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Om Shanthi Om Review: Masss Rehash

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The hero has an accident. Post-accident, he can talk to spirits. They’re only visible to him. He befriends them and helps them fulfil their last wishes. No, we’re not talking about the plot of Masss, although that’s exactly what Om Shanthi Om is. Who watched Ricky Gervais’s Ghost Town first and ran to remake it – Venkat Prabhu or Surya Prabhakar? There’s no way to know. But Om Shanthi Om released this Friday, months after Masss, and comparisons are going to be inevitable.

*****

om-shanthi-om-movie-stills-010Masss was a quintessential massy film, a hard to digest concoction of commercial elements. Om Shanthi Om is the same. Five minutes into the film, the heroine (Neelam Upadhyaya) makes an appearance. A girl who rides around the city on a bike, without a helmet or licence. Is a girl who grins cutely like that really subject to the laws of the road, citizenship and country? Of course not! The traffic policeman grins back at her and sheepishly lets her go. Cut to an introduction song for the heroine, unusually enough. She walks around with four dancers behind her and they sing about how beautiful she is.

In the next five minutes, Vasu (Srikanth) sees her at random moments, and falls in love with her. She refuses to give him her phone number or address. So naturally, he stalks her. The background score agrees, “Gotta catch you baayyybeh!”. The girl, Shanthi, naturally, doesn’t find this creepy. Real life might be astonishingly different, but stalking is key to this love story. She smiles at him. they celebrate with a duet on the streets of Singapore. Onlookers gape.

The focus then shifts to the spirits and Vasu. Shanthi does a cinematic spook and disappears from the movie until the final 20 minutes of the film. One of the spirits wants to see his grandaughter married. One wants justice for her dead son. Fair enough, we think. Until that ice-cream request.

One of the spirits is a seven or eight year old boy, whose last wish is to eat ice-cream. Two kilograms of it. We’re left watching a scene where Srikanth, possessed by the little kid, jaywalks around town. At a restaurant, he annoys us all by talking to the waiter in an inane imitation of a child. He orders his ice-cream, and eats it like (as the waiter points out) he’s eating Thalapakatti biriyani.

*****

Naan Kadavul Rajendran should remove the ‘Naan Kadavul’ from his screen name. His roles these days have nothing to do with that film. He’s become a caricature who used to be funny. In Om Shanthi Om, he’s a dumb dada, who thinks Srikanth is a reincarnation of his dead father. He even brainwashes his aging mother. She then does a kuthu dance song where she tells her ‘new husband’ that they should have another baby. In the midst of all this, Rajendran dances and sings – “Shame Shame Daddy Mummy Puppy Shame”. (Om Shanthi Om, I mentally plead, calm down.)

The funniest part of the film is this: a spirit tells Srikanth “Oru Aathma ku udhavi panna orey manusham nee dhan” (You’re the only man who has helped a ghost). And someone in the audience yells, “Illa, illa, erkanave Masss padathula Suriya pannitaaru” (No, No, Suriya has already done that in Masss).

P.S – We have absolutely no idea what this is about.

*****

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