Saturday, November 24, 2007

on seeing Om Shanti Om a second time

Om Shanti Om has come to my local art/independent/international theater, so of course I had to go see it again. It was notably not as good. It felt a bit flat, actually, much to my surprise. Even the movie jokes weren't as cute. The hometown crowd was less excitable than the one in the Chicago suburbs where I had seen it two weeks ago, and rowdier definitely would have been more fun. However, one only has so many chances to cheer publicly for Rani and Abhishek, so one takes what one can get.

And now, the Beth Loves Bollywood List of Stuff Beth Noticed or Wants to Solicit Opinions about (the first two of which comment on things you may not want to know if you haven't seen the movie yet)....

  • I'm still very happy that there isn't a mushy romantic hoopla at the end. Good for Farah for sticking to the main story of Om's self-discovery and Shanti's revenge.
  • Potential plot problem, if you care about that kind of thing: if Mukesh wants to be the biggest producer in Bollywood but thinks that people won't back a film with a married heroine, then why did he marry Shanti (whose career is his doing, we are told) in the first place? This whole "you ruined my masterpiece" thing is completely his own fault.
  • Isn't that Siddharth as Sooraj Barjatya in the jaunty "friend"-emblazoned cap (brilliant touch, by the way) outside Om's tent? Babasko, who has a keen sense for such things (while the Sanjay's away, the Viennese will play?), hadn't noticed him when I asked her about it - and I'm one of those types who always thinks she recognizes people but is wrong at least half the time - so now I don't trust my own judgment.
  • Gah! What happened to the usually gorgeous Rekha in the makeup room? She looks like she's going to eat you! Even if you leave her gingerbread house alone, she's going to hunt you down and jab you with her eyeliner.
  • Deepika Padukone made a much stronger and better impression. I still think her role could have been a lot more, but this time I saw some nice little touches in her Shanti and Sandy that I missed before - how charmed Shanti seemed by Om's antics and how wide-eyed with "I can't believe I'm working with Om Kapoor!" Sandy was, for example. And she gives very good bhoot eyes - spooky!
  • Shahrukh too was even better second time around. Maybe because I knew the jokes already, I could focus on delivery, all his little ticks and nonverbals. He, unlike Deepika, is given a lot to do: earnest, bratty, angry, scheming, swooning, narrating.... So much fun to watch.
However, all sense of fun was not lost. Check out my souvenir (thanks to the show organizer who let me take it home)!

An artifact of our shiny, six-pack, crotch-patch times.

18 comments:

Blue said...

I got the same poster in Delhi. However, mine is "autographed" and says "Lots of love, Shah Rukh Khan."

I think I'll put it in my office, but I'll have to put a black piece of paper over the man-nipples. That kind of stuff isn't PG.

Silent Melody said...

Hey Beth, was it really siddharth as Sooraj Barjatya? I do not think so but I was laughing so hard in that scene that I did not notice much..And yes Rekha looks awful (Bad make-up) and what's with that blouse slipping off the shoulder thing..I think the funniest was the Rajnikanth spoof by Shahrukh..

Pri said...

who siddarth? i need to go watch that movie again.

Ashley said...

I need to catch up on seeing Hindi films! I haven't seen this yet. Can you BELIEVE IT??? It's practically depressing. I need a SRK fix very soon!!!

a ppcc representative said...

Acchaaaaa. I saw it again yesterday and must say that my pleasure augmented on second viewing. Even the Goth bits! In fact, I spent a lot of time noticing the even-more-entangled layers of self-references in the secnod act, to the point where it became quite meta (which I loooove)! The most notable example being the whole Om Shanti Om-within-Om Shanti Om: Farah Khan never tells us what it's about, but we (and the characters) always assume it's about... Om Shanti Om. Which of course it would be! Madness. My brain aches with pleasure. Also, the whole running motif of Hollywood vs. Bollywood, "modern India" vs. "traditional Hindu India" (e.g. Mukesh declaring all that coconut breaking is "barbaric", and that reincarnation is unbelievable). Ooh, and the whole fact that it was just so gloriously masala.

Also realized how much I just adore SRK when he plays humble. The PPCC has a perversion in that we enjoy explicitly religious characters, and so when, OH WHEN, will SRK play a Muslim rickshaw wallah or something? The foundations of the PPCC would probably start shaking violently. Ha! OK, sorry for the image.

I was wondering about the Sooraj guy! Is the father the real Sooraj? This was one cultural reference point I wasn't sure about.

YES to Rekha. My white friends gave me a horrified look when they saw her, and I was like, "Umm, this is Rekha, she's actually lovely... she just looks a bit like a witch right now."

