Star cast: Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar, Mithun Chakraborty, Govind Namdeo, Poonam Jhawer, Mahesh Manjrekar, Sonakshi Sinha and Prabhu Deva.
What’s Good: The concept; the performances; the witty comebacks and dialogues.
What’s Bad: The movie seems to steer away from the main issue; the unsatisfactory explanations.
Loo Break: Not really.
Watch or Not?: Watch OMG Oh My God! for the interesting arguments and repartees.
There’s no Believer knocking on your door and giving you a booklet about Him. Nor someone kicking a kitten and asking you, “Where’s your God now?” It’s a rather interesting take on God, his so-called “mediums” and the rituals that have been mindlessly passed on since generations. Sounds preachy? Well, the movie isn’t.
Kanji (Paresh Rawal) is a not just an atheist, this non-believer exploits people’s faith to run his business. By selling idols of gods with make-believe tales, Kanji Lalji Mehta earns a living, and also the wrath of his God-fearing wife, and the man/woman himself, God. When his shop is destroyed in a curious earthquake (that singles out his property to wreck in the entire vicinity), Kanji doesn’t fret much as he has it insured. But the insurance company rejects his claim on the basis that their cover does not include an “act of God”.
Driven to the edge, Kanji decides to take up the matter with the ultimate authority: in this case, God himself. He files a case in the court accusing God of destroying his property and hence liable to pay him the fine. Since God has no particular address, Kanji sends the notice to all the self-proclaimed God-men who claim to be in constant touch with Him.
So now Kanji has to argue the case against a colourful cast of holy people including the hand-flicking Mithun Chakraborthy, the fiery Siddheshwar Maharaj (Govind Namdeo) and eye-candy Gopi Maiyya (Poonam Jhawer). Not only does Kanji have to prove that God does exist, he also has to show that He is responsible for Kanji’s loss.
Enter Bhagwaan (Akshay Kumar).
Does Kanji win, with God by his side? Does he become a believer? Watch for yourself and decide.
Adapted from a Gujarati play by Bhavesh Mandalia, writer Umesh Shukla has adapted the drama to the big screen quite skillfully. Paresh Rawal’s character Kanjilal gets some of the best dialogues and thespian does full justice to them. Kanjilal’s arguments and counter-questions are very well thought out. The take on the God-men is very interesting. The best part was the parallel drawn to the Mahabharata towards the end, with Krishna (Akshay) re-playing his role as the legendary charioteer-advisor for a warrior (Arjun then, Kanji now).
Though the story and script are well done and brings out thought provoking questions, the problem is that the film seems to veer away from the original topic and becomes more about false God-men than about the very existence of God. The TV debate seemed just for the heck of it. Though necessary, Kanji’s illness towards the end is too contrived.
Paresh Rawal gives a stellar performance as Kanji. He delivers his dialogues so effortlessly and casually that you really cheer for this twisted hero. Akshay Kumar does well as Bhagwan/Krishna but sometimes the writers seem to try too hard to rub it in that he’s the Dark Cowherd. Mithun Chakraborty is a gem as one of the God-men but his stereotypical “broken-wrist” act can make you wince. Govind Namdeo goes a bit over the top as the saffron clad Siddheshwar Maharaj but suits his role. Though Poonam Jhawer doesn’t get much to do as Gopi Maiyya, her very presence will make you grin. Mithun, Govind and Poonam’s characters have some very real life inspirations which makes them all the more fun on screen.
Mahesh Manjrekar is good as the lawyer. Sonakshi Sinha and Prabhu Deva are fun in their guest appearances.
Umesh Shukla does justice to the script with his direction. Amar Mohile’s background music is good. Songs by Himesh Reshammiya, Anjjan – Meet Bros, Sachin and Jigar are alright with Go Go Govinda and Mere Nishaan the only ones that deserve mention. Sethu Sriram’s cinematography is nice. Editing is alright. The special effects are a bit clunky.
For once, there’s a movie that wants you to use your brains instead of just clapping and whistling away at the mindless action/sex scenes. Watch OMG Oh My God also because it has good performances and an interesting concept.
Watched on 21.10.2012, 10:25 p.m. Cinepolis, Ahmedabad