By Hindustan Times
Direction: Umesh Shukla
Actors: Akshay Kumar, Paresh Rawal, Mithun Chakraborty
Rating: ** 1/2 OMG
Oh My God! is about something that touches all our lives - religion. It is a film about our relationship with God, how instead of being God-loving, we
have become God-fearing. How religion has become a business run by godmen (here aptly referred to as 'salesmen') who aren't in fact very spiritual at all. A note to atheists and agnostics - the film is not an endorsement of those views. It insists on the existence of God.
Kanji Lalji Mehta, played by Paresh Rawal, is an avowed atheist who runs an antiques shop. Kanji is a wily salesman. He weaves tall tales around his wares and sells 200-rupee idols for thousands. The faithful are always ready to pay. As Kanji puts it: "Shraddha ka kaam hai, jitna dalo, utna kum."
One day, an earthquake destroys Kanji's shop. The insurance company refuses to pay, saying it was an act of God. So Kanji, defiant, furious and abandoned by his family, goes to court and sues God.
The story is an adaptation of a very successful Gujarati play, which later became a hit in Hindi and Marathi too. The original template is an Australian film called The Man Who Sued God. Sadly, here, a terrific play makes for limp cinema.
Director Umesh Shukla, who has also directed the play, is bogged down by the burden of Bollywood. So we must have an item number with Sonakshi Sinha and Prabhu Deva. Shukla must also make room for the mega-stardom of Akshay Kumar, who is both producer and God.
Akshay plays God, which would have worked well if the film didn't have to build him up so much. He is introduced with an elaborate action sequence, featuring tacky special effects, in which he rescues Kanji from religious fanatics. This God comes to earth on a snazzy motorcycle and wears, among other things, a long purple jacket. His face is always bathed in a strange, diffused light. And there are scores of frames of him just smiling benevolently or looking wisely into the distance.
Paresh is wonderful as the stubborn, smart and eccentric Kanji. He gets a few fiery scenes in court, but the film sags because the other characters are so flimsy. Mithun Chakraborty, in a hideous wig, plays a weird, fey guru. Govind Namdeo is a godman who constantly eats fruits and shakes with anger almost every time he speaks. Eventually OMG Oh My God! dissipates into a lecture. The intentions are good, but the preaching is boring.
Paresh Rawal, as usual, rises above the material. He is the force in this film.