At the outset it’s just another Bollywood (India’s version of Hollywood, if you didn’t know already) love story–running around the trees, dancing, fighting villains, costume changes, catchy songs. The perfect formula for an expensive, highly marketed, typical Bollywood movie.
It’s not surprising that “Om Shanti Om,” a blockbuster hit in India, is garnering big audiences as it makes its way across America. It’s got a winning star cast–Shah Rukh Khan as the hero (with his magnetic personality and six-pack abs that has his fans oohing and aahing), a gorgeous new heroine, Deepika Padukone, and the handsome Arjun Rampal as the villain. Not to mention the guest appearances by every super star and starlet in Bollywood, the catchy tunes, the vibrant dances–it’s no wonder this movie has been highly successful.
But what really sets this film apart from the other current Bollywood fare is it’s the story of rebirth, a theme visited by older Bollywood movies but not so popular now. “Om Shanti Om” proves why this theme (explored in Western films like “Little Buddha” and “Birth”) is one worth revisiting.
According to the tenets of Hinduism, the soul is immortal and is reborn each time based upon it’s karma in its previous life. Several other religions, such as Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Taoism, and others, believe in this concept as well. Some sects of Sufi Muslims, and some new age groups like the theosophists and Scientologists, also believe in reincarnation.
While this is a controversial subject, what is fascinating about it is the fact that the rationale for rebirth is that the soul seeks perfection. With each life and its shortcomings, and with every other life it moves on to, the soul (or atman, according to Hinduism) seeks to better itself and become perfect.
This is the story of “Om Shanti Om,” where Shah Rukh Khan’s characters soul seeks love and revenge and will not rest until it attains peace and tranquility. As with any reincarnation story this movie spans generations, and the sets and costumes are all very time appropriate. Though rather lengthly, “Om Shanti Om” is an entertaining movie. Unlike most Bollywood flicks, this one certainly provides food for the spiritual mind.