Om Shanti Om

Starring Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, and Arjun Rampal. Rated PG.

Reincarnation has been a hit at the Bollywood box office, and Om Shanti Om (loosely translated as Serenity Now) squeezes everything it can from this winning formula–with mixed results.

The film opens on the set of the 1980 reincarnation classic Karz, where the haunting song "Om Shanti Om" is being filmed. There we meet struggling actor Om (Shahrukh Khan), a two-bit player who is trying to get out of the shadows of his actor mother and dead father.

Om has sworn to make it big, even if it means dropping his un-starry last name. His stardom seems like a pie-in-the-sky, as witnessed by his sad monologues to the film posters of his starlet idol, Shanti (Deepika Padukone). But Shanti then becomes Om's ticket to becoming a star when he saves her from a fire on the set of her latest film.

Both stardom and possible romance with Shanti beckon, but Om learns a dark secret about the starlet and film producer Mukesh Mehra (Arjun Rampal), who made her a star. When Om is killed while trying to rescue Shanti, he's reborn as Om Kapoor, the son of superstar Rajesh Kapoor. And it's at this dramatic turn, when the action switches to present-day Bollywood, 30 years later, that Om Shanti Om derails.

Former dancer-choreographer and now director Farah Khan does an excellent job re-creating late-1970s Bollywood, from costumes and lingo to in-jokes and parodies of the stars of that era. It's a real treat for fans who have grown up on Bollywood films.

Yet despite its near-perfect first half, with its dazzling dance numbers and hilarious comedy, the film loses its charm when it moves to modern times, which seem drab and boring. The film lacks creativity in the second half, failing to bring its reincarnation tale to a satisfactory conclusion.

Link: Om Shanti Om official site