The first film, OMG – Oh My God, which released in 2012, a time when the situation wasn’t quite that volatile in our country, managed to be objective and question the commercialization of religion and godmen and how religion sells like hot cakes. Banking on that popularity, writer and director Amit Rai, along with a host of other screenwriters, brings forward a story for a kid who seems to have been wronged, whose father comes forward to defend him in the court of law.
The Case Of Vivek’s Idea Of Masculinity Has Gone Wrong.
OMG 2 begins in the City of Mahaakal, where people are gearing up for the festival of Mahaakal that worships Lord Shiva and his blessings. Kanti Sharan Mudgal is a devout follower of Lord Shiva who supplies all the items required for the daily aarti “prayer” that takes place at the temple. The city also attracts several tourists from around the world who seek divinity. This brief scene was introduced just to let the audience understand that Kanti Sharan is a man of his word and sticks to the religious doctrines that have been passed to him, but he can also be pragmatic at times. Fortunately, he is not one of those who will get carried away and not ask questions. He brings out a version of himself that makes the audience predict way early in OMG 2 that he can question institutions without shaking up the essence of his or any other faith.
Vivek, his son, is admitted to the hospital after consuming three Viagra tablets, and Kanti Sharan is perplexed by his teenage son’s actions. Any father would lose his mind, but the writers put forward an understanding quality in Kanti, who is willing to hear the doctor’s opinion. While the doctor states that teenagers are often lured into consuming such prescribed drugs, and the situation at hand needs to be handled with utmost care without shaming the boy. Teenage is a weird phase where boys and girls are often carried away by hormones whilst they are unaware of how it could affect them if there is no proper guide to tell them that what they feel is normal, and things eventually come under their control as they get older.
Kanti learns that Vivek was subjected to bullying by his classmates, who constantly berated him for having a smaller reproductive organ. Being a sensitive boy, he resorted to useless products, unscientific solutions, and unprescribed enhancing drugs. What Vivek goes through is the trauma of being pressured into obsessing over his privates, which is what led to this series of events. This exposition was done to make even the audience understand how boys like Vivek get carried away by raging hormones and to keep them in check is the responsibility of the immediate family, and that of the school is to impart knowledge about this subject to channel their energies. Kids study biology, but they are also unaware of how the reproductive organs play a crucial role in everyone’s life, be it a teenager or an adult. Adding to the already complex matter, Vivek is rusticated from the school when a video of him playing with himself inside the school lavatory goes viral, which subjects the family to rampant ostracization and ridicule.
This is when Lord Shiva decides to make an appearance for his most devoted follower and help him find answers. After many struggles, Kanti Sharan decided to sue the school himself, for not providing proper reproductive health education to the students, and also the three men who claimed to have solutions to Vivek’s problem. The appearance of Lord Shiva draws the story closer to the genre of magic realism, where an entity such as him appears out of nowhere and carries an undercurrent of divinity. If you ask any audience, what Vivek went through is a case of bullying which should have been addressed as well, but since the makers want to discuss the subject of reproductive health, there was no mention of how kids torment their classmates.
Ending Explained: Does Kanti Sharan Win The Case For Vivek?
As the case goes to court, lawyer Kamini Maheshwari ends up representing all the people who are accused, including the school, because she happens to be the daughter-in-law of the owner of the school, and her defense remains that Vivek’s carrying out the lewd act on the school premises was wrong. Kamini might not be wrong here because the act, though it was for self-gratification, should not have been carried out in a public place like an educational institution, but again, this supports Kanti Sharan’s theory that if the kids are not provided basic sex education, they might behave the way Vivek did.
Kanti Sharan gets hold of a bag left by an unknown customer at their store, and in it, he comes across books like Kamasutra and Panchatantra, and other literature of his faith that explores the subject of desire, thus proving that these topics existed in the culture for centuries and still the schools refuse to impart knowledge on them. The kids must resort to smartphones that contain unreliable information. It was always the doctors or other experts who could provide accurate knowledge on the same. To destabilize his defense, his family is brought forward for questioning with the sole purpose of embarrassing them by asking questions not related to the case. The family decides to stand by him, which puts Kamini’s strategy on the backfoot. This was a ploy to let people know that maybe Kanti Sharan is a hypocrite who openly demands reproductive health education but refuses to have the same kind of talk with his family. Vivek’s state of mind and dilemma are forgotten by both the prosecution and the defense team at this juncture.
