Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sideburns and Bellbottoms

'Om Shanti Om', widely touted as the tribute to the kitschy cinema of the 1970s, features the re-union of SRK and Farah Khan after the hugely successful 'Main Hoon Naa'. SRK, a lot like Sreenivasan in 'Udayananu Tharam', plays a supremely untalented junior artist who wants to make it big. And make no mistake, this is a role tailor-made for the trademark mannerisms of SRK the star (as opposed to the actor, who reigned supreme with effective performances in 'Swades' and 'Chak De') - the stammer, the arched quirky eyebrows and the omnipresent hamming rather make sense in a movie like this, really. And his bubblegum-chewing modern star-son act, though irritating, hits the mark all too well - I mean, I can all too well imagine a Fardeen Khan or Tushaar Kapoor doing the same things!

However, I have to admit that I very much preferred the cheeky 'Main Hoon Naa' to this bloated, bursting-at-the-seams star vehicle. Yes, OSO does have some great in jokes (my personal favorites are the by-now-infamous Manoj Kumar sequence, the throwaway Govinda bit and of course the delightful 'Maine Pyar Kiya' reference), the awesome spoof on Filmfare awards, and also features
the original 'Om Shanti Om' song sequence from one of the greatest masala potboilers of Hindi cinema ever. However, it also has a rather boring plot, inadequate music (despite the catchy six-pack ditty), an over-hyped 31-star song where one is forced to hear (for the first and probably only time ) admiring oohs when the likes of Arbaaz Khan, Sunil Shetty, Dino Morea etc enter the frame, and worst of all, a complete letdown of a climax 'inspired' from the above-mentioned 'Karz' (and another classic too, revealing the name of which would probably spoil what little novelty the climaz holds). 'MHN' managed to pay the same kind of homage, with a lot more tongue-firmly-in-cheek humor, and more importantly, without the conceit and pomp associated with this film.

The supporting cast comprises chiefly of the delightful Kiron Kher (who does the melodramatic Nirupa Roy kind-of role with just that amount of cheesiness), the under-utilized Shreyas Deshpande, and the surprisingly-sleazy-looking Arjun Ramphal (who, judging by his past few films, has firmly hitched onto the SRK bandwagon to make hay even while the sun does not shine). Deepika Padukone looks fantastic, and emotes well with what little she is entrusted with. Farah Khan's song picturizations are, surprisingly, lackluster. She has been claiming in quite a few interviews that conventional Bollywood choreography bores her nowadays, and believe me, the dis-interest shows. However, the rest of the film is super-grand technically, visually and aesthetically.

What does Farah Khan do next, though? She already has two films that pay homage to the bygone era of Bollywood, and appears to have exhausted the nostalgia factor. The litmus test for her would be whether she can make a completely different film next time - a whodunit perhaps?

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