Om Shanti Om – a Breath of Stale Air

When limitless ambition collides with limited talent on the Bollywood Highway, the end result is a road wreck called Om Shanti Om.

A dispiritingly commonplace theme of reincarnation packaged in a disjointed, tracing-paper-thin plot with ho-hum performances by the lead actors renders a mediocre movie that only addled fans of Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan would love.

Shahrukh Khan’s boundless ambitions and braggadocio are foiled by the talentless ensemble of acting, story, music, dance and comedy that he has cobbled together for Om Shanti Om, a home production of his Red Chillies Entertainment company.

When Hollywood can offer movies featuring ununsual themes like Lars and the Real Girl this season, why are our Bollywood bozos still trapped in five-decade-old plots?

After five dozen movies and two decades in front of the camera, if Om Shanti Om is the best that Shahrukh Khan can deliver it’s a pretty darn shame.

Watch Chances Are (1989) featuring Robert Downey in a reincarnation theme movie and you’ll realize how inadequate Shahrukh Khan is as an actor. 

Even by Bollywood’s watered down standards, Om Shanti Om’s story is not remotely credible.

Logic beats a hasty retreat in the clumsy and inexperienced hands of director Farah Khan, who also takes credit for the asinine story and choreography.

For those tempted to defend this piece of junk as an entertaining spoof, we say wake up. The satirical element comes across but barely in this movie because of the shoddy screenplay and inept acting by the dramatis personae.

If there was a Nuremberg court for incompetent Bollywood directors, Farah Khan’s repellent offering in Om Shanti Om alone would guarantee her the maximum sentence.

In his first avatar in Om Shanti Om, Shahrukh Khan plays a junior film artiste Om Prakash Makhija in love with the  “Dreamy Girl” movie star Shanti Priya (Deepika Padukone). Alas, Shanti Priya has only eyes for film producer and evil con man Mukesh Mehra (Arjun Rampal). As a result of Mukesh Mehra’s machinations, Om Prakash Makhija and Shanti Priya are packed off to their makers just before the interval.

But like the proverbial bad penny, Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone reappear after the intermission only to torment us mercilessly till the end mercifuly creeps up on us.

Shahrukh Khan and Deepika Padukone lack the screen chemistry of Shahrukh Khan-Kajol in Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge or Shahrukh Khan-Madhuri Dixit in Dil To Pagal Hai.

Also, newcomer Deepika Padukone doesn’t set the screen afire. In not one scene did we find this young lass’ presence on screen bewitching or convincing. If talent was the only consideration, Deepika Padukone wouldn’t have made it for a crowd scene. But such are the quirks of Bollywood that buff bubbleheads wrapped in a pretty package sometimes occupy center stage.

The first half of Om Shanti Om is more tolerable than the second, which is plain rubbish. Even some of the audience at the Loehmann’s Twin Cinemas (Falls Church, Virginia) at the Premiere show on Thursday night became so restless during the second half that they started talking on their cell phones and began moving about.

The much ballyhooed Deewangi Deewangi song featuring 31 stars is nothing to write home about. In a gazillion Hindi movie, we have seen such graceless foot-stomping. The only difference here is that the foot-stomping and wild gyrations masquerading for dancing was performed by recognizable faces. So what?

But the booby prize for the worst choreographed song in our memory must surely go to Dard-e-Disco. In an industry where decent dancing is de rigeur, it’s a mystery as to how Shahrukh Khan has gotten away with such bad steps for so many years.

The last song in Om Shanti Om Dastaan E is one of the better songs.

One of the well-done comical scenes in Om Shanti Om is the garish spoof of Tamil movies. We found it absolutely hilarious and laughed till tears rolled down our cheeks.

All in all, Om Shanti Om is a remorseless Diwali dampener.

Neither the story nor the acting or music make Om Shanti Om a must-watch movie. Skip it without any qualms.

Oh well, even Bollywood superstars like Shahrukh Khan are mere mortals and when you look closely enough many of them have feet of clay beneath all that swagger.

5 Responses to "Om Shanti Om – a Breath of Stale Air"

  1. beni   December 9, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Rubbish review.

    While you have the sense to realise that the ‘tiger’ bit was a spoof of tamil movies, you obviously don’t have enough to understand the whole movie was a spoof of mainstream masala Bollywood film. It was meant to be paisa vasool entertainment & it was.

