Om Shanti Om Vs Saawariya
Film: Om Shanti Om
Director: Farah Khan. The lady who got to choreograph her first film Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar by chance made a blockbuster debut with SRK home production Main Hoon Na. “Main Hoon Na was my tribute to the Hindi films we grew up watching... Om Shanti Om is a tribute to the ’70s era when we grew up,” says Farah.
Star power: Shah Rukh Khan. The man who can do no wrong. Candy floss or gilli danda, King Khan can pull in the crowds with his appeal and win their applause with his abilities. He, of course, is the biggest star of Diwali Friday. With a six pack, two roles and a new lady love, will SRK be unstoppable' “Om Shanti Om is the kind of film I am good at... romancing a girl, beating up the bad guys,” dimples Shah Rukh.
Ace of base: Deepika Padukone. Badminton champ Prakash Padukone’s daughter rocked the ramp before deciding to send us ‘reel’ing. The Bollywood debutante displays remarkable poise as yesteryear actress Shantipriya. “I was very nervous when I started shooting but Shah Rukh and Farah made me very comfortable on the sets and otherwise as well. Whenever I got stuck in a scene, Shah Rukh and Farah came to my aid,” dimples Deepika.
Also starring: Shreyas Talpade, Arjun Rampal.
Music: Vishal-Shekhar. Whether it’s the melodious Ajab si or the boisterous Dard-e-Disco, the duo seems to have got it right for their first mega film. “It is without doubt our biggest album and we gave Farah a whole lot of options for every situation. Hope we have been able to deliver,” they duet.
X-factor: The SRK six pack. He has it. Now everyone wants it. The song was planned with Shakira and Shah Rukh but when her hips started to lie, Farah told SRK: “You will have to be both Shah Rukh and Shakira.” The rest is unbuttoned history — six pack in three months! Never has there been such a buzz about a male body in Bollywood. Some call the SRK ads yuck, some call it yummy, but no one’s been able to ignore the shirtless Dard-e-Disco.
Top of mind: There’s no escaping the Om Shanti Om promo pitch. From Zee TV’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge to STAR Plus’s Voice of India and Nach Baliye 3, the OSO team is here, there, everywhere. The title track — with Rekha, Shabana Azmi, Sridevi, Kajol, Tabu, Rani Mukerji, Preity Zinta, Priyanka Chopra, Vidya Balan, Mithun Chakraborty, Karisma Kapoor, Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Sanjay Dutt — has us all counting the stars (yes, there are 31 in the promo). That’s not all. You walk into a Shoppers’ Stop and run into the Om Shanti Om line of clothes. Plus, a star-studded premiere is being planned in London.
Did you know: Om Shanti Om is not Deepika Padukone’s debut movie (She did a Kannada film called Aishwarya with Southie star Upendra.) Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh’s rival number one, does appear in Om Shanti Om (No, not in the all-star song but at an awards function, playing himself.) Karz plays a vital role in OSO (Subhash Ghai and Rishi Kapoor appear as themselves and the title, of course, is from the famous Kishore Kumar song.)
t2 tip: Book first day, first show tickets, get your popcorn, get family and friends together, make a lot of noise and sing Om Shanti Om. Have a six-pack blast!
Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The master maker from Mumbai has got a foreign co-producer and so the Rs 50 crore budget of Devdas has risen to Rs 65 crore for Saawariya. Also, thanks to Sony, which is co-producing the film under its newly-formed SPE India banner, Saawariya is assured of a global reach. But the real challenge for Bhansali, who chews gum 24x7 and only allows his left profile to be clicked, lies in launching two newcomers after handling veterans like Bachchan and Rani in Black. “It’s important to move away from expectations — your own and others. Black broke many rules. After Devdas people said it was harakiri for me to make a dark film. But it was a spontaneous decision. Saawariya is again straight from the heart,” chews Bhansali.
Debut duo: Ranbir Kapoor. The biggest debut of Diwali Friday, this man’s legacy precedes him in every sense of the term. The only male heir to the Kapoor khaandaan, his acting skills and star quality will be under the scanner from second one of Saawariya. Hopefully, he will have more to show than just the RK stamp and the towel as a style statement. “I was born into the Kapoor family but I have my personal goals. And I want to achieve those set goals rather than try to meet expectations. I am happy to be born into the Kapoor family,” smiles Ranbir.
Sonam Kapoor. The most low-key of the three big debuts of November 9, Anil Kapoor’s daughter also assisted Bhansali on Black. “I want to do complete commercial films because I love dancing and music. I love jhatka songs like Beedi jalai le. I love Karisma Kapoor. I love the comedy Juhi Chawla does. But I also want to do films that are not just entertainment. (Like) Chak De! or Black.”
Also starring: Salman Khan, Rani Mukerji.
Music: Monty. After the background scores in Devdas and Black, Pyarelal’s nephew has got a movie soundtrack after waiting for almost a decade. And if the 14 songs are anything to go by, he delivers... and how! “The melody is Indian, the orchestration Western,” says Monty.
X-factor: RK in a towel. Yes, the fireworks this Diwali come from above Shah Rukh’s belt and below Ranbir’s belt. If it’s SRK’s abs in OSO, it’s Ranbir’s butt in Saawariya. Will he or won’t he drop the towel' Well, last heard, the censors felt there was too much of Ranbir to allow a ‘U’ certification. Butt seriously...
Top of mind: Tu sher, toh main sawa sher. If Om Shanti Om went big on the small screen, so did Saawariya. Becoming judges and guests on almost all the reality shows on TV, SLB and company made sure that they grabbed enough eyeballs. They had a music channel tie-up and giant billboards thanks to a Rs 20 crore promo blitz.
Did you know: RK is the name of the bar where Ranbir’s character works (The RK logo shown in the last frame of the early promos with Ranbir and Sonam doing the Raj Kapoor-Nargis pose in the foreground is not the RK Studio in the film.) Begum Para makes a comeback after 50 years (She did films like Shama and Mehndi in the 1940s before marrying Dilip Kumar’s brother Nasir Khan.) Despite the 14 songs, Saawariya is all of 125 minutes (Slashed from the original 165 minutes.)
t2 tip: Enjoy the visuals, admire the sets, hum the songs but beyond that it can get a tad melodramatic. Sonam, not Ranbir, is the one to watch.
Pratim D. Gupta
(Which film is your first choice — Om Shanti Om or Saawariya' Tell firstname.lastname@example.org)