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Om Jai Jagdish


"Om Jai Jagdish"... a clichéd story.

AH, NOW we get it! This has to be Anupam Kher's way of getting back at Bollywood for making him mouth inane dialogue all these years. He didn't have to do it, but he has anyway. His revenge comes in the form of "Om Jai Jagdish", because why else would someone like him make such a film? Produced by Vashu Bhagnani, whose eye on the box office has resulted in some really ghastly films that are clueless about the realities of life and the charm of the medium, this is one pathetic attempt at story telling.

It has a clichéd story (not much of it anyway) plenty of maudlin dialogues, situations that you'll want to snigger at, and music (Anu Mallik) that is pitifully devoid of any aesthetics. For example, one of the songs goes thus - "happy, happy, happy, happy, happy days are here", picturised on three, syrupy men (all brothers) who moon and swoon with love for each other. Add to that a mother whose eyes are perpetually wet with tears, and you can imagine the rest of it.

The ideals of a joint family, a loving, sacrificing older brother (Anil Kapoor), a matriarch (Waheeda Rehman) who holds her family together with sheer love, a son (Fardeen Khan) whose ambition is to make the fastest car in the world, a noble hearted computer hacker who wants to develop a better alternative to Windows (Abhishek Bachan), an MTV veejay (Mahima Choudhry) who turns coy and abiding once married, a foreign bahu (Urmila Matondkar) who cannot understand why living in India should be such a big deal, all provide grist to this venture.

Saraswati lives with two of her sons, Om and Jagdish, in a sprawling bungalow facing the sea (with many property developers having an eye on it), while Jai, who is studying automobile engineering in Atlanta, prays everyday and yearns for `ma ka bana hua khana'. They would like Jai to finish and get back to India, but this dreamy-eyed youngster has plans to stay on and make a car that will make the world sit up. And he has a girlfriend, Neetu, who would like him to stay on. But he goes back much to the delight of the others back home and all is hunky dory till he marries Neetu. Now there is trouble in paradise. And it gets worse as Om finds it difficult to pay back the money he borrowed from his boss, Shekhar (Parmeet Sethi), for Jai's studies.

Meanwhile Jagdish gets caught hacking into the university's question papers and is suspended without any hope of reprieve. The rest of the film goes to prove that there is nothing like dogged love, optimism and realising impossible dreams to restore things. And the film ends on an And- They -Lived -Happily-Ever -After, note.

Most disjointed in the first half; the film shows some semblance of picking up once troubles beset the family. It could have gone on to show a nice family drama, but the director decided otherwise. The last half hour in fact takes the cake for its melodrama. It's most painful to watch this talented director's descent into the average, commercial mould.

Anil Kapoor is his usual self, while Fardeen has potential to stand out, if given a chance. Smiling sweetly isn't going to get him very far, while Abhishek could be a dark horse provided he is not made to dance or wear turquoise-coloured pants and jacket.

As for Waheeda, it is such a pleasure to see her on screen, but her great capacity to perform has been considerably undermined thanks to the characterisation. And then of course its not really their fault, but Mahima Choudhary and Urmila Matondkar are better forgotten while newcomer Tara Sharma seems purely incidental.

Any redeeming feature in this film could only be in the fine camera work and visuals that make the characters and their home eye-catching. And in places, the angles and the dissolves are nicely done to create a mood.

CHITRA MAHESH

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