O My God
Umesh Shukla's OMG is a brilliant piece of cinema
AJAZ UL HAQUE
O My God is the story of Kanji Lalji Mehta (Paresh Rawal), a middle-class Hindu atheist who owns a shop of idols and antiques in Mumbai. An insurance company denies to honour his claim after his shop gets destroyed in an earthquake. They plead that since earthquake is an `Act of God' so this mode of loss can't be covered by the company. Kanji, already done with religious practices, becomes more intense in his anger against anything perceived and projected as godly. He doesn't sue the company for not compensating him, he does the incredible. He sues God and thereby hangs a tale of a protest against an organised religion. OMG is not a satire against religion per se but against turning religion in to an industry. The filmmaker must have taken a cue from Meera Nanda's book The God Market which portrays India as a huge market of buying and selling faith. Though OMG plot sounds a rehash of an Australian movie The man who sued God but the landscape against which it's been shot and made is more intimate to Indian audience. As India faces bigotry as a challenge, and in a certain respect, seems to follow the failures in her neighbourhood, such films signify a lot.
Shukla derides rituals carried out in the name of religion, but doesn't forget to point towards the essence of faith. Akhshay Kumar features God who doesn't live in the worshipping places but in the hearts of his people. The God that film shows is an omnipresent being who doesn't appear anywhere in the form we expect him to appear, but whose fingerprints are seen everywhere. Though the filmmaker has handled this sensitive subject with all maturity and intelligence, but care need be taken to keep atheism from becoming another religion. The theme of such films or books or any other form of creative art must not be to raise a problem which at times becomes even more dangerous than the original. Disbelief doesn't necessarily mean disrespect, we can be reverent even in denial.
Meanwhile in an attempt to fight dengue and malaria fever, which gripped Jharkhand's Bokaro district recently, people did something unusual. To ward off the evil, they offered prayers to the 'mosquito god'. It was a real spectacle to see a big mosquito statue installed on a roadside. Devotees were seen beating drums and chanting mantras. All to appease the winged god. O My God!, why did it happen much latter after Shukla's O My God.
Lastupdate on : Sat, 1 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 1 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 2 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST
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