Thursday, November 22, 2007

ॐ Shanti ॐ (२००७)

Taking a break from my tribute to Kishore Kumar for one reason & one reason only - 'Om Shanti Om' marks the first time SRK has ever had the honor of Kishore Kumar providing playback for one of his songs. The moment comes early in this - first half great/second half not so much - retelling of 'Karz', the 1977 Rishi Kapoor starrer whose hit song provided the title for the movie. A proper review of the movie is much better done by my friends Beth & Carla on their respective websites but that doesn't mean I don't want to discuss the movie. It just means that the story was the least important part of this movie as far as I was concerned. But as a fan of Bollywood my entire life the movie just kept a big grin on my face right up until the multi-starred item number. The first half is set in the 1970's complete with director Farah Khan's attention to detail in the look & feel of the India of yesteryear. It is a story of two best friends who work in the film industry as junior-artistes (I just LOVE that title:) & dream of making it to the big time. Shreyas Talpade of 'Dor' & 'Iqbal' fame plays SRK's best friend and shows us yet again why he is one of the brightest stars in Bollywood today. If the energy and freshness of the first half could have been sustained in Act II this movie could have been truly special, instead it lasted about one hour too long and has a sub-plot that was unnecessary to say the least.

So why did I like the first half so darn much? For starters, SRK doesn't do his usual thing, which is to act like SRK instead of acting the role he is playing. No, he throws himself into the character of Om with such gusto that for the first time in years I forgot I was watching Rahul (SRK's name in many of his movies that he gently pokes fun at). It was the little things that I just flat out loved in the movie including...

~ A proper homage to the title with Rishi Kapoor dancing on the giant record from 'Karz' that Om imagines himself singing instead.
~The great Rajnikant impression that SRK did with reckless abandon.
~The way our heroes sneak into the opening of a movie with an old-school Manoj Kumar impression that was spot on.
~The biggest star in the movie is named Rajesh Kapoor and lampoons Rajesh Khanna with much affection.
~The Dev Anand look alike in the red scarf that never says a word and didn't need to.
~The corny but entirely believable acceptance speech that SRK gives while accepting a fake Filmfare Award that he repeats upon winning the real one.

~The item number (above) & Filmfare Awards sequence that had over 30 stars being either interviewed or joining in the item number sequence. It needs to be stated that this was first done by AB in 'Naseeb' and brought together a number of huge stars in it's own right - the only star to be in both without actually being in the movie? Dharmendra (shout out to DG;)
~And this whole sequence itself was so full of inside jokes at the expense of the stars & Bollywood as a whole that it was worth the price of admission to keep wondering which star was going to pop out next!
~My favorite moments from this sequence were Shabana Azmi poking fun at her image of being Bollywood's leading activist, AB not knowing who Om was during an interview and Rishi Kapoor as one of the presenters for Om's Filmfare Award.
~And finally the blink and you miss the unmistakable disco notes when Mithun Chakraborty makes his appearance alluding to his breakout role in 'Disco Dancer'.

Go see the movie - the greatness of the first half will more than sustain you for the plodding pace of the second. The songs for today are Ajab Si by K.K. & Dhoom Taana by Abhijeet & Shreya Goshal video below respite with old school Bollywood legends!