Debutante directors have new stories to tell. Predictability is passe, unconventional is in. First-time director Sourabh Shrivastava's Oh My God!! may give an impression that it's yet another offshoot of Bruce Almighty [the source of God Tussi Great Ho], but the fact is that Oh My God!! reminds you of the Hrishikesh Mukherjee/Basu Chatterjee films of the 1970s and 1980s.
Like most debutante-helmed vehicles, Oh My God!! comes with its share of plusses and minusses. In this case, the aces overpower the deficiencies. Oh My God!! may not be the ideal multiplex fare, but it has its heart in the right place.
Rajendra [Vinay Pathak], a simple salesman with big dreams, a hardcore Dhirubhai Ambani fan, wants to make it big in life through ethical means. Suman [Divya Dutta], his loving wife, stands by her husband at all times. As Rajendra continues to fail in his various money-making schemes, Suman pleads with God to help her husband.
What follows is a series of hilarious encounters where God [played in human form by Saurabh Shukla] tries to help Rajendra become successful, but is constantly frustrated as Rajendra fails to recognise the opportunities.
Given the fact that Oh My God!! has been shot in 19 days, it doesn't look like a hurried job at all. Sourabh takes a simple story of a simpleton and narrates it in the most simplistic manner. The film has a lethargic pace in the first hour and that tapers the effect to an extent, but its back on its feet, post intermission.
Note the sequences in the second hour. Vinay Pathak watching the bagful of currency with disbelief -- it's wonderfully executed and enacted. God's [Saurabh Shukla] emergence every time Vinay decides to abandon the bag, is another interesting aspect. The finale -- when Vinay throws the money on the street is brilliant. In short, the film redeems itself in the second hour.
Sourabh Shrivastava knows the grammar of film-making well. The hand-held camera movement [Amol Rathod] is perfect, but at a few places, static frames would've worked better. The background score is effective.
Oh My God!! rests on Vinay Pathak and Saurabh Shukla's firm shoulders and both deliver natural performances. Vinay is very believable in the latter reels, while Saurabh is equally credible. Divya Dutta is first-rate as the doting wife. Gaurav Gera does well. Harsh Chhaya is okay.
On the whole, Oh My God!! is a feel-good fare, with a strong second hour. At the box-office, it should grow with a strong word of mouth.