This film came as a recommendation from a friend, so I figured I’d watch and review it, and it seemed like a good antidote to all the serious WWI from earlier. This friend doesn’t like sad movies.

And Om Shanti Om is not a sad movie. Much of it, indeed, is a moderately hilarious send-up of Bollywood’s excesses, from fan insanity to ridiculous plots to disco dance numbers. Briefly (if I can): Shah Rukh Khan plays Om, who is a minor actor hoping to make it big. He falls in love with a big heroine (Deepika Padukone’s Shanti), and saves her from an on-set fire. But she is secretly married to a producer (Arjun Rampal’s Mukesh) and in the interests of his (the producer’s) career, he sets her on fire and Om is killed trying to save her. The rest of the movie is his reincarnation and attempts at revenge.

In all of this you sort of wish that the montage was an art known in Bollywood and that Shah Rukh Khan was less amused by disco outfits, but since this film is wholly self-aware it’s funny rather than irritating. The most self-aware moment of the film, a send-up awards ceremony, had me in stitches. Everyone in Bollywood showed up good-naturedly as himself; Abhishek Bachchan particularly was pleasingly self-deprecating.

Stray observations:

  • Om is nominated for two awards in the awards show; they are identically perfect Shah Rukh Khan spoofs in which he plays a sweater-wearing juvenile lead named Rahul. I laughed so hard.
  • Seriously, the disco outfits and the amazingly (and deliberately) shoe-horned disco dream dance sequence were great. The songs generally are solid–boppable and memorable, with also a over-dramatic number in masks (staging closely and amazingly ripped off Phantom‘s “Masquerade,” and not even pretending at all not to be). No one is an egregiously terrible dancer.
  • In how many Bollywood movies is fire not a significant plot point? There are three major and several minor fires in this one.
  • I don’t even like Shah Rukh Khan.

Director: Farah Khan
Rating: PG-13
Length: 162 min.
Score: 3.5/5. It’s kind of great, right? But…just because you’re self-aware doesn’t mean you’re good.