Om Dar – B – Dar (1988), the Indian post – modern hallucinogen!

No! This movie is not about any drugs! The movie itself is trippier than LSD or any hallucinogen! I was studying about post-modernism in films and I got to know about this movie. Post-Modernism is a movement in art, where artists break all the existing conventions to create a piece of art. Many movies in the early 90’s, like Pulp Fiction, Run Lola Run and Chungking Express broke all the existing conventions of screenplay, making and editing. All these movies are hailed for breaking certain norms and creating a new path way, a new wave of filmmaking! I was astonished by Pulp Fiction! It was the most non-linear film I’ve ever seen. Then came Om Dar – B – Dar!

I can confidently say that there exists no film which is more non-linear than this avant-garde! That’s because no matter how non- linear a movie might be, it certainly follows a pattern. But this masterpiece, has no pattern at all. The director claims that it does have a pattern, but it is how a frog jumps! That’s what he said. The pattern of this movie is like a frog jumping. It jumps and stops in a place for a while and then it jumps again. Similarly, the scenes in the film move back and forth in time like a frog is jumping and suddenly everything appears linear and normal and right then the scenes start jumping again.

I don’t want to spoil this movie or interpret it for you in this article! This post is totally dedicated in hailing the artist and his art. It’s far beyond ahead of its time. The movie is about a boy named Om, living in a Indian town called Pushkar. His thoughts, his puberty, his life and his sister’s independence are shown in the film in a very absurd and non-linear way. This could have been told in a very plain way and yet it could have been a good film. But what makes this a cult classic, is all about its making.

a symbolical shot in the film representing character’s puberty

What’s the need to tell a story in a very linear manner? What if I just swap all the scenes front and back in timeline and what if it still makes sense? That’s the attitude behind such kind of making. The entire movie jumps back and forth in timeline and also between reality and fantasies. The surreal elements are shown as if they are very real and happening. There are no special effects to distinguish between reality and fantasy. There is no pattern to the timeline of that film. But when you think a lot about it and form a pattern in your mind and give it a re-watch now suddenly everything starts making sense and many more details start adding to your brain and after each watch the film gives you a new detail you missed in the last watch. That’s the beauty of this piece!

Director Kamal Swaroop says that initially it was a very long story which could easily make up to an 8 hour length movie! Then he might have took such a step to chop and skip timelines only to convey the 8 hour length of information in 98 minutes! For him, movies are an escape. He’s an escapist and that’s what this movie is. It’s an escape from regular movies. Even the songs in the movie are treated as an escape from the main plot.

One of those escapist songs from the film. “Meri Jaan A” which inspired Anurag Kashyap to make Emosanal Atyachar in Dev D

Also the thing I loved about the movie is its strong content which supports women to be independent! It neither gives a message nor does it comment on any existing norm. But the dialogue and character arc of Om’s (Protagonist’s) sister, Gayathri, definitely provokes women to be independent. There is also this one dialogue in the movie which might appear irrelevant and nonsensical but it’s repetead and resonated through out the movie. (dialogue in picture below)

And the next thing I love is its quirky and dark humour which is obviously far ahead of Indian cinema till date.

This made me roll on floor!

Movie also uses Sigmund Feud’s psychological theories to represent few surreal scenes. It’s the most artsy movie Indians have ever made. And I think this topped my personal list of favorite movies. It’s available on Amazon as DVD. It costs 199 Indian Rupees and if you are a cinephile who loves to dig and watch great flicks, the price shouldn’t bother you at all. I would suggest every aspiring filmmaker and movie buff to definitely watch and interpret this most artsy piece of art!

Freud’s reference in one a song in the movie

The amazon link to purchase the DVD:

Published by


Writing is not a skill acquired through practice. Not for us, at least. Writing is a phenomenon that occurred to us when we wanted to shout our thoughts out. It happened when our brains formed a labyrinth of thoughts with no way out. The only way was to break the walls, the walls we constructed in our minds—the walls which stopped us from letting ourselves out. We broke the barriers using the mightiest weapon, the pen. Writing was our way out of that maze. Words and sentences flowed like a stream of some river, which consisted of A2Z instead of H2O. Soon the river filled the brain and the labyrinth was not visible anymore.

8 thoughts on “Om Dar – B – Dar (1988), the Indian post – modern hallucinogen!”

  1. Thanks.. what is your interpretation of scene in which om sleeping on roof and babuji come towards him and did something with blanket..and what is significance with duration of shot..


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s