November 19, 2007

Om Shanti Om

I saw Om Shanti Om and must say I enjoyed it more than Saawariya. Oh wait...I haven't seen Saawariya. I'm sure I'd really enjoy OSO more than Saawariya. Just the promos of Saawariya were enough to keep me away from it. The leading lady dusts hanging carpets while she awaits her mysterious lover under a canal. I can't endure anything that seems like a prelude to global warming. The promos feature some mythical city with British Raj like architecture where it rains, snows and sweats at the same time! I tried catching Al Bore's (oops Gore's) An Inconvenient Truth but lasted just the first 20 minutes.

Om Shanti Om, for me, refused to take-off. The premise, the jokes, the gags were all in place and I had heard good things about the film and yet I felt cheated. I took the film's catch phrase, "Picture abhi baaki hain mere dost..." a little too seriously and ended up looking stupid waiting for something to happen even after the end credits rolled away. The usher had to kick me out as the next show threatened to start. I really enjoyed SRK in the first half. I thought he had a whale of a time enacting the inanities of 70's and 80's Hindi films. Ms. Padukone needs a few more outings to make an impression on me but she being the new darling of the country need not worry about my doubts. As expected, Shreyas Talpade was a treat while Kirron Kher does a great job as a stand-in for Farida Jalal in her usual Karan Johar and Yashraj films.

On a graver note, if OSO warrants one, I believe that the director could have handled the whole laughing-at-ourselves deal a little more seriously. I am sure Farah Khan loves Karz and Madhumati but making a film in which the characters tell each other to use the climax of Karz to get things done isn't the most sensible thing to do. But like Ms. Khan told a reporter that she did it because she didn't give a damn, I think I'm thinking way out of the box here.

I think Times of India, for the lack of anything more interesting uneartherd that Akshay Kumar's Return of the Khiladi sequence from OSO is a frame-to-frame rip off from a Swedish flick called Kopps. Wow! It doesn't make any difference to the people who report such stories that the entire film seems to be 'inspired' and 'lifted' and 'copied' and 'parodied' from a fistful of old Hindi films rather than a stupid one minute sequence. What Akshay Kumar does after the sequence according to me was the highlight of the film!

A few years ago when Sanjay Gupta came up with Zinda that was his ‘homage’ to Old Boy, it was TOI's Nikhat Kazmi who went to town saying that there wasn't anything wrong with the process. She believed that fantastic as Old Boy might be, sadly many in India would not be able to see it, hence Zinda. Well Ms. Kazmi should know better for she once ripped off a film review by Roger Ebert and passed it off as her own!
Every time a Hindi film does well at the UK or US box office everyone hails the nth arrival of Hindi cinema globally. Hindi films are big because Indian media covers a premiere in UK or a shoot in London. I am not denying that we make pots of money as well but in spite of all this attention the insiders still consider originality to be over-rated. A Vidhu Vinod Chopra contractually forces a major Hollywood studio to acknowledge Gangsta MD (the intended Hollywood remake of Munnabhai MBBS) to be based on an ‘original’ idea of Vinod Chopra and Rajkumar Hirnani before the opening credits but has no qualms in plagiarizing Theme for a Dream to make it sound like Pal Pal!

How difficult is it to be original or at least legal about copying? If Bombay wants the world to really take things seriously then it must respect originality. It's easier than it looks for we are half way there already, aren't we really unique?
How far can being original be?

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