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Arts & Culture

Om Shanti Om

Om Shanti Om is reportedly the biggest day and date international release in Bollywood history with 2000 prints in circulation. Bollywood takes its name from the blending of Bombay (the former name of the city of Mumbai where these films are made) and Hollywood. Bollywood refers to a particular high gloss, studio film that harkens back to the old Hollywood studio films of the 40s. So if you feel that Hollywood no longer makes big glamorous musicals then

Om Shanti Om may be just the film to check out. It promises to be chock full of eye candy, packed with flashy musical numbers, and to show off beautiful people looking, well, beautiful. Bollywood studios, like MGM in its golden day, are still essentially driven by a star system with studios churning out star vehicles celebrating the glamor of its gorgeous actresses and handsome leading men. Clips on the site for

Om Shanti Om reveal the kind of big production numbers that MGM used to do with such unabashed enthusiasm. But nowadays, only music videos seem to devote that much attention, showmanship and scale to musical numbers (and even those kind of music videos seem to be waning). But in Bollywood movies, the musical numbers ARE the movie. The

Om Shanti Om site highlights the music, the choreographer, the costumes, the singers.

Beautiful people looking...well, beautiful. Om Shanti Om (Red Chillies Entertainment)

As with most Bollywood films, Om Shanti Om requires that you settle in for a long evening of entertainment, complete with intermission. Part one of Om Shanti Om is set some three decades ago in the studio heyday. Om (Shah Rukh Khan) is an extra, or more impressively titled, a junior artiste. Naturally he dreams of being a superstar, and he ends up in one musical number that digitally incorporates old stars' faces. Om mets Shanti (Deepika Padukone) on set and becomes friends with her. But part one ends with the studio destroyed by fire. Part two picks up 30 years later and finds a new superstar Om Kapoor (also Khan) who was born on the day the studio burned down and may be the reincarnated spirit of the old Om. This "reincarnation" device allows the film to keep it's stars young and yet be able to exist in two different eras.

Om Shanti Om looks like a perfect alternative to the somber, serious-minded Oscar hopefuls filling the mall theaters at the moment. So take a break from reality and enjoy a Bollywood vacation.

Companion viewing: Main Hoon Na, Devdas, Chak de India