For a long time, Indian cinema has been conditioned to follow a certain formula for a musical, with songs and dances inserted at regular intervals to please the audience. This conditioning has become so ingrained that any attempt by a filmmaker to experiment with the musical genre or to add more layers of meaning and expression is met with resistance or indifference. This is the unfortunate fate that befell Ketan Mehta's Oh Darling Yeh Hai India!, a film that had boldly challenged the conventions of a musical 26 years ago and had tried to create something new and different.
The film was a daring and ambitious attempt by Ketan Mehta, who had previously made acclaimed films such as Mirch Masala and Sardar. He had assembled a talented cast that included Shah Rukh Khan, Deepa Sahi, Anupam Kher, Amrish Puri and Javed Jaffrey. He had also collaborated with noted lyricist Gulzar and composer Ranjit Barot to create some memorable songs that blended different genres and styles, such as qawwali, rap, rock and folk. The film was a visual spectacle that showcased the diversity and vibrancy of India through its costumes, sets and locations.
However, the film failed to find an audience when it was released in 1995. It was too ahead of its time for the mainstream viewers who were used to formulaic musicals. It was also too unconventional for the critics who did not appreciate its irreverent tone and its mixing of genres. The film was largely ignored or dismissed by both the public and the press. It has since become a cult classic among some cinephiles who recognize its originality and its relevance even today. 061ffe29dd