The latest Bollywood movie named ‘Oh My God 2’ (OMG2) starring Pankaj Tripathi, Akshay Kumar, and Yami Gautam is being massively criticized for several reasons. Be it the censor board’s decision to issue an ‘A’ certificate to it or the involvement of the messenger of Lord Shiva in a movie that openly sees to discuss sex and myths revolving around it. The movie written and directed by Amit Rai is a masterpiece to say as it attempts to decently clear off the dust on the topic which is, unfortunately, a subject of taboo in India, sex education.
OMG2 was released on August 11 this year and has crossed the Box office mark of Rs 100 crore by earning Rs 113.67 crore within 2 weeks of its release. Although the movie has been issued an ‘A certificate’ and has been put in the category of Adults only, the audience’s validation of the subject has proven to be the ultimate reward.
Caution: This review contains spoilers.
Critical acclaim is important… But audience validation is the ultimate reward… #OMG2 puts up a SOLID SHOW in Weekend 2… To withstand a GOLIATH like #Gadar2 is a humongous achievement… [Week 2] Fri 6.03 cr, Sat 10.53 cr, Sun 12.06 cr. Total: ₹ 113.67 cr. #India biz.… pic.twitter.com/SP2eJZx2iM
— taran adarsh (@taran_adarsh) August 21, 2023
‘UA’ in the certificate issued by the Censor Board stands for ‘Unrestricted with Caution’, which means parental guidance is required for viewers under the age of 12. The Big ‘A’ meanwhile stands for ‘Adults Only’, which prohibits anybody under the age of 18 to watch the film in theatres. Ironically, Amit Rai’s directorial OMG2 which has been declared an adults only film fails to attract its target audience, the school, junior college-going youngsters due to the ‘A certificate’.
Actor Aarush Varma who plays the onscreen son of Pankaj Tripathi in the movie criticized the decision of the Censor Board to issue ‘A certificate’ to the film and said that the target audience of the movie, the teenagers are only being kept away from such an important issue.
“This is my first film and it is sad that I can’t watch myself on the big screen given my age and the ‘A certificate’ issued to the movie. One bad decision by the board is not allowing me and people of my age group to learn something very important. The target audience is being kept away from the movie. The vision of the movie itself was to make people and teenagers understand the importance of sex education. I want to enjoy this film with people of my age group,” he said.
OMG 2 actor Aarush Varma says he is sad because he can’t watch his first film in theatre after CBFC’s ‘A’ certification to the Akshay Kumar-starrer movie. #OMG2 #AkshayKumar #OTVNews pic.twitter.com/K87coBn3rR
— OTV (@otvnews) August 21, 2023
Kanti takes the help of old scriptures to save his son’s life
The movie revolves around Vivek (Aarush Varma) who is the son of Kanti Sharan Mudgal (Pankaj Tripathi). He is from a very ordinary yet religious family who believes in Mahakaal Baba of Ujjain. The simple and sweet life of Kanti Sharan Mudgal, who owns a shop of religious items within the Ujjain temple, however, turns upside down after his son is caught, masturbating in one of the school’s washrooms.
The son gets rusticated from the school on the grounds of ‘immoral behavior’, Kanti is asked to vacate the shop premise from within the temple and his wife and daughter are socially boycotted. Vivek then starts showing symptoms of depression and also tries to kill himself.
Kanti investigates the matter on his individual level to learn that his son Vivek was put into the said situation and was not properly guided by the school authorities or the doctors towards sex. He also blames himself for the situation and hence files a case against himself, the school, one of the doctors, and a medical store from where Vivek was getting medicines without prescriptions.
Kanti during the course of the court case, with the help of a messenger of Mahakaal Baba (Akshay Kumar) argues that had his son been given proper sex education at school, had he been properly guided over masturbation, he would have not practiced it in a wrong way out of peer pressure in the school washrooms. Kanti during several court sessions also highlights:
- How teenage students are not guided over sex, which is an essential part of life
- How teenagers are forced to google search their curiosities and find answers to their questions on their own
- How they are misguided by weird internet searches, ill-informed acquaintances, and greedy doctors
- How chapters on the human reproductive system are ignored at school levels, furthering lack of knowledge and fueling negative curiosity among students.