    The movie does not need to make sense because the makers never meant it to. It was supposed to be a fun, mindless, OTT flick where you find humor in recognising done to death scenes, themes and references to stars from bwood.
    In any case, you ere expecting logic in a movie about reincarnation with Bollywood as a backdrop? Nice going.
    Watch it again with the new knowledge i’ve imparted to you and you will enjoy it.

    God, you must have been so annoying to watch it with. Bet you rolled your eyes and pursed your lips like a snob.
    And i hate that phrase “laughed until tears rolled..blah blah” Who actually does that?! Responds:

    1. Why is it that just on the eve of the release of Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi that you’ve suddenly started exhuming very old Shahrukh Khan posts from this blog. First it was the 10-month-old Shahrukh Khan rant against America, now it’s the year-old Om Shanti Om.

    As the sentinel Marcellus says in Hamlet (Act 1, Scene IV):

    Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

    2. Perhaps it’s time we institute a condition that people must be sober when they post a comment so that we do not have to deal with drivel from jackasses like you.

    A few days back you were spamming this blog repeatedly posting (four times) the same crap – I like Vaaranam Aayiram – until we asked to shut your trap. Once is fine but why would you say that four times. Odd. Very odd.

    Now you are back with more garbage. Sigh.

    3. If indeed this piece of shit OSO was meant to be paisa vasool entertainment , to use your hackneyed cliche, it failed miserably. The only thing this junk had was SRK’s name on the marquee, which drew in the crowds.

    4. You write: Watch it again with the new knowledge i’ve imparted to you and you will enjoy it.

    Knowledge and you are as far from each other as only antipodes can be.

    5. You write: God, you must have been so annoying to watch it with

    Not as annoying as dealing with nincompoops like you.

    Have you even watched this abomination a.k.a. OSO. There are too few specifics in your comment to indicate that you even watched this piece of crap.

    6. You write: And i hate that phrase “laughed until tears rolled..blah blah”

    Nobody here gives a flying f*** what you hate or love. Scoot.

  2. beni   December 10, 2008 at 10:54 am

    first off,
    the only reason i found this review is ‘cos YOU posted a link to it in the comment for the Saawariya review just like YOU posted a link to the “Why does Shahrukh hate America” post in the Rab Ne show times post.
    So that disqualifies your whole rant about me being some crazed fan digging up old posts.
    In any case, I’m hoping Rab Ne flops.

    If you weren’t such an egoistical idiot, you could probably understand what i was talking about in the first comment instead of hurling random baseless insults and quotes from Hamlet.
    You totally missed the point, in my comment & the lack of one, in the movie.

    And i know nobody cares. But i still hate that phrase. =D Responds:

    A relentless assault on the senses that showed no mercy to the viewers, OSO struck us as a piece of junk…whether in the movie hall when we first watched it or when we think of it in hindsight.

    The so-called spoof or satire came across but barely because of the shoddy screenplay and inept acting by the dramatis personae.

    That junk like OSO should resonate at the box office is one of life’s manifold mysteries.

    To use your lingo, Om Shanti Om was not paisa vasool but paisa ripoff.

  3. Þórarinsdóttir   December 10, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    I like spoofs, but didn’t find OSO funny.. DP (not Dual Penetration) looked gorgeous, while SRK looked jaded.

    Do egoistical and egotistical mean the same?

    I noticed “assinine” in some of your pages.. you may want to correct it.. Responds:

    1. You write: Do egoistical and egotistical mean the same?

    An egotist is constantly talking about himself/herself.

    Egoists on the other hand tend to be very self-absorbed, self-centered or selfish.

    Personally, of the two we think egoists tend to be more interesting personalities.

    2. Fixed the typo. Thanks.

  4. beni   December 10, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    angane para!

    “The so-called spoof or satire came across but barely because of the shoddy screenplay and inept acting by the dramatis personae.”

    You need to include the above in your review and take out the bits where you’re whining about logic and old plots, to make it credible. Responds:

    We must be in a really charitable mood today because we made some changes.

  5. beni   December 10, 2008 at 9:50 pm

    i won i won i won i wonnnnnnnnnn
    hihihhihihihihihihihihi =D Responds:

    Are you human or a humanoid ass.

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