Om Shanti Om: A Bollywood Gem

Rating: 5 out of 5.

If you’re looking for funny Bollywood musical to warm your heart, Om Shanti Om is the movie for you.

Om Shanti Om (2007), is a fantasy romantic melodrama directed by Farah Khan and starrinf Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) and Deepika Paudukone. The film has won 26 awards including Best Composer (Asian Film Awards 2008), Best Narrative (CAAMFest 2008), and Best Choreography, Costume Design, Special Effects (Screen Awards 2008. It had a budget of $150 million Rupees (2.1 Million USD) and received 1.53 billion dollars at the box office (21.5 Million USD).

The films unique intertextuality presents a compelling satire of the Bollywood film industry. The resulting spoof is equally comedic, entertaining, dramatic, and heartwarming.

Om, a junior artist in the 1970’s Bombay film industry develops feelings for Shanti, a superstar. He later discovers she is secretly married to Mukesh, a hot shot director. Mukesh kills Shanti in a fire staged to look like a tragic event, and Om dies trying to save her. The two are reincarnated in modern day, Om becoming Om Kapoor, a superstar. He discovers his past life, and plots to expose Mukesh and bring justice to Shanti. He enlists the help of Sandy (Shanti reincarnate) to pull off an elaborate scheme, which is climaxed by Om’s dramatic musical number which reveals the story of Om and Shanti. 

This movie made me feel a lot of emotions. I laughed, I cried, I rooted for some characters, and wished the worst for others – and that’s something a good movie should make me do.

When Om stood atop a crate with his glass bottle and presented his ‘acceptance’ speech, my heart welled and when Om (reincarnate) presented the same speech as he accepted his (actual) Best Actor award, my eyes welled too. When Shanti was beating on the glass window of the set that burned around her I cheered for Om to save her, and my heart dropped as Mukesh’s henchmen got in his way. And I marveled at the intricate choreography that was executed to perfection throughout the many entertaining dance sequences.

Om Shanti Om was truly intended to be a spoof of the Bollywood Film industry. This is apparent in the level of detail that has gone into making the film reflect real life. From the references to Manoj Kumar and Sunil Dutt and Nagris, to the featuring of countless real-life Bollywood stars and real movies the film is ripe with Bollywood essence.

But beyond this, I must commend the cinematography and writing of the film. Firstly, the cinematography is breathtaking. I mean, need I say more?

The camera shots are effortlessly smooth, and almost every frame is a work of art. Everything, from the colours, the costumes, the lighting to the camera movements have been planned and executed to perfection.

Possibly the greatest feat of the writers is Om. His naivety carries much comedic power and delivers a wholesome character who you can’y help but root for. Then, Om’s comedy is reincarnated as sass and sarcasm showing both sides of the Bombay film start coin: the aspiring junior artist and the established superhero.

But ultimately, the circularity of the writing provides a clear concept of reincarnation, and karma. Dialogue from Om’s past life is repeated by his new self. The audience holds their breath as Om plots to expose Mukesh’s evil actions. The plot takes you on a journey through hope and heartbreak, and then guides you on a course towards justice.

Have you watched Om Shanti Om? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below!

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