While the school and the attorney (Yami Gautam) representing the school, doctor, and the concerned medical store demeans the importance of sex education, Kanti refers to several old scriptures and Hindu texts to prove that whatever his son did was wrong but it can’t be termed as ‘vulgar’. He praises the Sanatan Dharma and says that it is the oldest and most progressive and modern of all the religions to have described the emotional fulfillment of life in such a decent and respectful manner.
He goes on to press on the need for openness in communication on such sensitive topics to avoid total sex illiteracy which most of the time also leads to untoward incidents harming women’s dignity. Kanti obviously wins the case and forces the defendants to pay the compensation amount of Rs 101 from the school, Rs 51 from the doctor, Rs 21 from the medical store, and Rs 11 from the roadside unsafe medicine seller to offer it to Mahakaal Baba. Moreover, he also pays the compensation amount of Rs 101 to Mahakaal Baba and seeks forgiveness for failing to become friends with his teenage son.
While the end of the movie is widely predicted and known to almost all, the movie attracts audiences for its decent way to provoke thoughts on the importance of sex education at the school level. Further, though the movie revolves around such a sensitive and crucial topic, it takes the help of no vulgar scenes or cheap dialogue which can make viewers uncomfortable. The movie is a complete family treat and needs to be watched specifically by youngsters.
Sex Education: A need in modern times
It is important for parents here to understand and accept that their children who these days have easy access to internet content need to be guided and directed properly over consensual sex. The children after attaining one particular age need to be introduced to the importance and sensitivity of the subject. They need to be made to believe that consensual sex and several other things revolving around it demand respect and proper treatment for leading a healthy life.
Many schools and institutes even today avoid providing basic information about human reproductive organs or systems to students. Though some relevant and necessary chapters are included in the school syllabus, teachers at various levels even today disregard such chapters and pass them on for self-study. This leads to fueled curiosity and misconceptions among the students.
The subject has become taboo in India since many think that it would be ‘shameful’ to teach students about sex and related activities. Many also think that teaching students this in their adolescent years might drive them to promiscuity and irresponsible behavior. But it is important to note that even if teachers of parents fail to officially teach students about consensual sex, the National Institute of Health asserts that many Indian youth, irrespective of their age and sex, favor the introduction of sex education/family life education at school level, preferably from standard 8th onwards.
This is no attempt to promote or force parents or teachers to mandatorily impart sex education. But the need today is to see and look into the fact that no ‘to be adult’ boy or a girl is being misguided or misinformed about the issue.
As per the National Institute of Health, imparting sex education to young students and making them aware of family life education can help in
- Developing emotionally stable children and adolescents who feel sufficiently secure and adequate to make decisions regarding their conduct without being carried away by their emotions
- Providing sound knowledge not only of the physical aspects of sex behavior but also its psychological and sociological aspects, so that sexual experience will be viewed as a part of the total personality of the individual
- To develop attitudes and standards of conduct which will ensure that young people and adults will determine their sexual and other behavior by considering its long-range effects on their own personal development, the good of other individuals, and the welfare of society as a whole
Sanatan Dharma: The oldest and the most progressive
Sanatana dharma is another name for Hinduism, which is the oldest religion in the world. The scriptures of this religion grant humans with logical minds complete freedom to make decisions based only on their own free will. Sanatan Dharma is considered to be the most progressive of all religions as it offers to openly discuss and respect sensitive issues including consensual sex in a very decent manner.
According to the reports, Hinduism’s extensive explanation of reproduction in its scriptures is meant to help followers of the religion function in society as prospective humans who have received a rare human birth. It is believed that the previous punya earned by a ‘Jiva’ in numerous capacities leads to birth as a human being.
