Sunday, December 30, 2007

Om Shanti Om

Nothing was going to keep me from going to see Om Shanti Om. Nothing!



It was only playing once in my hometown. I actually had to skip class to go(Ironically, a class about Indian culture). My brother was supposed to accompany me, but he got sick the night before (wimp) and backed out. Mom offered to watch my daughter, but if she wouldn't have I would have dragged little Isa too.

What an experience!The movie was pure entertainment...And if I was uncertain at any point I know for sure now that Shahrukh Khan lives for the sake of making movies his fans will enjoy. If director Farah Khan was the breath in Om Shanti Om,then SRK was the air that gave it life, stretching his over hyped image to its length just so we would get a good laugh. I've never seen Main Hoon Naa, but if its anything like this, I'm in!



The critics said Om Shanti Om lacked a substantial plot(yet they ironically embraced Saawariya), but let's face it, the movie was only supposed to be sugary fluff anyways. And when you hold it up to those standards, the plot was actually pretty good. The whole good guy/bad guy aspect reminded me of any typical Hollywood commercial flick, particularly one you would go take your kid to see that's like based off of a comic character or something, but the reincarnation spin added a different twist from that idea(unless you've grown up on Bollywood, in which case you may be sick of reincarnation used in films). But who cares about the plot, right? I didn't, for once(that's how much fun I had)!

The movie theater was packed. Not a seat left in the house. Since I was alone, I did get some odd stares, but I sat next to a mother with a baby(who miraculously didn't make a peep for the entire film--I was so glad I didn't bring my daughter)and a seat that was out of order, which worked out kind of nice because I didn't feel smushed in by strangers(not that I'm uncomfortable with that in particular, but I always like a little elbow room).



As it turned out, the fullness of the movie theater made everything more exciting, because the audience was so reactive. This was helpful when attempting to understand all of the jokes, a bit of a challenge for a Bollywood rookie such as myself. If the audience laughed, I knew it was a joke(obviously). The cool thing was, most of the time I did get the jokes, and was laughing right along with them(how far I've come in my journey through Bollywood!)!

Speaking of audience reaction, Deepika Padukone got the most cheers from the guys that I've seen since Salma Hayek made her debut in Desperado. When she made her second entrance in the last half of the film, I even heard a guy shout, "Thank you, Director!"



I was completely starstruck for the awards ceremony piece and the 31 star cameo song, "Deewangi". I literally had butterflies in my stomach as I waited with baited breath for each star to appear, particularly Kajol...and the crowd's delight heightened my own. Kajol,Salman Khan and Shilpa Shetty got the loudest applause from everyone, and Rekha got something between an applause and a gasp. The only thing I didn't get about this song was that while its supposed to be oh-so-cool, the English lyrics would be laughable if ever played in any of the nightclubs here in the U.S.("All cool boys, come on make some noise"? Come ON, people!).



I won't go on a tangent about SRK's now famous six pack. But I will say that I usually don't care whether guys are ripped or not, and I already love SRK for non-physical reasons. But when "Dard-E-Disco" came on, most of us were speechless(read into that what you will). Even the guys. I imagine plenty of them in the theater that night went home to dust off their Ab-rollers.

The romance of the film was weak, but that was okay too. At least I got "Main Agar Kahoon", which allowed me to do one of my favorite things--watch Shahrukh Khan fall in love.



The characters were adorable when playing the starstruck fan roles. I could have just hugged SRK's Om from the first half of the film, and I could see myself in Sandy, Deepika's second character, as she watched Om Kapoor's movies with hearts in her eyes(never mind that she's supposed to be a teenager and I'm 26).

One final thought on Deepika...As we all were leaving the theater, I overheard someone say, "She did a much better job than Sonam", while her friends nodded in agreement. Not an entirely fair statement, in my opinion, but worth mentioning.

Text (c) 2007 Nida Nazir Bitten By Bollywood

10 comments:

ceci0924 January 3, 2008 at 8:36 PM  

You do such a wonderful job reviewing the movie, I really wish I could have gone with you to see it at the theater.

