Cliched as it may sound, Om Shanti Om redefines the term “masala film” for our generation. Ok, so it’s a love story. It’s a reincarnation theme. It’s also a spoof of Bollywood in the seventies and of the present-day star-son/guest-appearance syndrome. At parts, it becomes a horror movie, or at least tries to. It makes over-acting an integral part of the script. Yes, and lest you say “there was no script”, I beg to disagree. Loved every minute of it, and bunked office on Tuesday to go check out the IMAX version. Current count: 3.
The film is a complete exercise in over-the-top chutzpah – the icing on the cake would have been if FK had gotten Karan Johar to speak to the camera during the award ceremony, and say – “Om Kapoor and I are just friends.” The self-inflated star cameos were BRILLIANT – it was almost like the actors took the personalities one would associate with them and turned them all the way up to 11. Part of this unabashed attitude is reflected in the song lyrics – I hardly ever notice words to songs unless they are Gulzar’s lines tuned by Vishal Bharadwaj – but rhyming “pichhle mahiney ki chhabbisko” with “dil mein mere hai dard-e-disco” is hardcore, man. Respect, Javed Akhtar. And the composer duo Vishal-Shekhar, in particular Vishal Dadlani manages to floor me everytime – he’s the lead singer of Pentagram the band, who blew me away the day I heard him sing Bjork’s ‘Army of Me’ on stage. He is at home composing a cheesy Bollywood number like ‘Dil Dooba’ ( Khakee), goes on to sing the catchy ‘Kiss of Love’ in Jhoom Baraabar Jhoom and now, apart from composing the songs in OSO, writes the lyrics to ‘Ajab Si’ – man, the line “dil ko banaade jo patang, saansey teri woh hawaaye hai” just kills me. Also, the man makes a guest appearance as the microphone-twirling director of Mohabbat-man, bwahahahaha.
And the references. Right from the seventies billboards of Schweppes and Exide batteries – to the small details (a poster of ‘Baali Umar Ko Salaam’ hangs on the wall, the debut film of our heroince Shantipriya, referenced in a throwaway line somewhere in the first half). Manoj Kumar’s driving license, Subhash Ghai getting into the directorial groove, Mohabbat-man, the making of Apahij Pyaar, Tiger fights – I could go on, you know that? This kind of self-referential, in-joke-laden storytelling gets to you most of the times, but not in Om Shanti Om. This is the kind of film that begs you to grab a bucket of popcorn, sink into a chair and laugh along with it. And then when the film is over, you need to go back and figure out how many of the jokes you missed the first time around. Inspired lunacy does that to you.
I also saw Mahesh Bhatt’s Dhokha this week. Nice plot, about a Muslim police officer whose life falls apart when he learns his wife is a suicide bomber. In true-blue Vishesh Films’ fashion, the overblown script-writing and the non-existent acting proceeds to drive the plot towards a predictable conclusion. Pathetic execution.
And I bought the newly-released two-disc edition of Chak De India on Friday, and then watched the film a couple of times on Sunday. The deleted scenes, in this case, are scenes which have been editted out from the final cut, with a lot of subplots and incidents missing. One of the hockey girls, in particular, gets the short end of the stick, with her story being a prominent subplot that gets excised. And my DVD player refused to go beyond the interval, which I think was because of the layer transition in the DVD. I had to finish it on my PC instead.
And also, for the first time ever, ALL my books are back with me, from various parts of the world.