She showed wonderful flashes of her love for Bollywood in Main Hoon Na and in Om Shanti Om, she creates a setting where she can unleash the Bollywood junkie within. Thus, firmly ensconced in her comfort zone, she delivers a first half of a movie that crackles with the kind of affection and energy rarely seen in Bollywood lately.
Om - played by Shahrukh Khan - is an aspiring junior artiste who is in love with Shantipriya (Deepika Padukone). Both meet first, fleetingly at a premier and then, on the sets of a Sholay-like movie and become friends. Meet-cute love ensues...or does it? Shantipriya soon unleashes a secret that shakes Om to the core and sends him spiraling down the love-ke-khandahar type road. As is well documented, both Shantipriya and Om meet their maker before the first half is over. Thats the story - but the devil is in the details.
Making the setting a filmi one allows Farah to pay copious comic homage to 70s Bollywood. She opens with a terrific scene - seamlessly mixing Rishi Kapoor's gramophone jig in the 1980 blockbuster Karz with a wide-eyed Om in the studio audience. Later yet, she has Shanti dancing with and occasionally draping herself around Sunil Dutt, Jeetendra and Rajesh Khanna. She tips her hat to the Kapoor-Khanna stranglehold in Bollywood. She takes her shots at fussy stars, on-the-fly scripts and directors barely in control of their projects.
Through all of this, her ability to keep the reigns on SRK as his director serves her in good stead. In a rather hilarious sequence, where SRK fondly mocks the major South Indian actors - he is able to underplay what is essentially over-the-top acting. And there is magic in a director-actor pair who can perform so well together.
Yet OSO is not averse to the Bollywood Curse of the Second Half. Here although she doesn't exactly fall down, Farah stumbles. Why does this happen? Several reasons.
First, she leaves way too little time to tell key parts of the story (starting with SRK's rebirth). To keep the action moving, she is forced to take a lot of shortcuts - which makes the movie feel rushed and chips away at the believability factor (not that rebirths are all that believable - a fact Farah understands and acknowledges in the film).
To make things worse, instead of keeping the rest of the movie simple, she laces it with unnecessary complexity. For example, she makes reborn Om a filmi brat and gives him a phobia of fire - both of which she then has to resolve in hurried ways that barely add to the story. This dents the movie further.
Yet again - and I hate to say this - she makes a mistake by casting Arjun Rampal in a key role. Rampal is a terrific looker, a burnished, polished man who has an excellent screen presence. Unfortunately he doesn't play scared, scheming or conflicted very well. His makeup artists also don't do him any favors by essentially creating a terrible look for him in the second half. His appearances on the screen suck considerable momentum out of the movie.
Finally Farah seems to be operating from a weakly written second half. Her sense of beat within the scenes - especially the ones with thrills (read: dhishum dhishum) - is a bit off.
Yet there are some positives as well. Farah, for one, shows a surprising deftness at handling spooky sequences. She brilliantly executes the scene in which reborn Om connects with his previous life - infusing it with wonder and creepiness.
She invites several Bollywood luminaries to create two delirious scenes - one at a faux-Filmfare awards ceremony and another yet at the after-awards party. Here she digs deep - in one sequence, she has Bappi being interviewed by a reporter - only Bappi constantly sings, something which Bappi's fans will both appreciate and love.
In Farah's journey to become Bollywood's first female legend in the director's chair, a path she is firmly on, this kind of range will only help her. Be as it is now, her latest movie is Om Plenty Om, but still not a glass as full as you'd expect.
The OSO list of stars playing themselves (started by Sania): 1. Rishi Kapoor 2. Dharmendra 3. Jeetendra 4. Mithun Chakraborty 5. Yash Chopra 6. Juhi Chawla 7. Kajol 8. Rani Mukherjee 9. Priyanka Chopra 10. Lara Dutta 11. Malaika Arora Khan 12. Amrita Arora 13. Diya Mirza 14. Rajesh Roshan 15. Hrithik Roshan 16. Amitabh Bachchan 17. Abhishek Bachchan 18. Akshaye Kumar 19. Amisha Patel 20. Govinda 21. Zayed Khan 22. Aftab Shivdasani 23. Dino Morea 24. Tusshar Kapoor 25. Bobby Deol 26. Preity Zinta 27. Riteish Desmukh 28. Rekha 29. Tabu 30. Salman Khan 31. Saif Ali Khan 32. Arbaaz Khan 33. Sanjay Dutt 34. Subhash Ghai 35. Bappi Lahiri 36. Vidya Balan 37. Karishma Kapoor 38. Shilpa Shetty 39. Urmila Matondkar 40. Karan Johar 41. Sunil Shetty 42. Shabana Azmi
- I saw the movie with Beth. Be sure to read her take!
- The Mind Rush popcorn rating for OSO and the satire behind the Big B's appearance in the flick
- Joules catches up with Chak De and Johny Gaddaar and points out that Farah likes to pay homage to that mad auteur Manmohan Desai
- Megan hated OSO, constructs some Bollywood equations, is glad her pets Ash and Kareena didn't appear in the movie and links to the "inspiration" for the Akshay spoof
- Sania walks away a little unsatisfied
- Saritha decides to wait for the DVD and adds Vidya Balan and Karishma to the guest star list
- Mind Rush theorizes about Aishwarya's absence in the galaxy of sitaares and mentions one killer dialogue from the film
- Ritha loved the movie, Deepika and Arjun Rampal
- anu g walks away unimpressed with OSO but impressed with Deepika and adds Shabana to the guest star list
- Tania loved the movie and notes that it will appeal to Bollywood junkies from the 70s and 80s
- minnie feels OSO, being a masala movie, met her timepass expectations
- carla looked beyond the movie's shortcomings to enjoy it
- So did spruha1 who had a blast
- girlie girl enjoys Vishal and Shekhar promoting OSO on L'il Champs in 70s gear
- Parveen loved the Tamil spoof and Deepika's work but thought Kiron Kher and Shreyas Talpade were underutilized
- undercover asks for advice on how to break up nicely from Mind Rush
- Which Mind Rush provides
- headmistress thinks OSO was more pretentious than Saawariya and asks: Ranbir or Neil Mukesh? (Also: her entire review of Saawariya and her comments on its cold reception)
- 2 shy 2 reveal myself would do Neil and Muzammil on the first date but would make Ranbir work for about a month
- Joules returns to comment on star kids who resemble their parents in drag
- Megan has moved on from Ranbir and discusses the Saawariya bashing
- uh huh yeah yeah votes for a proposed Mind Rush agony aunt column, as do spruha1, Sania, headmistress and Tania
- spruha1 encounters rabid crowds at the theaters
- Priti renews her V-S love and compares it to Diwali phuljharies
- SkD makes the worst decision of her life