I've watched the movie Om Shanti Om a number of times and find myself loving it more and more each time. There are a lot of little reasons I like this movie - when Om Prakash yells "Bhaago!" repeatedly during the fire film shoot, when Om Prakash meets Shanti, when Om Kapoor meets Sandy, when Om Kapoor comes face to face with Makesh Mehra for the first time, the conversation between OK and Mike over lunch.
But here are my top 5 big reasons I love this movie -
The stars. This movie goes beyond having an star-studded cast to include a huge number of cameos from Indian cinema stars of the past and present. While we may see stars with cameo appearances in other movies (as in Kal Ho Naa Ho), here we have a huge number of stars appearing in various roles - some as characters within the film, some as themselves. And there were many references to stars, writers and directors who were big in the 1970s. The characters played by Sunil Dutt, Rajesh Khanna and Jeetendra were composited into "Dhoom Taana" and despite Manoj Kumar's negative response to his depiction, it was intriguing enough to interest this viewer in checking out his films. If you want to get a crash-course in Bollywood stars and history, this is the movie to see.
The item numbers. Each song, whose melodies are woven throughout the film, are an intricate part of the storyline. Juxtaposing the way Om Prakash Makhija inserts himself into the movie with Shanti Priya in "Deewangi Deewangi" against the sensual Om Kapoor in "Dard-E-Disco" always makes me chuckle at the change in styles in just 30 years. And with choreography by Farah Khan, these performances bring the inner thoughts and experience of the main character Om Prakash Makhija/Om Kapoor to the audience in a meaningful and entertaining way.
The costumes. The juxtaposition of the costume worn by Om Prakash Makhija in his initial appearance in "Dhoom Taana" is drastically different than the clothes (or lack thereof) chosen for Om Kapoor in "Dard-E-Disco". To be cool as Om Prakash Makhija is very different than being cool as Om Kapoor. And the shift from polyester to cotton is almost palpable. Finally, the Brylcreem hairstyle worn by Om Prakash Makhija vs. the blowin'-in-the-wind style worn by Om Kapoor adds to the character differentiation.
The stories within stories. The cast of characters and the way they relate to each other outline a story of Bollywood over time as well as create some myths about how actors, directors and writers may have gotten their inspirations. And, of course, with multiple set and costume changes, "Dastaan-E-Om Shanti Om" aptly recreates the story of the first part. But the stories of the love of a mother for her son, the strength of friendship, the adoration of fans for their heros, and the power of right over wrong are the stories within that give heart to the bigger story.
The soundtrack. The music covers the spectrum of styles - from the sweetly innocent "Ajab Si" to the blast-from-the-past "Dhoom Taana" to the "Main Agar Kahoon" love waltz and the haunting "Jag Soona Soona Lage"; from the over-the-top "Dard-E-Disco" to the fun, raucous party mix in "Deewangi Deewangi" to the big broadway-style musical climax in "Dastaan-E-Om Shanti Om". And despite not speaking Hindi, I find the songs are so engaging that I can't help but want to sing along.
What are your top 5 reasons for being an Om Shanti Om fan?
Here is the fun "Deewanga" party scene from Om Shanti Om - with the following Bollywood stars in order of appearance (source: Wikipedia): Rani Mukherji, Zayed Khan, Vidya Balan, Jeetendra, Tusshar Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Shilpa Shetty, Dharmendra, Shabana Azmi, Urmila Matondkar, Karisma Kapoor, Arbaaz Khan, Malaika Arora Khan, Dino Morea, Amrita Arora, Juhi Chawla, Aftab Shivdasani, Tabu, Govinda, Mithun Chakraborty, Kajol, Preity Zinta, Bobby Deol, Rekha, Ritesh Deshmukh, Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Lara Dutta, Sunil Shetty.