Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Farah's Wit and Shahrukh's Charm

Illogical. Insipid. Outrageous. Extreme. Confused. Call it what you will, but there is no denying the fact that Om Shanti Om is one of the most entertaining films to release this year. Scratch that. It's one of the most entertaining films to release in a long time. Those who choose to actually analyze the film may find it reeking of flaws, but it is their mistake if they honestly think Farah Khan wanted to create a film that makes you think. Because what Farah has created is quite the opposite: it makes you laugh; it makes you smile; and it makes you believe that sheer entertainment is worth choosing over thoughtful cinema any day.

A parody of two generations of cinema, beginning with the 70s and later focusing on the new millennium, OSO tracks the life of junior artist Om Prakash Makhija (Shahrukh Khan) and his fascination with popular actress Shantipriya (newcomer Deepika Padukone). Somewhere along the way a reincarnation saga very reminiscent of Karz is introduced, and next thing you are dealing with starry brat Om Kapoor (SRK again), popularly known as OK. Without giving away too much of the story - although most of it is very much available online - there are also interesting characters in the forms of Pappu Master (Shreyas Talpade) and villainous producer Arjun Rampal.
Similar to Main Hoon Na, much of OSO is a parody of the film industry. What sets OSO apart from its predecessor, however, is that it is truly a laugh riot for the first two hours, at least, if not more, and never tries to become too serious. In edition, as a director Farah has improved leaps and bounds in terms of creativity and wit; it truly is a very clever film with so many digs at film cliches and stereotypes that film aficionados would be more than pleased with her efforts.

Watch out for scenes such as the South Indian shooting ("Mind it") scene, the 'all organ failure' film shoot and the Filmfare Awards ceremony; people who watch enough Indian films will know how hilarious and yet true the jokes are.

Also, every actor and actress under the sun makes an appearance in Farah & Shahrukh's labor of love. It really is heartwarming to see the support and unity that ties the industry together and shows that, despite the fights, drama and reported heat, they are willing to all come together and return the same good will that people like Farah and Shahrukh have shown them in the past.

Speaking of which, it's commendable that Shahrukh can take on two completely different roles (and many roles within these roles), make fun of himself (think Mohabbat-man, his tendency to arrive late on the sets and his identical Filmfare nominations), romance a heroine 21 years his junior and still come off convincing. He's lovable, he's charming, he's cute and he's funny. And he's not just being Shahrukh Khan. You can tell how much he loves this film, being produced under his banner and directed by one of his best friends, and Shahrukh clearly puts in his 200%. So if Farah tells him to build a six-pack and go Village People on the audience by dancing in a shirtless firefighter getup, he does it. And if she tells him to put on a red leather cowboy suit and fight a stuffed tiger, he does that, too. And never once does he come across like he's trying too hard.

Shreyas is also superb as Shahrukh's second-hand man, particularly in the first half. He's truly talented and oddly similar to fellow comedy colleague Ritiesh Deshmukh in both looks and style. It's a shame that Shreyas has to take a backseat in the second half, because he is at his best pre-intermission.

Arjun adds style and persona to the negative role he is given. He has come a long way over the years (and this is after he had already impressed in earlier films like Aankhein and Moksha), and he is sure to be talked about after OSO.

As for the alleged 'Find of the Year', Deepika Padukone, she more than lives up to the hype. Farah and Shahrukh have very smartly handled Ms. Padukone's debut, in that they do not give her any histrionics to display. Instead, she has a simple yet glamorous role and does very well with it. In addition, she looks absolutely stunning and excels in the dance sequences as well. Finally, there is a new find who not only looks good and dances well but has actual acting talent and potential, too! One thought that with all the know-nothing models walking around attempting to act of late, there would be no hope for finding future female acting talents, but Deepika defies that logic and makes the most of her debut. She will surely get offers galore. As mentioned, there may be nothing exceedingly difficult for her to do in terms of performance, but her dialogue delivery and expressions are spot on, particularly in the latter portions of the film.

The songs are all in good fun and a treat to watch. Deewangi Deewangi is the most thrilling due to cameos from virtually the whole industry (one cannot help but wonder where Sushmita Sen, Aishwarya Rai and Kareena Kapoor are, however). Dhoom Taana is hilarious to watch, while Aankhon Mein Teri (Ajab Si) and Main Agar Kahoon are beautiful in terms of lyrics, vocals and melody.

The only downside of the film is that it gets carried away in the last half hour. The climax is a little over the top, but a so-so final 30 minutes are more than forgiven when the first 2 hrs and 15 minutes are full of pure entertainment. And do not leave during the end credits - it is highly admirable that Farah gives each and every unit member a moment to shine. She clearly recognizes the worth of her entire team, and her own appearance at the end is sure to put a smile on your face. Gauri Khan looking positively radiant is also one to watch out for.

Verdict? Absolutely recommended. But if you're looking for logic, don't say I didn't warn you.


Hibah said...

I thought this movie was brilliant in terms of both acting performances and the satirical plot. FK and SRK profoundly succeed in mocking the "masala" elements of Bollywood but including them at the same time without annoying the audience.
And hearing/watching Deewangi makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Sunny said...

Wow my friends really liked it and since you have given it the thumbs up as well - I will go risk seeing it. I will keep an advil with me just in case!

Khurram said...

whatever you say - I think you are just biased because you are one of the gazillion SRK fans dying to see the abs and overlooking the movie! I haven't seen it and I am not sure if I want to see it.

Reema said...

Great review. I loved OSO so much.

Prachi said...

great review Sabs...

hmm..i'm wondering where kareena and aish and all were too...esp kareena cuz she is such a die hard SRK guessing busy shooting or otherwise occupied?

Sana Anwar said...

o my gosh! Your review was flippin spot on! that's EXACTLY what I was thinking. If you want to look at screenplay, editing, blah blah blah, all the stuff I normally look at, then this movie would suck. But for some reason you over look all that stuff because this is just so cute! I smiled the whole way through (and jumped and screamed a few times. this movie was scary :) )

And was it just me or was Rekha really scary. I mean, she looked pretty but really scary.

And I LOVED how Sharukh made fun of himself and how all of his movies are the same and how when he dies in them they are a hit. That was so cute. and the whole "we are just friends" part. O man, the list could go on and on. Anyway, I was waiting for you to put this review up and I loved it.

roopam said...

it was very funny...tho got bored in last 20mins as u said..

Suchit Dash said...

ahh sabrina...yet another solid review

I think I pretty much agree with you on most parts but I don't share the same level of "enthu" as you do. Overall I think Farah Khan does a fantastic job packaging her films to educate the audience that they don't need to find the story believable, as long as they're entertained. It has supernatural elements but it follows the underlying story that the whole movie is nothing but a movie. As a result, you can take it for what it's worth. Therefore, you can't have necessarily criticism on the film's acting because it's a conscious effort to "act". I do think, however, SRK is a complete baller and only he can be the center of attention in a movie that boasts so many cameos. It's not like Deewangi would be built around Tushaar or Aftab....

I'm not the biggest fan of Farah Khan but I have to give her props at the credits by giving shout outs to the entire crew...that's really awesome.

BTW - Deepika's first cousin went to my high school and back when I was 6, she came to our soccer game. Pretty sure she hollered at me then.....hehe

Shreya said...

OSO was very entertaining! :) I was wondering who the Ritiesh Deshmukh look-alike was until I read your post. And the Tollywood mockery was outrageously hilarious haha!!