Religion and faith are as instrumental for the survival of Indians as air and food. It’s no wonder that with devotees often forgetting the thin line between religious belief and blind faith, there are people that know just how to con the gullible. It’s no secret that religion has become as commercial as any other entity out there and with God being the ultimate savior for everyone, the fear and blind devotion are regularly preyed on by those smart enough to use the opportunity. Of course, the plus point is that religion and God being such delicate and sensitive topics, no one can really point out the black sides without being ostracized from the society. And that’s why it is commendable that Umesh Shukla manages to bring forth this point in his Friday release OMG Oh My God.
Based on the Gujarati play Kanji Viruddh Kanji (adapted in Hindi as Kanji vs Kanhaiya) which in itself is inspired from the flick The Man Who Sued God, OMG brings out the business of religion and true worship without being preachy. Kanjilal Mehta (Paresh Rawal) is a middleclass businessman who runs a shop of idols. In spite of being an atheist, Kanji doesn’t see harm in making use of the religious sentiments of others in order to earn his bread. Trouble starts when his shop seems to be the only one destroyed in an earthquake. With the insurance company claiming that since the earthquake falls under the ‘Act of God’ there’s not much help they can give, Kanji now has only one way to save his shop – ask the money from God itself.
Co-written by Bhavesh Mandalia, Umesh gives us a pretty hilarious story which is indeed different from the so called comedies we endure – not to mention the double entendre. The main reason, no doubt, is the effortless performance of Paresh Rawal. Being a seasoned actor, it comes as no surprise that Paresh manages to make the comedy seem less stagey. The reason I say stagey is because although this is a film adaption, OMG often seems to be an extended play on the 70 mm screen. The setup and the screenplay look more suited to a play than a film. The film has pretty engaging scenes but they get monotonous after a point because the set up never really changes. The court room scenes all look the same and follow the same pattern and after a point a tad boring because you know how the scene will flow next. Same is the case with the other parts; they all feel the same. Also, Umesh’s point have been driven more seriously if the ‘bad people’ weren’t so purely evil. It’s the age of grey characters, and black or white ones aren’t truly digestible anymore.
In spite of all of this if there’s a reason I say the movie is indeed really enjoyable and deserves the rating, it’s because Umesh manages to put forth several important points with valid and proper justifications. Whether is the matter of unnecessary rituals, silly donations or what actually would be the true form of devotion, Kanji’s arguments seem perfectly valid and believable. And in a nation where cracking a joke on a community could lead to the movie being banned, we know how difficult this task is. OMG asks everyone the same questions which sometime or the other has definitely crossed our minds. Is it better to waste thousands on flowers and candles which would be thrown away or is it better to use them for someone who actually needs them? If God exists everywhere do we really need temples, mosques and churches?
OMG belongs to Paresh but all the other small characters manage to support his performance. Akshay Kumar makes an appearance as God Krishna. He doesn’t really have much to do but I think that was the whole point – God quietly watching over guiding only when required. Akshay gives that naughty, mischievous smile all the time and does make a good – and handsome- Kanhaiya!
If one talks about the other aspects of the film, from music to cinematography, they all seem pretty decent. If this movie works for you it’s because of Paresh and the fresh take at religion. Go watch it. It might be ages since we come across a decent comedy.