The year’s most eagerly anticipated Indian film is finally in cinemas after a torturous waiting period for fans of the genre. Starring Indian mega-star Shahrukh Khan, the film focuses on the age-old Hindu belief of re-incarnation. Based loosely on the 1970s film by Subhash Ghai, Karz, it is described by the makers as a tribute to Bollywood itself, as it incorporates all the key elements that are normally associated with it. The references are not only comical but also respectful, with the makers poking fun at the nuances encountered with Bollywood cinema.
Boasting a fine supporting cast that includes newcomer Deepika Padukone, as Shahrukh Khan’s film-star love interest, Shreyas Talpade, in the role of his brother and Arjun Rampal playing against type as the villainous film producer Mukesh Mehra, Om shanti om is a complete visual spectacle. There are absolutely no expenses spared when it comes to the film-sets, locations and costumes; and the style of filming is designed to dazzle. Shahrukh Khan gives off a fine performance as a struggling actor named Om, who is infatuated with India’s number one actress, played by Deepika Padukone The film is set during the Bollywood era of the 1970’s and it follows the story of two characters whose lives intertwine with fatal consequences. In an incredible twist of fate, Om is later re-incarnated into the present day as India’s number one actor but is troubled by flash-backs of his ill-fated previous life. He inevitably remembers the family he once had, the woman he once loved and the crime that he witnessed which remains unresolved right up to the present day. Using the wealth and connections of his high-profile life, he decides to hatch a plan against the murderous Mukesh Mehra, which will finally make him pay for his horrendous crime.
To say that the story is a little far-fetched would be the understatement of the century but those who decide to go along with it will be pleasantly rewarded. Farah Khan directs the film with effortless grace and the finished result could be described as escapism at its finest. For viewers new to concept of Bollywood, Om shanti om would be a good starting point as it contains all of the themes normally associated with it and these include comedy, romance, tragedy and drama; as well as finely choreographed singing and dancing numbers that pop up at varying intervals. One of the biggest draws of the film, aside from Sharukh Khan’s impassioned performance in a dual-role, is the film’s score, which is achieved by the partnership of Vishal Shekhar and Javed Akhtar. There is one musical sequence that showcases a who’s who of Bollywood with an astonishing cameo by 21 of the industries biggest names including Dharmendra, Rekha, Mitthun Chakraborty and Salman Khan. It simply has to be seen to be believed but everything in the film aims to be bigger, brighter, bolder and louder. It may border a little too much on fantasy and the pure commercial nature of the project may be a turn-off for some but Om shanti om lives up to its hype and manages to deliver on a number of levels.