80. Om Shanti Om (2007) — Farah Khan’s second stint as master and commander after Main Hoon Na, this modernist-masala movie about thwarted dreams and second chances aims for roaring entertainment and little else. It was simply loads of fun to watch — an experience charged by an amusing twist for me, since I had to give an impromptu translation to a HK friend (the subtitles were scampering across the screen like so many beach crabs).
Prior to viewing, I was a bit sceptical about the newbie heroine cast against SRK, Deepika Padukone, but after being blown away by my favourite song sequence of the moment, I am persuaded that a star is born, especially if Manish Malhotra continues to dress her now and again. (I think Sushmita Sen hasn’t managed to look as transcendent as she did in Main Hoon Na.)
This is going to sound like gushing, but despite her tender age, Padukone displayed exquisite grace when it was called for, and managed a remarkably appropriate difference when wide-eyed innocence was required. I think she’s a natural-born actress. There was never the sense that she’s just a vase, when that’s all she could have been content to be — she lights up the screen with all the power of her presence and youth.
Shreyas Talpade, one of my favourite actors after his winning turn in Iqbal, fitted hand in glove with SRK as well. I don’t know just how much value was added to the movie with the crazy muscles from SRK though!
I thought every aspect of the production was very well done, though I must say I wondered if the music would have been more consistently satisfying if AR Rahman had followed through the project.
I’m glad that SRK and Farah Khan appeared to have resisted settling for second-best in this movie, even though it’s not some grand historical epic. It’s respect for the audience, isn’t it? I know that also means respect for the crores. As a result, I would say that Om Shanti Om is endowed with an engaging energy that many top-dollar draws lack — it certainly got my otherwise lackadaisical HK friend buzzing, and me feeling revved up for the other Hindi movies I’ve yet to devour.
All in all, recommended!