REVIEW: ‘Oh My God’ – Paresh Rawal, Akshay Kumar’s Truly Divine Comedy

Akshay Kumar as Lord Krishna in 'OMG Oh My God'
Akshay Kumar as Lord Krishna in ‘OMG Oh My God’

OMG is indeed about a man who decides to go to court and make god accountable when his shop is destroyed by an earthquake.

The atheist, Kanji Lalji Mehta (Paresh Rawal), is close to bankrupt and steeped in debt when the insurance company says they cannot make any payment for “an act of god”.

When all the other advocates write him off as mad for atempting to sue god, Mehta finds support only from Advocate Hanif Qureishi played by Om Puri. Mehta then sends a notice to the “representatives” of god in religious sites likd Varanasi, Ujjain. Rishikesh, etc.

Mithun Chakraborty is superb as the effeminate god man (with an uncanny resemblance to Sri Sri Ravishankar) while Govind Namdeo as always shouts through his part as the saffron-robed sadhu.

The styling and parodying of these care takers of religion is very well done and conveniently spotlights the commodification of religion and god as a profitable brand.

Rawal slips into the role like its a bespoke glove, having mastered the part of the cynical non-believer in the stage versions. As Mehta, he exposes religion as a lucrative business, using unarguable logic and often echoing the thoughts and sentiments of many fence-sitters who question the ritualistic approach to nature and the misinterpretation of various scriptures.

But Mehta’s conversion happens slowly and surely by Krishna Vasudev Yadav from Gokul, played by Akshay Kumar. The dapper avatar of god guides Mehta through his dilemmas and towards unadultered faith. As he says, ‘Hamara karma hai rasta dikhana; manzil tak panhuchna tumhara’ (my task is to show you the path; reaching the goal is yours).

Director-writer Umesh Shukla eventually makes the point that faith is different from religion and the two should not be confused. The message is strong, but eventually diluted by over writing, verbosity and poor production values.

If god is in the details, its the details that are lost or glossed over here.

The film is salvaged by a noteworthy performance by Rawal, ably supported by Kumar and leaves you often amused, often nodding your head in agreement, and surprised at the stories ability to tackle a complex subject with conviction.

Rating: ***