Tuesday, November 13, 2007

On Shanti Om

On a windy Saturday night Nidhi, her Mum and I went to see Om Shanti Om in Kirkland - no it's not the hometown of Captain Kirk.

The dark night hovered over dark lifeforms - including us 3 lest the reader take this as a racial remark. And a line of bobbing dark (haired) heads extended 20 yards - point is it was long - from the ticket window, in which sat Mishu - one of the owners, and a good guy, without whom there'd be no MasalaMovies in the Seattle metro area - accepting payments, printing tickets like a ticket machine (with a smile).

It was a full house. Full of young Indians, each comfortable, confident being who they were - quite evident that most were from India, hence devoid of visible confusion and audible accent that comes with being Indian of US origin.

Why these smart, hip people were watching a film starring a middle aged, janata (जनता), anything but hip or smart guy remains a mystery even right now, but enough of this!!

Then the show started. Roadside Romeo looks great, and puts another feather in the cap of Aditya Chopra - the man's vision is phenomenal, his courage amazing, and that starting with DDLJ he has reinvented Yashraj Films, his success matches the success of Shining India (I get carried away with stuff like that, so please let's not get me going about Kishore Biyani). Dus Kahaniyan seems interestingly gritty and Jodha Akbar is a stunning vast moving landscape shimmering with heat and light and people in armor and finery. Beautiful - should be India's entry in a foreign festival.

Om Shanti Om roared to a start with Rishi Kapoor as a singing prop (singing Om Shanti Om) to introduce our hero, and also to associate the name with a phenomenally popular tune. It's a very clever idea. Rishi Kappor rocked on a revolving record wearing a ridiculous white outfit that only he can carry (which I secretly wish to wear when Karz was released)

Then we meet the remaining populace of OSO - spunky, warm and funny mother, supporting, believing friend, and another prop - very pretty prop - Shanti played with required vacuousness by Deepika Padukone. She is very leggy, with a very nice tummy which isn't wash-board flat (Om's is - and artificially at that - meaning everything from surgery and ass breaking work-out), and a sculpted face (Shanti's) with prominent cheekbones, big dark eyes, and a nice full mouth.

So stuff happens, Om is quite boring - when he asks a billboard if it/ she billboard is bored I wanted to say, "fuckin' bored man, and frankly you sound retarded talking in public in broad day light to a billboard".

Point is Om is an aspiring actor, product of aspiring actors (one since deceased), in love with a top Star. Friend and Mother encourage his foolish fantasies with doses of realism like changing his name. Then Om saves Shanti from a burning set, and goes on to sing a song to her in a massive movie set which he can't afford, but reality this is a movie - point is by this time:

sets are ugly
music is passe
choreography is mundane - what the fuck? It's a film directed by India's top choreographer and she isn't doing Chhaiya Chhaiya here?

Then Om cannot save Shanti from another burning movie set, set on fire by a man who when on screen with our Om is a great comparison in acting and over acting - okay no one is saying Arjun Rampal is a Robert De Niro or even Keshto Mukerjee - but he displayes an economy of expression whereas Shahrukh Khan goes into paroxysm of facial twitches, most unattractive of which is the droopy smile which makes his lower lip look massive.

Shanti dies, Om does too, the movie continues. By this time some people including my Sweetest Darling has found much mirth in the scene where Om is playing (man who can't pay his chai bill, rents another studio locale and extras to play an actor to impress Shanti - but it's a movie so let's go along with it) - though "naughty pussy" was funny.

Then Om is reborn. Looks 39 acts 19. Then without rhyme or reason he takes his shirt off and keeps it off while women throw water at him in buckets. So we see his abs, pity did not get to see the glutes.

By this time its evident that this is a vehicle to re brand SRK as a sexy, macho male of Bollywood. Deepika is a prop, sets are a prop, even dancing is, nothing can take viewers' attention away from his body, his face, his dialogue delivery - nothing, His wife didn't produce this for nothing. This is to pit SRK against Salman and Hritik who have monopolized baring bulging chests and biceps giving many an Indian women a naughty thrill down there. So its SRK's turn to turn sexy - he's not a middle class guy with lower middle class looks but a raging sex symbol with an amazing body which we get to see lots of times - wet, shining body too. And what a great present to give oneself - a sexy image. Though he is quite unintelligent when it comes to talking and acting (behaving included).

By this time new Om has found he is old Om so finds old Mum and Buddy and wants to avenge Shanti's death, and luckily the killer is still alive and within reach so drama begins to snare him (killer) in a trap of bad, garish sets, bad costumes and mediocre score. Bad man is smart but is outsmarted by super natural so is not only trapped but also killed. Then, oh yes, the new Shanti now called Sandy is either laid or laid off by Om and family (I don't remember).

Only redeeming feature of the film is the opening and the closing in which the crew got to make an appearance. Most irritating part of the film is Om - overly overacting in 2nd part.

Someone should tell him that baring chests doesn't make stars. Fabio is good for that. DeNiro, Brando, Hoffman and Bachchan are made with talent, and an image that doesn't erode with age because they find scripts that allow them to act their age.

Imagine Nicholson acting 40? Now why does SRK act 20 or early 30 something? And why would anyone want to watch that?

I did because Nidhi wanted to see what the buzz was about, and I'm glad we did because despite bad script, direction, music and sets Om Shanti Om works because it feels different - it feels like a new type of a movie - not Bheja Fry, but still new.

On that note WATCH BHEJA FRY.

No comments: