There’s one thing essentially iconic in regards to the conflict between Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Saawariya and Farah Khan’s Om Shanti Om, notably whenever you have a look at these movies and that conflict in right now’s context.
These had been easier days. Again then, when the phrase ‘conflict’ didn’t conjure up photographs of the tough terrain of Galwan Valley and the specter of struggle, however as a substitute referred to a bumper bonanza for audiences, normally round festivals, when big-budget, star-studded films deigned to reach in theatres on the identical day. You keep in mind them, don’t you?
Simply within the new millennium, we had Lagaan and Gadar: Ek Prem Katha duke it out, Mohabbatein and Mission Kashmir take one another on, Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Son of Sardaar combat for honours, and most not too long ago, Raees and Kaabil vie for consideration by releasing on the identical day respectively. (Why Shah Rukh Khan finds himself within the midst of so many of those clashes looks like a scrumptious subject for an additional day.)
However even amongst these, and so many different large movies clashing with one another, there’s one thing essentially iconic in regards to the conflict between Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Saawariya and Farah Khan’s Om Shanti Om, notably whenever you have a look at these movies and that conflict in right now’s context.
It was the yr 2007. The yr of Shilpa Shetty’s brouhaha in Huge Brother UK, the yr India gained the inaugural T20 cricket World Cup, the yr an SRK movie named Chak De India arrived quietly and gained hearts of all sizes and styles, the yr we posted opinions about these and different issues totally on Orkut. And but, come the festive season, there was just one factor on the nation’s thoughts (or so it appeared.)
Whereas Farah Khan was returning along with her second popcorn entertainer that includes SRK after Predominant Hoon Naa, Sanjay Bhansali’s follow-up to Black was a grand, operatic launchpad for Rishi Kapoor’s son and Anil Kapoor’s daughter – each of who assisted the filmmaker on Black (a snippet appended to all introductions to them, again then).
The upcoming Diwali conflict had been performed up by the media for weeks within the lead-up to launch, and the celebrities of each movies had been throughout TV, in adverts and trailers and actuality exhibits. If Shah Rukh’s spanking new torso gave nationwide relevance to the ‘six-pack’, then beginner Ranbir Kapoor was completely satisfied to let a towel drop to disclose his arse-crack. It appeared, for some time, that this conflict was crucial occasion within the nation.
Again on 9 November in 2007, I keep in mind lining up, first day, first (and second) present, household in tow, to catch each these movies back-to-back. Nearly 13 years to the day later, I did it once more, this time on streaming. I watched the 2 movies back-to-back, in the identical order I noticed them again then – Saawariya adopted by Om Shanti Om – simply to remind myself of an easier time, when a visit to the film theatre was as important to me as consuming 2.5 litres of water a day. And essentially the most lasting takeaway I’ve of this newest try at a stroll down nostalgia alley is that this: thank god films have modified.
For starters, I can’t inform the way you audacious an try like Saawariya feels, within the context of the current. It appears staggering, the period of time, cash and energy expended on a magnum opus, to launch two absolute newcomers who ostensibly bagged the status mission primarily due to their movie trade lineage.
Given the change in perspective in direction of Bollywood’s ‘dynastic traits’ (the N-word needs to be retired), had been Bhansali to make his movies right now as a substitute of when he did, he would in all probability have discovered it simpler to launch Padmaavat and Goliyon Ki Rasleela… Ram-Leela, with their authentic titles in addition, quite than Saawariya. (In the meantime, OSO needed to cope with the controversy surrounding its portrayal of veteran actor Manoj Kumar in a passing comedian scene.)
Not almost sufficient consideration was paid again then to the irony of the glitzy launchpad for star youngsters on one aspect, clashing with a movie that managed to each lampoon and have fun this very high quality of the movie trade on the opposite, starring arguably essentially the most profitable ‘outsider’ to make it in Bollywood and launching an ‘outsider’ alongside. No, again then wasn’t a time for nuance – one thing that each movies make amply clear right now.
Although the 2 movies do have some redeeming qualities, primarily their music, revisiting them jogged my memory of how each movies had been so devoid of relatability, so presumptuous of how primary their viewers was, so totally dismissive of the necessity to create precise characters that say issues that truly make sense. Bollywood has at all times been pulled up for ‘escapism’, however even in case you made allowances for that, these two movies had been supremely responsible of being bloated, self-indulgent works that didn’t actually care for his or her viewers, despite the fact that they pretended to, contemplating all of the fanfare they got here with.
Saawariya had a threadbare plot based mostly on Fyodor Dostoevsky’s brief story White Nights, although I’m wondering why Bhansali would want to go to Dostoevsky for what appeared just like the story of the primary half of a typical Hindi film of the time – boy falls in love at first sight, however lady already has a lover… (In truth, that additionally describes the primary half of Om Shanti Om, earlier than individuals died and had been reincarnated.)
Fortunately, the evaluations of the time really give us trigger for hope, as a result of regardless of all of the hype and hoopla, each movies had been nearly universally acknowledged as underwhelming, although Saawariya got here off the more severe for put on, ‘as a result of at the very least OSO is entertaining’, or so that they mentioned.
“Why nepostic Rajeev Masand at all times give 5 star to Khan film and nepo-kid” could also be a frequent chorus in regards to the movie trade on social media right now, however the recently-vilified film critic gave Saawariya a solitary star out of 5, calling it a ‘fall from grace for the nation’s most celebrated filmmaker’, whereas his 3-on-5 assessment for OSO termed it ‘a swell song-and-dance drama that’s sensationally mindless’. Baradwaj Rangan, then again, known as the Farah Khan image a ‘barely-okay potboiler’, whereas he described Saawariya as a ‘fascinatingly darkish anti-romance’. Most different critics panned the Bhansali movie outright, with blended evaluations for Om Shanti Om.
For sure, Om Shanti Om simply outperformed Saawariya on the field workplace, although the subsequent time Shah Rukh Khan and Sanjay Leela Bhansali had been to conflict, with Dilwale and Bajirao Mastani in 2015, it was Bhansali’s movie that will stroll away with the acclaim and the moolah. Personally, again then and even now, I most popular Saawariya to Om Shanti Om, as a result of between the 2 movies, it merely had higher cinematic craft on show, with memorable frames that had been exhausting to overlook. (With the writing in each being mediocre at finest, it needed to be the technicalities that separate them.)
However actually, it’s not a lot the standard of these movies that made them iconic, however how a lot they impacted popular culture then, and for generations. SRK’s ‘image abhi baaki hai mere dost’ and Deepika Padukone’s ‘ek chutki sindoor’ turned part of the nationwide lexicon after Om Shanti Om. The movie additionally had the primary recorded utilization of ‘enna rascalla, thoughts it’, a phrase that has haunted Indians hailing from the south of the nation ever since. Ranbir Kapoor and his towel, after all, had been the 2007 equal of the dank meme, whereas Saawariya immediately turned a useful metaphor that regarded (or made you’re feeling) blue.
Trying again, the 2 movies seem to be such missed alternatives. Think about if that they had the type of character constructing we see extra typically within the films right now. Think about if that they had spent a proportional quantity of effort and time really writing them, in relation to the time spent producing and advertising them. The conflict could have been one for the ages, however the two movies belong exactly to once they had been made. I’m glad our films have moved on.
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