 70’s feel is evident from the opening-frame with an opulent RC Studio (note the connection with ‘RK Studio’) where the shooting of Karz is on. Cut to the cult Karz number Om Shanti Om (the film thus takes its title) with a young Rishi dancing, young Subhash Ghai directing and young Shahrukh Khan in the melee of extras that sport the Bachchan hairstyle.
 
The biggest Unique Selling Proposition of Om Shanti Om is that it doesn’t hide any inferences or references.
 
Shahrukh and Deepika enact the famed Mother India episode, where a struggling Sunil Dutt saved the then superstar Nargis from fire. 
 
Deewangi Deewangi song is probably an ode to John Johny Janardan from Manmohan Desai’s Naseeb.
 
There is a scene where junior Govinda is told to change his name from Govind Ahuja to Govinda if he wants to become a hero.
 
Satish Shah gleefully tells Arjun Rampal, “I have put a Satyajit Ray angle, a Bimal Roy angle and a Guru Dutt angle.” Arjun Rampal tells him tongue-in-cheek, “ek Mamohan Desai angle bhi lagaana (please put a Manmohan Desai angle too).”
 
Then, there is the Filmfare Award night, where Abhishek Bachchan and Akshay Kumar lose out to Om Kapoor.
 
However, the dialogue “Dosti mein thank you aur sorry nahin hota” and a Sooraj Barjatya look-alike noting it, was audaciously cheap.
 
All these factors make an enjoyable first half (never mind the two irritants Mrignayani and Tumko Paaya Toh Jaise Khoya Hoon). 
 
However, the second half is a downer when compared to the first half. The focus shifts on Shahrukh plotting revenge and the pace slackens. Also, Shahrukh’s cool dude act falls flat.
 
The Red Chillies VFX team has set new standards in visual effects as they merge Deepika with yesteryear super-stars – Sunil Dutt, Rajesh Khanna and Jeetendra.
 
Shahrukh Khan is brilliant in parts – Om Prakash Makhija; too good in parts – climax sequence; too bad in parts – the cool dude act (his fish is so irritating, you wanna scream ‘phiss’). At places, particularly in close-ups, the age shows.   
 
Shreyas Talpade proves yet again that he is a quite natural. Kiron Kher is apt.
 
Arjun Rampal fails to portray a strong antagonist.
 
Deepika Padukone sizzles (should have more of her in the 2nd half). She has big expressive eyes and an innocent charm, on top that a fabulous figure. You have the next big heroine.
 
Abhishek Bachchan and Akshay Kumar are perfectly ‘cast’ as contenders for Filmfare Award along-with Om Kapoor. While Abhishek gives the correct look on loosing out to Om for Dhoom 5 (ahem!), it is Akshay with his Return of Khiladi act, which gets the maximum applause in the entire film (superstar?).
 
The best part of the film is, though, cast in Manmohan Desai mould, it adheres to logic. How else do you warrant Om Kapoor becoming a superstar?
 
 Background Music by Sandeep Chowta is simply brilliant and enhances the impact of each scene manifolds.
 
The much-hyped Dard-E-Disco fails to weave any magic. Editing could have been crisper; particularly the songs should be chopped off.
 
The best part of the film is end credits: even spot-boys and camera-attendants get screen-space.
 
Overall a feast for Shahrukh fans, an average fare for average audiences.
 
 
Rating: 5 on 10
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