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Is Akshay Kumar’s Shiva avtaar too strong for Sunny Deol’s Gadar 2 ? – Beyond Bollywood

Shiv bhakt Kanti Sharad Mudgal [Pankaj Tripathi] appears to have suffered a tragedy and his deep prayer has forced the Mahadev to show him the way.

Akshay Kumar in OMG 2 [2023]

By Mayur Lookhar

With Ranbir Kapoor’s [2023] Animal out of the reckoning, it is going to be a two-horse race between Gadar 2 and OMG [Oh My God] 2. The former had released its trailer few weeks ago, with Gadar [2001] also being re-released. Being an established brand, there is no denying that Gadar 2 will have its loyal following.  What are the odds for Akshay Kumar’s OMG 2 succeeding? 

The super star has been struggling for the last few years with the odd hit in his kitty. Fans are losing count of the duds.  It is well documented how Kumar is going to play Shiva, but what story are we going to see in OMG 2?

OMG [2012] came about in a different social, political environment where it was okay to question faith. Forward to 2023, and it would be no less than a sin to question faith. Producer-actor Akshay Kumar, Viacom18 have released their teaser today. The first thing they do right is have a protagonist who is deeply religious. In doing so, they have turned the franchise onto its head.

Pankaj Tripathi in OMG 2 [2023[

Paresh Rawal’s Kanji Lal was an atheist. OMG 2’s Kanti Sharan Mudgal [Pankaj Tripathi is a Shiv bhakt.  Through the course of the first film, Kanji Lal eventually accepted that God does exist, but religion is a man-made business. Based on the OMG 2 teaser, it is difficult to say whether Mudgal’s faith is shaken, but a certain tragedy, possibly of his young son, has left the family distraught. We see Mudgal chase a young boy, who then commits suicide by being mowed down by a train. What made this young boy take his life? That will be revealed in time to come.

Mudgals were earlier Kshatriyas and later integrated into Brahmins. That rules out him being a lowborn. The image of Mudgal sweeping in a courtroom suggests that he could be a humble servant who has no means to seek justice for his son. When pushed into a corner, a man only relies on divine intervention. That is where Akshay Kumar’s Shiv avtaar arrives in human form.  Kumar played Lord Krishna in OMG [2012].

Pankaj Tripathi and Akshay Kumar in OMG 2 [2023]

The hairdo isn’t natural, but just like OMG [2012], Kumar will bring his infectious smile, jovial attitude to the fore. The six-pack Shiva always looks great on screen. Rakh vishwas, tu hai Shiv ka das (Have faith, you are Shiva’s disciple). Though the Hindi words rhyme, but the dialogue delivery by Kumar isn’t great. The visual of Kumar bathing besides a railway track, with a speeding train passing by, is dangerous but given that a young boy died in the very track, this scene could have a ritualistic symbol in the content of the film.

Pankaj Tripathi is a more gifted artiste than Kumar. Man made religion, but God never differentiates between his creations. There is deep faith in Tripathi’s tone, but the visuals that we see of Tripathi don’t quite build that emotional connect. Note, this view is purely based on the teaser alone.

Yami Gautam is part of the cast, but we don’t really see her in this teaser. Sometimes, Bollywood filmmakers tend to insert everyone in a teaser which isn’t advisable.

At the fag end, we see a cow perhaps a reference to Nandi, the sacred bull of Lord Shiva. No matter what the tone, Har Har Mahadev chant is enough to attract crores of devotees.

Screenshot of night sky in a MP temple in OMG 2 [2023]

Jawan teaser/prevue was launched yesterday. The lone thing common that we found between then is the aerial shot of the city night sky over a place of worship.  We saw a devi temple in Jawan, here it is a Shiva temple. It is still not clear where exactly is Jawan set, Mumbai or Delhi, but OMG  2 is set in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh.

OMG 2 or Gadar 2, which teaser is better. Honestly, it is unfair to compare as they are two vastly different films. Brand Gadar has a certain machoism attached to it, and thus it makes Gadar 2 mora appealing to the target mass audience. Faith though stretches beyond any machoism, nationalism/jingoism.  OMG 2 holds the advantage here.  Having all Devanagari text in the teaser is another wise move by producers Viacom18.

Once revealed, the two trailers will give more details about the respective films. However, from a cinematic point of view, maybe a Gadar 2 teaser slightly pips OMG 2. Akshay Kumar’s poor run has stretched long. That is a worry for him, and the film, but if there’s any story that can stem the rot for the actor, then it is OMG 2 [2023].

Dr. Chandraprakash Dwivedi is the creative producer but it is penned and helmed by Amit Rai. OMG 2 is set to be released in theatres on 11 August. Watch the teaser below.

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