Om Shanti Om

by wjw on September 7, 2010

Dig it!  Women in Afros and leopard-spotted bikinis!  Bell bottoms!  Pelvic thrusts!  Disco jumpsuits!  It’s all our Seventies nightmares coming true!

What’s even better is that this video, about the Pain of Disco,  is supposed to be the love fantasy of a deaf-and-blind paraplegic with no hands.  (No, I’m not making this up.)

(Those of us for whom disco was a pain can really enjoy this.)

It’s actually not very typical of the film it’s taken from, I just found it irresistible.

Turns out there was a reason that Bollywood resurrected disco for 2007’s Om Shanti Om.  The film takes place “thirty years ago,” in a fantasy Bollywood where Shanti (newcomer Deepika Padukone) is a huge superstar.  Minor actor Om Prakesh Makeeja is in love with her, but she’s far out of his league until they meet cute at a premiere.  He later saves her from a fire on the set (cue ominous foreshadowing music), and they have a couple of romantic musical numbers together in which Om rightly thinks he’s got his girl.  Except that he overhears her in a conversation with the Evil Producer Mike (Arjun Rampal), in which he discovers that Shanti has been secretly married to the E.P.M.  for two years.  (Secret, apparently, because the knowledge that a female star is married causes— or caused, in the 1970s— her to lose her box-office appeal.)

Mike, by the way, is the only character in the film who smokes.  That’s how I knew he was evil.  (Cue ominous foreshadowing music.)

The Evil Producer Mike has been romancing the daughter of a mega-producer named Harsh, in order to get Harsh to invest in his gigantic film, Om Shanti Om.  (I think Harsh is a great name for a producer, by the way.)  But now Shanti has spoiled  the deal by getting pregnant, and now demands that Mike acknowledge their marriage.  Mike realizes he’ll never make the movie, or if he does it will flop, so he sets fire to the set, and locks Shanti inside.  Om dies trying to rescue her.

“Thirty years later . . . ”  Om has been reincarnated as Bollywood superstar Om Kapoor, known to his bazillions of fans as OK.  Evil Producer Mike— who collected four times what his burned studio was worth in insurance, married the mega-producer’s daughter, and lived happily ever— now wants to make a movie with OK, but Om has been having flashbacks of his former incarnation, and realizes that Mike is a murderous baddie.  He insists on making Om Shanti Om from the original story,  and rebuilding the original sets on the burned-out sound stage. He also goes on a search for Shanti’s reincarnation.  He figures she’s got to be around somewhere.

The plot then begins stealing wholesale from Shakespeare.  There’s the Mousetrap plot from Hamlet, a witch from Macbeth, a Banquo’s Ghost analog, an Ides of March prophet, and the climactic switcheroo from Winter’s Tale.  Plus, there’s a chandelier borrowed from Phantom of the Opera.  (Steal from the best, I always say.)

And by the way, did I mention that Om’s played by Shah Rukh Khan, possibly the most hugest and colossalest Bollywood star of all time?  He of the washboard abs, and with nearly as many nicknames as he has film credits? Let’s see, he’s “King Khan,” “SRK,” “The Badshah of Bollywood,” “The Tom Cruise of India,” “Shahrukh,” “The King Of Romance,” “The King of Bollywood.”  And probably more.

The film is stinkin’ great fun and would serve as an introduction to Bollywood for any culturally deprived newcomers.  Hardened Bollywood fans will enjoy the cameos by a couple dozen real-life Bollywood stars.  (If I knew who these people were, I’d probably be swooning.)  This movie is full of stars so awesome that the wind blows their hair even indoors!

Plus, there are all those bonus Seventies flashbacks.  Young people could be convinced it was actually all like that!

If you’re too impatient to watch all three or four hours of the film, here’s a scene in which the plot is summed up in song.

DensityDuck September 7, 2010 at 8:13 pm

So this is sort of the Bollywood version of “Xanadu”.

Zora September 7, 2010 at 10:58 pm

I have Xanadu and I have Om Shanti Om. OSO is ten times better! Honest!

OSO is the movie I show my friends when I want to hook them on Bollywood. If you know anything about Indian movies, the film is even funnier. There are many witty references to other films.

The director, Farah Khan, is a woman. Female director = rara avis in Bollywood.

Her first feature film, Main Hoon Na, is also quite watchable. The melodrama drags in places, but some of the action sequences are fun. Flaming rickshaw! Bullet time!

Patricia September 9, 2010 at 4:11 pm

” deaf-and-blind paraplegic with no hands.” Kinda like their version of “Tommy”?

SUNITA January 27, 2011 at 11:41 am


SUNITA January 27, 2011 at 11:43 am


wjw January 28, 2011 at 7:47 am

Sunita, we heard you the first time.

Yeah, I like the movie, too.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post:

Contact Us | Terms of User | Trademarks | Privacy Statement

Copyright © 2010 WJW. All Rights Reserved.