wiki:Om Dar-b-dar

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Om Dar-b-dar

1988 101’ col Hindi d/p/s/lyr Kamal Swaroop pc NFDC c Ashwani Kaul, Milind Ranade m Rajat Dholakia lp Anita Kanwar, Gopi Desai, Lalit Tiwari, Aditya Lakhia, Bhairav Chandra Sharma, Lakshminarayan Shastri, Ramesh Mathur, Manish Gupta, Peter Morris

One of the most unusual independent films of the 80s, Kamal Swaroop’s debut briefly suggested the possibility of an avant-garde. Set in a mythical small town in Rajasthan, akin to the Jhumri Talaiya whence stem the largest number of requests for film music singles addressed All India Radio’s commercial channel, the film tells of a boy, Om, growing into adolescence (Manish Gupta plays the young Om, Aditya Lakhia the older boy). The son of a fortune teller (Shastri) and the younger brother of Gayatri (Desai), Om’s major problem is that, riddled with guilt about his voyeurism, he believes himself to be responsible for everything that happens around him. Gayatri is courted by Jagdish (Tiwari) as she dreams of a future that would allow her to ride a bicycle or to sit in the men’s section of a movie theatre. Many of Om’s fantasies about sexuality and death are graphically realised in remarkable song sequences: a science teacher dissecting a frog expands into the Felliniesque Rana Tigrina number, or the moonwalk on a terrace on the night that Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. This double-edged satire acquires a further dimension with the entry of Phoolkumari (Kanwar), whose sexuality sends out beguiling and horrifying messages evoking, for Jagdish, the world of cheap Hindi novelettes. Then war is declared as the Diwali firecrackers become real explosions, the father’s (Shastri) diamonds hoarded for blackmarket purposes are lost on the sethji’s property where they are swallowed by frogs. In the end, Om atones by enacting the traditional legend of Brahma’s descent to earth, the origin of the Pushkar fair which today is a major tourist attraction in Rajasthan. Om learns the art of breathing underwater and turns into a tourist exhibit. The jerky, fast-moving and witty film proceeds by way of symbolic imagery including tadpoles, skeletons and fantasies derived from Hindi movies, advertising, television and the popular Hindi novel. The music and soundtracks are remarkably inventive (e.g. the transformation of Come September into the number A-a-a mohabbat humsafar ho jaye).