Newest Review: ... this film.The movie is based on reincarnation of Om (ShahRukh Khan).The first part of the story is based on the 70's,Om is a junior artist ... more
A slice of Bollywood fun
Om Shanti Om (DVD)
Member Name: sunmeilan
Om Shanti Om (DVD)
Advantages: Funny, great story, colourful
Disadvantages: Cheesy and silly
Film only review
Om Prakash Makhija is a bit part actor, aspiring to hit the big-time. He falls in love with the star of the day, the beautiful Shanti, and manages to get close to her by rescuing her from a fire. Then he discovers that Shanti is already secretly married and pregnant, to the well-known Bollywood producer, Mukesh Mehra. Unfortunately, Mukesh isn't happy about his wife's pregnancy, because it means his marriage will be discovered and he won't be able to milk another woman for her money. He tries to murder Shanti, unaware of the fact that Om is watching. Om tries to rescue Shanti, but both of them die.
Fast forward 30 years and the reincarnation of Om as Om Kapoor means that he is now a famous actor who can't remember anything about his past life. Then he begins to get flashbacks and works out what went on. When he has the chance to work with Mukesh on a film, he jumps at it, desperate for revenge. Will he be successful? And has Shanti also been reincarnated?
A note before I begin the review - this is the first Bollywood film that I have seen, so this review is very much from a novice's point of view. If you're hoping for comparisons to other Bollywood films, you might want to look elsewhere.
Shahrukh Khan plays Om in both guises and was highly enjoyable to watch. I wasn't expecting his role to be a serious one and it is far from being so. In fact, much of the time, he is hilarious. I think I preferred him as Om Prakash, simply because he was a lot more humble and was always making himself look stupid. As Om Kapoor, he is much more confident and sure of himself and it wasn't immediately as easy to accept him and want him to win through. Khan obviously knows how to laugh at himself and I liked that - although he did take a few opportunities to strip off and show us all what a lovely body he has! Obviously, I've no idea how this role compares to others he has taken on, but from what I've seen here, I would be happy to see him again.
Deepika Padukone plays Shanti and then returns in the 'thirty years later' section as another character. This is apparently her first film role. It is hard to judge her acting skills, mainly because much of her role involves looking beautiful and feminine - although she certainly does that very well. However, there is the odd flash of talent, when she is arguing with her husband and then towards the end of the film when she has a rather emotive performance. I certainly enjoyed her performance, although she clearly comes second in the billing to Shahrukh Khan.
Other notable performances include Kiron Kher as Om's mother and Arjun Rampal as Mukesh Mehra. The former was truly hilarious, especially in the 'thirty years later' section, when she is obviously much older and more than a little bit bats. Arjun Rampal's role is probably the most under-stated of the main characters, but he did a good job nevertheless. Unfortunately, his 'thirty years later' make-up wasn't terribly convincing. There are apparently any number of other famous Bollywood actors in the film - obviously I didn't recognise them, but anyone who is more au fait with Bollywood films should have a great deal of fun with people-spotting.
When I realised that the film was 162 minutes in length, I expected to be bored rigid by about half way through. A film should be no longer than two hours as far as I am concerned. I was amazed to find that I found this film more compelling the longer I watched it. The story is really quite simple and more than a little bit silly, but it is sweet and intriguing and funny - and the almost supernatural twist means that it isn't immediately obvious which way the film is going to go - at least not to me. The humour is a mixture of tongue-in-cheek and laugh out loud, although I'm sure I missed many cultural references. I particularly enjoyed Shahrukh Khan's silliness - there is one scene in the second part of the film where he catches bullets and then fires a gun, not by using his hands, but apparently his belly button! It has to be seen to be appreciated!
One thing that has always put me off Bollywood films is the singing and dancing. I'm not a big fan of musicals in English, and the fact that the singing would be in Hindi in this case, didn't encourage me much. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole extravaganza. Some of the singing is in English in any case, but it really didn't matter, the songs are catchy. And the dancing was amazing. I loved the way they moved - there's something about the arm movements that are incredibly graceful. All this was set off by the magnificent costumes, which must have cost a fortune - the women in particular are dressed in all colours of the rainbow. Most of the spoken language is in Hindi (with a little bit in English) and subtitled, but I found the subtitles very easy to follow - and in any case, action rather than the spoken word is the key here.
Everything about the film is cheesy, and whereas I think it is hard for a musical not be cheesy, this one was particularly so. The plot is also ludicrous. However, this is deliberate, it isn't supposed to be taken seriously, and in fact, it is this whole element that kept me watching past my two hour limit. This meant that I over-looked some of the special effects, which might otherwise have looked stupid. I imagine the film must have cost a fortune to make, with big sets, expensive costumes and the number of well-known actors, but ultimately, I think it was worth it.
It has been a while since I've seen a film as entertaining as this one. Perhaps it is because I am new to Bollywood films, but I found it original, highly colourful and very very funny. As an introduction to Bollywood films, I think it was an excellent choice. If you've been put off watching such films because you're concerned about the language/singing/dancing/cultural differences, don't be - you might just enjoy this film as much as I did. Highly recommended.
The DVD is available from play.com for £10.99 (two disc version). Rent it if you think the price is too high.
Running time: 162 minutes
Summary: A big bundle of fun!