Thursday, November 22, 2007

Om Shanti Om.

A film begins with a happy family, which sings a family ditty together. Cut to the father, an honest police officer, who is chasing a don and gets killed brutally as his children watch helplessly from behind the doors of their house...and as the don leaves with his gang of men, firing gunshots all over, the scared kids run away in three different directions – away from their home, leaving their sobbing mother behind...Life takes different directions for all three of them. One becomes a police officer, the other a smuggler, and the third, a roadside romeo. They have three girl friends; and one day, destiny brings them all together as one brother sings the family song and the other two fondly remember the same! United they all hunt out their old mother who is still in search of her three children...and finally, after finding their mother, they go and hunt out their father’s killer together and hand him over to the police – of course, not before they sing a few more songs in the villain’s den! That, my friends, is the meaning of Bollywood masala!!

Or, for that matter, the story of Om Shanti Om – the story of a young man Om who works as a junior artist in films. He dreams of becoming a big star one day and supporting his dreams are his mother and dear friend. He is also totally in love with the dream girl of the film industry and the heroine of a film he is working in. One day, a fire breaks out on the sets, and it’s left to him to save the heroine – Shanti. They become good friends; and while he is falling in love with her, she is in an unhappy relationship with the film’s producer, who – realising that she is pregnant – decides to burn her down with the sets. Om is witness to the entire incident but despite his attempts to save his love, they both die. But life has its way of doing justice. Om is reborn again...and this time in the house of superstar Rajesh Kapoor. And therefore by the time he is 30, he is a superstar himself!

But glimpses from his past keep bothering him...Till one day he starts recollecting his past, reunites with his mother and friend (from his previous birth), finds the man who killed his love (the producer), and in his attempts to draw out the truth from this killer, shrewdly makes him go through superbly re-enacted past scenarios (in the process, even managing to discover a girl identical to Shanti). The climax has its own surprises before Om can avenge Shanti’s death. That exactly is the story of Om Shanti Om!

Mindless??!? Well that’s what Bollywood masala is supposed to be. It’s how you present it that makes the difference. And never has Bollywood masala been made with so much class and style. Never has it been made with so much mass appeal, and yet so much humour for the super-intelligent of the class audiences. Never has it been cinematically so well made. Never has such mindless stuff been made in a manner that could appeal to international audiences. And never has the actor with arguably the ability to display the greatest range of emotions on screen, and greatest international appeal – Shah Rukh Khan – been a part of such a film. So, there you have it – Om Shanti Om is indeed Bollywood masala at its grandest all time best!!

No wonder then that at the time of going to press, OSO had already started rewriting box office history with collections of more than Rs.100 crores from the first four days alone. In the UK box office, with only 52 prints and a collection of half a million pounds, it has beaten Tom Cruise’s latest flick, Lions For Lambs, which released 404 prints and could muster an initial of only 400,000 pounds. Bollywood’s greatest ever masala film might also become Bollywood’s greatest ever box-office hit!!!

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