Cast: Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty
Direction: Umesh Shukla
Umesh Shukla's film, 'OMG — Oh My God!' is a well-intentioned film but the execution could have been better. Shukla very competently succeeds in conveying the message that God has been reduced to mere symbolism in the modern world.
Inspired by a Gujarati play, the plot is simple. Kanji Bhai (Paresh Rawal) is an atheist who owns an antique shop, he manages to cash in on the gullibility of blind believers to make a few extra bucks on the sale of their favourite deities. All is good till one day; the Gods decide to destroy only Kanji's antique shop after an earthquake. Even his insurance claim is rejected because of the "act of God" clause, which basically means since there was no theft, fire or fraud, there is no coverage for a victim of a quake or tsunami. When Kanji bhai's livelihood is at stake, he decides to sue God and claim compensation either from the various Godmen (who evidently run a lucrative business) or the insurance agency.
Umesh Shukla tries to avoid Bollywood clichés by completely avoiding the romantic angle. There's the "Govinda" item song thrown in which doesn't disrupt the narrative in any way and is in fact, the only relief in the first half which seems to drag after a point. The film definitely picks up pace after God aka Krishna Vasudev Yadav (Akshay Kumar) makes an appearance. Kanji Bhai also seems more convincing in the second-half when he justifies his case against God on a television chat show.
Of the supporting cast, Mithun Chakraborty proves that he is still good at his game. I am completely against blatant stereotyping of gay characters in Bollywood films but Mithun is spot on as the slightly effeminate Swamiji. His mannerisms and silent looks say much more than the preachy dialoguebaazi. He makes two of the most important facts about religion; religion is the opium of the masses and as a society we did rather be God-fearing than God-loving. Our entire belief and practice system seems to be based more on fear and less on faith.
What prevents this movie from becoming brilliant is the uneven plot trajectory. While some of the dialogues and scenes are really well-written, the first half suffers from being overtly preachy in parts. Also, it is not quite clear whether Kanji Bhai is actually an atheist or is he only against the corrupt practices that plague religion. And truth be said Akshay Kumar's character doesn't really contribute to the story more than a few more preach-worthy lines.
However, Umesh Shukla should be applauded for making a film that is noble at heart and makes quite a few valid points that are sure to resonate with not only the youth but a lot of us who blindly follow religious practices without a rational mind.
You can also connect with me on Twitter.