Humans see themselves to be different from one another. They individually strive for a lot of things in life, including (a) dharma—ethics; (b) artha—security; (c) kama—bodily pleasure; and (d) moksha—liberation, in order to overcome their weaknesses.
Kama here represents the various types of pleasure that are sensual. All life forms use whatever sensory organs are available to them to seek out what is pleasurable. It is believed that the search for pleasure in humans is more sophisticated. Every person has a personal, subjective universe in which they categorize things as either desirable, unattractive, or neutral.
However, in the current system of modern education, students who live in hostels are exposed to computers, information technology, television, cell phones, and other advanced technologies, which makes it difficult for them to maintain interpersonal relationships. They get deviated from culture, and lack or have a poor understanding of information about sex. Often, out of ignorance and lack of a sense of responsibility, youngsters get involved in sex-related activities that go wrong further leading to drug abuse, suicides, and unlawful conduct. Students’ difficulties, which require sufficient care, are unfortunately met with either scorn or dismissal from families, authorities, and teachers.
Given this, the schools, teachers, and parents should make every effort to incorporate the following programs into the main system of education which include ethical teaching from the scriptures, performing rituals at home and school, worship, prayers, meditation, contemplative readings, appreciation of art and creative relationships, participation in team and recreation, and energizing nature.
Indian culture heavily reflects the importance of sex education. Those who assert differently are ignorant. The goal of sex education is to teach individuals how to behave in a way that they currently do not. It is not to teach people what they do not know. The goal of sex education is to change a person’s overall behavior.
Again, Hinduism recognizes the value of happiness within limits. Any quest for joy that disregards dharma is strongly condemned since it may result in momentary happiness but ultimately leads to suffering.
Reports mention that our tolerance and openness towards sex came to an end sometime in the 14th century as a result of foreign invasions. Later, the Britishers transformed the education system and are said to have introduced restrictions on overall communication.
Bollywood movies on sex education and their reception among audience
Prior to OMG2, several Bollywood movies like Janhit Me Jaari, PadMan, Shubh Mangal Savdhan, Shubh Mangal Jyada Savdhan, Vicky Donor, Badhai Ho, etc have attempted to speak on topics around sex and sexuality which to date is a subject of taboo in India. Though these movies earned less at the Box office, they were widely received by audiences who praised the makers for spreading social awareness among the people.
Janhit me Jaari a project of Rs 12 crores, earned Rs 5.12 crores at the Box office, Pad Man earned Rs 207.73 crores worldwide, Shubh Mangal Jyada Savdhan earned Rs 86 crores while Vicky Donor a project of Rs 15 crores earned Rs 68.32 crores at the Box Office.
One similar local Marathi movie named ‘Balak Palak’ released in 2013, starring actress Sai Tamhankar and Kishore Kadam also highlights the importance of family life education among children aged between 12-17. The movie was produced by Bollywood actor Ritesh Deshmukh and managed to earn Rs 12 crore lifetime.
The plot of OMG2 is no different than OMG
While the movie remains a must-watch by the family together given the sensitivity of the topic, OMG2 is a less attractive treat as the presentation of the topic carries the same plot as that of Oh My God, which starred Paresh Rawal and Akshay Kumar. The plot of the story repeats as Kanti finds himself in a problem and manages to fight his own case with the help of an unknown individual whom he later realizes is a Messanger of God.
Also, the most trending song named ‘Har Har Mahadev’ of the movie could have been positioned better at an appropriate timing in the movie. As reported earlier, inside the courtroom in the film, a woman is asked to tell how she and her husband consummated their marriage. A sister explains why her brother’s masturbating was appropriate. A Shiva devotee describes the attractiveness of his opposing counsel’s buttocks. ‘How a child is born’ is also a point of debate in court. Young men and women in the crowd could be seen shouting that they masturbate. One can wonder here is whether the film intended to discuss sex education or simply exploit the subject because the West is doing so.
However, OMG2 remains an overall great product and a must-watch. It raises some uncomfortable questions, just like the first movie, hits hard on some issues, and makes the audience laugh in several scenes. Bollywood needs healthy cinema like this.