But just to be completist, here is a list of all that which the PPCC looooved, and continues to re-watch on our awful, illegal DVD copy:
1. The entire SRK/Pappu dacoit bit. Especially when SRK and Pappu reminisce about Shanti's debut. "Sirf 15 years old! Salaam, salaam, salaam...!" "Enough!"
2. All of wonderful Hero Hiralal-Om's Engrish. "Happees ending!" "Nothings matter." Or Pappu's wonderful, "Controools."
3. Om's dreamy faints whenever he makes eye contact with Shanti. Though we mentioned that in our review already.
4. The entire "Mind it!" fiasco. Especially afterwards, when Om is blessing Pappu, and he waves to random people while jabbering fake Tamil. "Haaa! Bolo bolo! Kamal Hassan, Kamal Hassan!"
5. Actually, all of first act Om, in that he was so lovingly humble and cute. Oooh, the way he stretched his arms, or avoided eye contact, or looked bashful and coy and, when assured we were not bored, mumbled "Tanks." into his shirt. Ooooh, we just looooves you, SRK!
6. Om's necklace.
7. Kirron Kher's wonderful acting histrionics.
8. The whole meta love of film that was in the film, where everyone - even the spot boys - are glorified. Just like I said in the PPCC, I know exactly how Om feels when he shimmies his way out of the cinema seat, and I loved that moment: it captures everything that good films (not just Bollywood, though those masala epics are our current drug of choice, like Om) do to me!

Yeah, OK, I'll stop. It was lovely. Someone somewhere made mention of La Dolce Vita even, in its treatment of celebrity. I'd say it's got a very healthy dose of Hero Hiralal, but it can capture all of that escapism in ways HH never good (probably budget constraints, HH could only afford 1 cameo (Amitabh), not 31...!).

Sanket Vyas said...

Rekha has had a weird 'looking good' career. Her early films she is just plain unrecognizable - lost weight and became the gorgeous Rekha we all love - perhaps her wind tunnel hair had something to do with it.

A true coup would have been to have AB & Rekha to do a little dance during the multi-starred item number. Yes I know it would never happen but isn't Bollywood all about dreams anyway? ;)

Amrita said...

Congrats Beth! :)
Hmm, let's see:
- Yes, but I do think OK and Sandy are due to get together at the end. There was a little too much forehead kissing and googly eyes going on for it to mean something else.
- Going by Indian film history, marrying her (and it could be as simple as exchanging garlands at the temple really, no registration involved) would have been a way to get into her pants. Shanti being the "good" girl here who wants the sindoor and everything.
- Siddharth who? The only one I know is from Rang de basanti and that's definitely not him. But I did wonder if Barjatya Sr. was the real Sooraj coz he looks like that.
- Funny you should mention "Eat". From the looks of it, both SRK and Riteish were sorta scared she was gonna eat them. It's been a long time since she looked human imo.
- Actually the "bhoot" eyes were the thing I liked least about her. Not her fault, it's just that that slanted eye thing is sooooo cliche.
- I think the bit in the restaurant where Mike says "You're very stubborn" and he snaps, "I know that!" is my fav bit. I don't precisely know why. And .... um... I'll deny this if you ever repeat it to anyone else but that hair do worked for me. I know - I now go to drown myself because what else is left to say really?

Miss Bolly said...

Rekha was totally scary looking! I had a hard time watching it. I wanted to look away from the train wreck.

I took a friend with me to see Goal on Friday night and when we walked out on that I tried to convince her to come back to see Om Shanti Om (because I wanted to see it a second time!), but I think she got scared away. Too bad. I'll get it when it comes out on DVD.

Also, as PPCC said, Om's multi-religious necklace was awesome.

Pessimisissimo said...

Audience reaction can make a big difference in how we respond to a movie, especially for a comedy. I haven't seen Om Shanti Om yet, but with some misgivings I did recommend that my boss and her family go to the local Hindi cinema to watch it.

They loved the movie, and the whole experience. They'd seen (on DVD, of course) a fair number of Bollywood films, and had been looking for an opportunity to see one in a theater. I was worried that they wouldn't catch all of the in-jokes, but as it turned out that didn't matter. I think that a key element in their enjoyment was the large and enthusiastic audience. As you suggest, some movies are best appreciated communally.

bollywoodfoodclub said...

Namaste Beth, Sita-ji here from bollywoodfoodclub. You did notice that the "Friends" cap is the same one from "Maine Pyaar Kiya" hai na?

Beth said...

I have been convinced that I was wrong about Siddharth, but as Sita says, the hat still rawks.

bollywoodfoodclub said...

Yes, I am wishing I had a hat like that. I may have to custom make one, which was my dream immediately after seeing it resurrected in OSO, and that dream died away until now.
Just look at it!

http://www.bollywood.cz/Bollywood2006/english/img/mainepyarkiya.jpg

Beth said...

Let's not forget the awesome BOY and GIRL hats in HAHK.

bollywoodfoodclub said...

I guess I need to got to Jo-Ann Fabric or Michael's and get some applique materials, or invest in a surger to make this dream a reality! I admit I haven't seen "Hum Aapke Hain Kaun." but have promptly added it to my "To see" document. Any movie with BOY and GIRL hats is a must see for me, yaar.

bindifry said...

can i please request a review of the film this one was kind of copied from, "karz"? i recently watched it again after viewing oso twice. the resemblance is uncanning. i would do it myself, but you are just too darn good at it.

Beth said...

Thanks Bindifry! Karz is definitely on my "to watch" list. Plus who could resist the giant moving record?

bindifry said...

who can resist rishi kapoor, either?

Beth said...

In my moments of weakness, not I!