God, of all things!


By Kaushik Kashyap

Umesh Shukla
Paresh Rawal, Mithun Chakraborty, Akshay Kumar, Nidhi Subbaiah

OMG OH MY GOD! is a cynical film without being too preachy. Taking the Marxian adage of “religion is the opium of the masses”, the filmmakers have tried to engage the audience in a dialogue on the godlessness of god-dealers by mixing seriousness and comedy in the right measure. For that, the film indulges in a lot of establishment-bashing, but does it credibly.

OMG is the story of atheist Gujarati businessman Kanjibhai, who deals in antiques, specialising in selling idols of gods and goddesses at inflated prices. Yet, he is not a dupe; he believes that religion and god is a waste of time and money. A freak earthquake (measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale, we are told) brings down Kanjibhai’s shop. The insurance company turns down his claim, calling it an “act of God”. A crestfallen and angry Kanjibhai then slaps a case on god, demanding compensation for his loss.

The movie is an adaptation of Gujarati play Kanji Viruddh Kanji, which, in turn, was inspired by the 2001 Australian film, The Man Who Sued God. However, in its tone, OMG is reminiscent of the 1960 Stanley Kramer classic, Inherit The Wind, as it questions age-old beliefs and traditions.

Paresh Rawal, as Kanjibhai, shows just why he is one of the best actors we have; Mithun Chakraborty, in the role of the effeminate Leeladhar, has pulled off a brilliant performance.

The weak link is Akshay Kumar. As god, his histrionics are truisms. The sudarshan chakra-like movement of the keychain, playing the flute to “wake the birds”, corny dialogues (sample this: “Bhaiyya bhi keh sakte ho, kanhaiyya bhi”), etc, all add to Indian cinema’s inability (or is it unwillingness?) to portray god as normal (think Morgan Freeman in Bruce Almighty).

However, that is a trivial complaint about a film that otherwise scores big on the guts meter. Taking a dig at everything and everyone from institutionalised religion to godmen to donations to temples and other religious places, the film goes into a territory few would dare to venture — religion is a business and priests are “salesmen”.

A desire to over-explain makes the end a little tardy and tedious. But, ignore that, and what you have is an interesting commentary on the pitfalls of blind faith.

Kaushik Kashyap is an Assistant Editor with Tehelka. 
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