Kanti Sharan, throughout the course of OMG 2, is faced with many dilemmas regarding the case and has a mental block. To aid him in finding a path, Lord Shiva appears to him in the form of a commoner in many different places around the city. This divine intervention of sorts was seen in the Malayalam movie Nandanam, which was about a Krishna devotee and how a man who turned out to be Lord Krishna himself helped the female protagonist finally marry the man she truly loved. The subject matter is unnecessarily convoluted, and the amount of mansplaining Kamini is subjected to is so appalling that the subject at hand is duly forgotten, which is that Vivek was in the wrong. A prostitute is also brought forward to explain how the school does not discriminate based on the occupation of the parent. As mentioned above, both sides of the argument forget to pursue the bullying angle. The viewers wonder if the child of the same person is not being bullied or ridiculed for what their mother does for a living. If only this angle had been pursued, a lot of truths about the school would have been exposed. It displays the intention of the writers, who do not understand the nuance of the subjects of bullying or sex education.
Kamini Maheshwari was deliberately presented as the villain who spoke about the perils of reproductive health education. Kanti Sharan’s questioning of the three businessmen proves his point that the lack of basic sex education by family and school led to the kid getting swayed by the words of these three men. Kanti Sharan also speaks about how kids should know about bad touch and good touch, something that must be made available to kids of every age to help them be aware. It will allow kids to be honest instead of internalizing the pain that causes deeper trauma.
Kanti Sharan blames the Education Act of 1853, formulated and executed by the British in India, for the lack of basic knowledge about the subject of physical pleasures and hormones. If Kanti Sharan claims his faith to be progressive, it’s odd that the same act never went through any reforms after independence. It proves a bigger point that people from his community, along with others, have issues with it, and nothing has been done to change their perception.
The discussion of OMG 2 went from revolving around how what Vivek did was wrong to making self-gratification a sin. The writer’s shift of tone is sudden, and the audience is left baffled. Adding drama to this story, Kanti Sharan is offered a cheque of ten crores and signs a document that lets him and Vivek off the hook, on the condition that he will withdraw the case against them. Out of sheer desperation, he signs the agreement and takes the money. It is very uncharacteristic of him to be doing this because, so far, his fight has been well-defended, and his falling for money did not make any sense at all. The writer and the director did not give any decent explanation for his change of mind. His overwhelming guilt leads to his death by accident, and while he is transitioning into the next world, the man who always provided him with the right solution reveals himself to be Lord Shiva and advises him to do the right thing, which Kanti Sharan always did. Lord Shiva’s absence led to Kanti making a mistake he would not be able to recover from.
The entire setup is not executed well because there had to be a moment of catharsis that should have been easy to communicate, but a lot of it is lost in the sea of words without any emotion attached to it. Kanti, on the admission of his guilt, is given another chance to rectify his mistakes. He is brought back to life, which again gives way to believing that Lord Shiva is real or a figment of his imagination. Shiva could not be merely a part of his imagination because other people could see and communicate with him as well. But the man surely had divine powers to be able to bring Kanti back to life one more time. This is where the makers should be able to draw a line concerning the genre of the film. OMG 2 cannot just be a satirical comedy.
OMG 2 ends with the case being heard outside the court premise, keeping in mind the popularity gained thanks to the news media and the polarizing views it has gotten from various religious factions and kids on how this matter should be resolved. Kanti Sharan returns the check, and both teams present their respective closing statements. Presented as a twist in the tale by the writers and the director, Vivek comes forward to admit that the place he chose to pleasure himself was wrong, and he will only apologize for that. Vivek was disturbed by the amount of backlash his father faced, but he never stopped defending Vivek. To support Kanti Sharan, young kids come forward, demanding the need for a sex education curriculum in schools. Kanti Sharan ended up winning the case, and the predictable nature of the narrative allowed the audience to be aware of the outcome of OMG 2 some time in advance. But only if the amount of noise that is made in the film will help any changes at the grassroots level. Kanti Sharan had to be condescending throughout the entirety of the film to a female character only to prove his point. The case here is presented in an oversimplified manner. OMG 2 sermonizes a lot and is defensive of the faith it tries to protect till the end. Unfortunately, the ground reality is different.