India is known for its flamboyance and glamour, something that certainly transfers over to Indian Cinema. Released in 2007 throughout the world, Om Shanti Om was a tremendously successful film both in India and abroad. Even in the United States, it was greatly popular while only opening in a select amount of theaters. Directed by Farah Khan and produced by Gauri khan, Om Shanti Om served as a parody on many of the quintessential stereotypes of Indian cinema. It was not a hostile film, as most of the stars being parodied actually appear in the film itself.
It served to pay tribute and respect to the “Bollywood Greats” that laid the foundation for modern Indian cinema. Om Shanti Om is an excellent melodramatic-comedy that plays on all of the stereotypes we love to hate about Bollywood. Om Shanti Om starts out by introducing the main character, Om Prakash Makhija (Shahrukh Khan), a struggling actor in Bombay during the 1970’s film boom. He and his friend Pappu (Shreyas Talpade) both are aspiring to become big stars in Bollywood.
Pappu, knowing that Om is very much in love with the accress Shanti Priya (Deepika Padukone), swindles his way into getting tickets for her new movie Dreamy Girl. The movie turns out to just be scenes from old movies, combined and re-marketed as a new one. Never-the-less, Om is overwhelmed by the on-screen images and soon begins fantasizing himself in the movie; dreaming that it is he that Shanti desires. Not wanting to accept reality, he proceeds to get intoxicated and rambles to Pappu and some local street kids about how he is going to one day become a huge star.
While perusing his dream of stardom, Om finds himself on the same set as Shanti. To his luck, a fire breaks out endangering Shanti and the opportunity to become a hero presents itself to Om. After a moment of shock, he leaps into action and pulls her out of the fire’s reach. He playfully tries to seem like a big-shot but the nervousness of being around her leads to him becoming truthful. They become friendly, but the next time they meet he is shrugged off. He follows Shanti to her dressing room and learns the dark secret of the movie.
Shanti is actually married to the producer of the movie, Mukesh Mehra, and is pregnant with his child. Mukesh is a very seedy businessman, and must appear to be married to another woman to promote his new movie, Om Shanti Om. We learn that the marriage between Shanti and Mukesh is a secret, and Shanti demands that it be revealed to the public. Mukesh refuses, and Shanti reveals to him that she is pregnant with his child. Overhearing all of this, Om’s heart is naturally crushed. He finds that his love is trapped in a relationship with a scoundrel, and pregnant with his child.
He spends many days anguishing in this new revelation and one night notices Shanti and Mukesh going to the set of his new movie. We see Mukesh telling Shanti that he will honor all of her wishes and his duty as a Hindustani by declaring their marriage in public, cancelling the movie, and having a very grand and flamboyant wedding. His affection turns to anger though, and he ends up furious with Shanti. He blames all of his recent problems on her and in a fit of rage sets fire to the set, imprisoning her inside. He leaves her to die, with his men are guarding the set.
Om rushes in to try and save her but is stopped by Mukesh’s goons. The set finally explodes, jettisoning Om into the street where he is hit by a passing car. As it turns out, this passing car is owned by Rajesh Kapoor, a well known actor. He is taking his pregnant wife to the hospital, and Om is rushed there as well. Unfortunately, Om dies of his injuries just before Kapoor’s son is born. The boy is named Om. The film then shifts to the newly born Om’s early life. He is seen to be the re-incarnation of the original Om, but better. The new Om, or Om 2. , is a successful actor living in luxury in modern day India. But whereas Om 1. 0 had heart, the new Om is cast as the shallow and uncaring modern day Indian actor. Going by the nick-name “OK”, Om Kapoor constantly has flashbacks of the old Om, so much so that it affects his public actions. The movies shifts to a modern day film awards ceremony, where the movie shows its parody shift. The actors, nominated for the “Best Actor” award, are mostly cliche performances and OK’s films, being nominated for two movies, are basically the same thing.
The movie finishes after OK, starring in a much older Mukesh’s comeback to cinema, manages to trick him into confessing. They re-make Om Shanti Om, where many “incarnations” of actors is seen, and they come up with the idea of tricking Mukesh into thinking he is seeing the ghost of Shanti. It somehow works despite their terrible coordination, until Mukesh sees that the ghost Shanti is not actually a ghost. He is knocked over by a falling chandelier. In a final twist, the real ghost Shanti appears revealing that she did not actually die in the fire, but that Mukesh returned to the set and buried her beneath a fallen chandelier.
In a predictable twist of irony, Mukesh is killed in the same spot in the exact same way, by a falling chandelier. Om Shanti Om’s songs are both comedic and honoring of the songs that have impacted so many lives both in India and abroad. I really liked all of the songs, they were very funny and entertaining. Most other song and dance scenes got boring and repetitive but the ones in this film were fresh and entertaining. In the film, SRK was obviously cast to play a double role, as Om and OK. The first half of the film sets the groundwork for which the second half is based, and OK is blatantly shown to be the re-incarnation of Om.
Pappu and Om’s Mom pretty much knew, and were confirmed after OK suggests they team up to show Mukesh’s true nature. OK displays many twitches and characteristics of the old Om. Om Shanti Om embraces all of the stereotypes that we see in the movie, which is why I think it’s such a great film. Throughout the film, significant nods are made toward reoccurring Bollywood themes and ideas. There are many sneak appearances of Bollywoods most famous actors and the songs that incorporate everyone are really nice.
The film is definitely a parody of traditional Indian cinema stereotypes, but not in a hostile way. Shah Rukh Khan, the star of the film, makes fun of himself during the awards ceremony and many of the actors that were parodied in the movie actually appear in the song and dance sequences. I, for one, really enjoyed this film. It served as a sort of “end credits” for this Hindi cinema class because so many of the actors and actresses that we have studied over the course of the semester are paid tribute to, or appear in this film. Om Shanti Om was a fantastic film to end the semester with.