Anonymous,  April 3, 2008 at 4:09 AM  

Hi Nida

I am a born-again Bollywood freak like you. I only got into BW in 2007, and I am not Indian in any way, but I knew that on 9 November there was no way I was going to be anywhere else than in the cinema watching Om Shanti Om. I loved Main Hoon Na so so much, and like you identified with Deepika's character watching it over and over. I have watched it nine times now, and I am sure you would love it too!

I enjoyed your write-up of OSO very much. I went to see it twice, luckily finding some friends to go with me. I have converted a few friends to Hindi movies and we have Bollywood nights every couple of months. They loved the film too.

Keep writing!

Nida April 4, 2008 at 9:36 AM  

Anonymous,

It's so fun to know there are people who love these movies as I do!! Especially those like you who have to link to an Indian heritage....it's just so fascinating and shows how beautiful this film and culture is! I've heard from several people that Main Hoon Na is even better than OSO,and so I'm really, really anxious to see that one!

Glad you enjoyed this post! I also get a kick out of converting my friends to Bollywood...and we have "Bollywood Nights" too!
Throw some good food in the mix and I'm in heaven!

Weltmeister May 21, 2008 at 3:41 AM  

Nida,

I don't know about many critics who said Saawariya was a better watch than Om Shanti Om...In fact, here in India, most critics trashed Saawariya('overwrought, self-obsessive cinema from Bhansali) and gave 'Om Shanti Om' a thumbs-up simply because it was pure, unadulterated 'Kickass' entertainment-I caught the move first day, first show, and you just won't believe the way the theatre seemed to always be on the verge of caving in, what with the cheers and hoots from the public!!
For example, check this review. I'm not kidding you!

http://www.indiafm.com/movies/review/12950/index.html

Nida May 23, 2008 at 12:38 PM  

Weltmeister,

Thanks for the link! I totally agree with this reviewer--OSO was pure entertainment and fun!

Unfortunately, the reviews I had seen were negative, but I really didn't look up all that many. I already knew I was going to see it! :)

The only one I can recall after all this time that said Saawariya was superior was this one...I don't agree with it but here it is...

http://www.searchindia.com/search/bollywood-movies/saawariya-movie-review.html

There is also a negative review of OSO on this site. I like your link much better!;)

Intrigue Author July 16, 2008 at 10:50 PM  

Om, Shanti, Om was my first Bollywood movie. I left the theater smiling and amazed that more Bollywood movies didn't play in Chicago, even though we have an Indian neighborhood on Devon Avenue. Patricia

Nida July 21, 2008 at 5:24 PM  

Welcome, Patricia!

Wow, its truly amazing that Om Shanti Om Was your first film, and that you enjoyed it so much despite the fact that you couldn't relate the jokes to any films you had seen. Just goes to show what an entertaining film it is!

Also, I'm surprised there aren't more Hindi films in Chicago! I would have expected a lot more in a big city like that!

Henrik,  August 5, 2009 at 11:34 PM  

So wonderful you could see OSO in the theater. It's sure to be the one film that has to be seen with the crowd.

Initially i gave it a rating of 12 out of 10. Which has come down a bit after re-viewing:
- several monologues are a bit stretched
- some violence too stretched for my comfort level
So now i rate it at 11 out of 10. Still the fire scene prior to intermission makes it difficult to re-watch the whole thing. In all of this sugary masala it is too haunting.

OSO was my first Bollywood too. A friend dropped the DVD at my place, without commenting, and i thought, huh. I jumped into it on my PC (have no TV, no DVD in the living room) and had the scene where Deepika in pink floats towards the premiere cinema - gorgeous girl, gorgeous jacket on SRK (selected by Karan Johar) and, yes, a gorgeous looking SRK to boot. Oh, and his cuddly buddy Shreyas :) I thought, funny thing, this...

I live far away from the cities and my country has few Indians and Indian movie screenings. The morning after having watched the full OSO experience, i did a little research and ordered a real good beamer.

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