Om-Dar-Ba-Dar: Film Review

Consider this: A movie which is already being hailed as a cult classic and one of the main proponents of a certain kind of voice in cinema. Does writing about this very movie which was made 26 years ago and is getting released now needs to qualify in the context of reviewing a film? For a more clear definition (just for now ), we can call it absurdist cinema. Om-Dar-Ba-Dar is the movie which Kamal Swaroop made in 1989 and at best it can be considered as a post modernist Hindi film. If someone asks to describe Om-Dar-Ba-Dar, it is going to be an extremely difficult task as there can’t be a description of something which is so abstract in its sense. This is a happily constructed nonsense and a dream of a cinephile, full of life . Watch this movie as a sort of LSD trip and that will be the best way to do justice to the movie which has survived the test of time and not only that; even found great admirers among today’s Indian cinema’s major filmmakers like Anurag Kashyap and Imtiaz Ali among others.

The influence of Om-Dar-Ba-Dar is far reaching and its unapologetic experimental style has influenced and entertained true film lovers in a way only rare movies do. Set in Rajasthan, Om-Dar-Ba-Dar is about the adventures of Om in his grown-up years and his disillusionment with life. Om is rather a strange man whose family is even more eccentric. A father who leaves his job so that he can practice astrology, a sister who is dating a good for nothing guy and when it comes to Om , he believes that his true skill is his ability to hold his breath for long time. Does it make sense? No , it doesn’t. But wait! That is exactly the point. The movie employs absurdist storyline and non-linear narrative to satirize Indian mythology, arts, politics and philosophy among others.

Watching Om-Dar-Ba-Dar will make you feel repelled and frustrated and at the same time you will find it amazingly funny too. One of the reasons is that you might not have seen anything like this before. Even after trying too hard, the best I can come up with to describe this movie is by talking about a sequence from another Hindi movie ‘Yeh Saali Zindagi’ . In that movie, there is a sequence where Irrfan Khan is falling from a building and he says that while falling all that came to his mind was the images of those fire acrobats who jump from heights in the entertainment fair. Om-Dar-Ba- Dar is exactly the kind of film which is gonna flash in your mind in situations of such kind(read metaphor). Any work like this needs a zany situation of a similar kind to truly understand the legacy, influence and cult of something so transcendental like Om-Dar-Ba-Dar.

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