Om-Dar-Ba-Dar is a portrait of life in Ajmer town in Rajasthan. The film tells the story of a young boy called Om in the period of his carefree adolescence and its harsh disillusionments. The story starts like a comedy and ends like a thriller. Om has a rather strange family. His father Babuji, a government employee, leaves his job so that he can dedicate himself to astrology; Om's older sister Gayatri is dating a good-for-nothing. Om is involved in science, but is also attracted to magic and religion. Above all it seems as if his really outstanding skill is his ability to hold his breath for a long time.Wikipedia
Om Dar-Ba-Dar is a classic protest film because it rebels against everything, with lines which perhaps sound wiser than they are, especially when you hear them again...Welcome to the trippiest film made in Indian cinema.
Trust me, it's just fine if you don't understand it, but don't even think of skipping this film which has acquired the cult status even without hitting the screens ever. Kamal Swaroop can be anything from a wayward wanderer to a genius, but he has made 'Om Dar B Dar' an altogether distinct 'experience'. You are not allowed to miss this film.
Kamal Swaroop’s Om Dar-Ba-Dar was ready for release in 1988 but never made it to the cinemas. Over the last 26 years, it has been shown at festivals across the world and become a cult classic for being the antithesis of Indian cinema. The absence of a narrative, surreal montages, bizarre dialogue and a jarring soundtrack make Kamal Swaroop’s Om Dar-Ba-Dar seem like the two-hour long hallucination of a drug-addled mind. But the chaotic jumble that makes up this film is entirely deliberate.
Well, how do you rate a film on your conventional 5-star scale that is so unconventional in its form? How do you even review it (or well, at least start to) when even after seeing so much you are not sure of what you have seen? I don’t know. Or I would rather like to put what the protagonist says in answer to the above quoted dilemma: “Out of course!”
Does writing about a movie which was made 26 years ago and is getting released now has to qualify in the context of reviewing a film? A movie which has already being hailed as a cult classic; one of the main proponents of a certain kind of voice in cinema. For a more clear definition (just for now ), we can call it absurdist cinema.
Indeed, the entire experience, in which visual and sound are inseparable, is designed to satirise the very small-town nostalgia that is the movie’s most accessible legacy. Om-Dar-Ba-Dar is the original vernacular spectacle that has been endlessly imitated by advertising, music video and popular cinema.
If only there’d been a little less invention and a little more organisation of thought, Om-Dar-Ba-Dar might actually have ended up the subversive masterpiece so many are convinced it is.