And God said, let there be light, and there was disco.
In 1973, Max Ehrlich wrote a novel called The Reincarnation of Peter Proud
In 1975, J Lee Thompson reincarnated the book as a movie with the same title.
In 1975, a Trinidadian soca musican named Lord Shorty (Ras Shorty I to be precise) wrote a song called Om Shanti Om.
In 1980, Subhash Ghai reincarnated The Reincarnation of Peter Proud as a Bollywood potboiler titled Karz.
Lakshmikanth-Pyarelal saw the light, got inspired by disco, and did some heavy duty Ctrl-C Ctrl-V and reincarnated Shorty’s song in Karz
The movie Karz was, strangely enough, about reincarnation.
Farah Khan reincarnated the concept of Karz into a slick, tribute movie titled, oh well, here we go again, Om Shanti Om
This movie has a movie inside a movie, titled, there’s no way you could have guessed it – Om Shanti Om.
And that movie-inside a movie is also about reincarnation.
And it turns out, the wrapper movie (the outer “for()” loop) is also about reincarnation.
Oh boy. It looks like reincarnation has been done to death by Bollywood. To which Bollywood retorts – But it’s reincarnation. If we do it do death, it will come back again. Ha ha ha.
And I saw OSO today. Bollywood suddenly decided to make a tribute movie, and by Flying-Spaghetti-Monster, they splurged. They managed to squeeze every campy, cheesy, corny cliche into a 150 minute package that I have to admit, was fairly entertaining. Well, as a Chennaiite watching an Indippadam, entertaining is used to describe movies that don’t make my hands reach unconsciously for the fast-forward button. OSO was fun as long it kept taking potshots at all the tripe Bollywood has been serving us since the 1970s. But for some weird reason, the movie starts taking itself too seriously in the second half and ironically, serves up most of the corny cliches it parodied before the interval.
And that brings me to the issue of Bollywood humour. Two words that have always had a very uneasy relationship with each other. While it was a pleasant surprise to note that, for a change, this movie could laugh at itself, the whole Madrasi Raja-Rascal-Quick-Gun-Murugan episode quickly proved that when it comes to laughs, nothing works better in Bollywood than the Madrasi caricature. There are 2 kinds of humour in Hindi movies.
1. Physical humour – where the fat, the thin, the bald and the funnily-moustachioed get insulted, mocked and beaten.
2. Caricature humour – where shallow caricatures of people from a specific demographic are laughed at – the 12 pm sardarji, the cunning and miserly marwari, the village simpleton and ofcourse, Bollywood’s eternal favourite – the Madrasi who just can’t stop saying Ayyo Ayyo.
So in OSO, there is this sequence where Saarukkaan speaks Tamil, which for some reason seems to consist entirely of words that sound like “Rascal” and generally mocks masala Tamil movies from the 80s. The Bollywood concept of a Madrasi was defined by Mehmood in the 60s, who hails from a city 700 km to the north – Hyderabad. Ever since, it’s been an endless sequence of ayyos, pattai-vibhuthis, carnatic music background scores whenever a Madrasi arrives on the scene. Was I offended? Ofcourse not. It was gajabuja fun.
And how can a post about OSO go without mentioning Saarukkus six-pack abs? So here is the Jalsa&Jilpa guide to getting six pack abs like kaan-baai.
1. First you need six packs. Of Haywards 5000.
2. Drink. (Peanuts optional)
3. Then get a cosmetic surgeon to remove fat, pinch and stitch in one vertical line and 3 horizontal lines across the recently grown beer flab.
4. Wait for stitches to heal, wear low-waist jeans, remove shirt, slant body 30 degrees from the vertical and take a snap.
Final verdict: Go watch the first half of this movie. Then skip the second half and watch a Vivek/Vadivel comedy VCD instead. Come back just in time for the credits. They actually got every person on the OSO production crew to walk the red carpet, right down to the spot boys, while the credits roll. Nice touch.
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