Saturday, January 31, 2009

Luck By Chance

Rating : 7/10
Time : 156 minutes
Director & Co-writer : Zoya Akhtar; Co-writer : Farhan Akhtar; Music : Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Starring : Farhan Akhtar, Konkona Sen Sharma, Rishi Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, Hrithik Roshan, Dimple Kapadia, Isha Shervani

Is your success due to luck or your hard-work ? As in real life, this film does not provide a definitive answer but showcases how both have a significant role to play. The acting is excellent and there is a lovely understated sense of humour through the film. And the story, set in the Hindi film industry, provides enough engaging characters to keep you completely engrossed from start to finish.

Farhan & Konkona are struggling actors, both having taken different routes to get even to this stage. Farhan left his father’s shop in Delhi, went to an acting school, very interestingly run by Saurabh Shukla, lives with his rapidly running-out-of-patience masi, and is relying on a friend of his to get him his first breakthrough. Konkona walked out of her parents home and life in Kanpur straight into the arms of a producer who promises to cast her as second lead in his next film. Three years later, she’s doing bit parts and starring Bhojpuri films, while still waiting for the film launch.

In another interesting story line, Rishi Kapoor, owner of Rolly productions, a successful veteran producer, is trying to get his film underway. He’s appointed his brother, Sanjay Kapoor, as director. He has Isha Shervani, a new face and daughter of yester years superstar Dimple Kapadia, as his heroine. And he has an increasingly reluctant superstar, Hrithik Roshan, as his lead male. How all these plots come together comprises most of the film…

What the film does brilliantly is provide a good, semi-realistic look at the hindi film industry and the world that exists behind the silver screen. A world of fragile ego’s, petty jealousies, silver spoons, intense backbiting, never ending gossip, small white lies and ceaseless in-fighting, all in a effort to get ahead and get the next hit. It’s a world where big names and banners count, true talent frequently takes a back seat and yes, luck can play a very important role.

The sense of humour through the film keeps the mood light hearter. Whether its Saurabh Shukla’s ticking off Farhan (art imitating life here ?) for being understated vs the normal exaggerated male actors, Hrithik’s reaction when he learns that Karan Johar’s lead actor has broken a leg, his argument with Sanjay Kapoor on the song sequence and their subsequent reactions, Farhan’s realizing whom to butter and then playing the mother daughter team of Dimple and Isha like a guitar, the whole grandfather clock sequence, the ‘bahut tension ho rahi hai, thodi vodka aur daalo’, ‘she’s a crocodile in chiffon’, and Kareena’s ever so sweet ‘you can come over anytime’ to a struggling actor, followed very quickly by a deadpan ‘I’m just kidding’, it makes sure you keep smiling.

Farhan elicits a few ooh’s and aah’s from the female audience for his shirtless poses and dance steps, during the first part of the film. He is understated as usual, some of the jokes, when he gives Isha a horse statue instead of flowers and then follows it up with a ‘no more horsing around’ when the director protests or even his ‘you live in a cake’ remark, seem completely like him in real life. Konkona is brilliant, effortlessly playing a character going though the highs and lows of life, remaining grounded, emotive and looking lovely. My admiration for Farhan (is there anything the man can’t do – write, direct, sing, act, look good ?) and konkona (is there any role she cannot fit completely and naturally into ?) just grows with every film of theirs. A cherubic, curly haired Rishi Kapoor and an graceful Juhi Chawla look good together, Dimple looks every inch the ex superstar and dominating mother, with her vehement description of her early days in the industry providing an insight into the struggle that normally awaits most newcomers. Isha also gives a very good portrayal of a spoilt, foreign accented star daughter (the khoon / murder rehearsal was very funny, as was the ‘log kitne narrow-minded hote hain’ while she slyly slips her hand in her co-stars).

For a change, we have a very well thought through story line which is made a lot more convincing due to the number of guest appearances. Aamir Khan, Raju Hirani, Anurag Kashyap, Manish Malhotra, Kareena, Abhishek, Shabana, Javed Akhtar, John Abraham, Dia Mirza, Ranbir Kapoor, Akshay Khanna, Rani Mukherjee all add to the realism. There are several serious themes which are touched upon – the prevalence of looks vs talent, the star mom’s, the casting couch, the dominance of big names in India, the lack of original content / storylines. And both Karan Johar and Shahrukh say something quite apt, which is given added credibility because its them, with their real-life background, saying it.

I was reminded of Pretty Woman’s ‘This is Hollywood, Whats your Dream ?’opening and closing statement. For a change, even in Bollywood (apologies to Dimple for using this term), Zoya Akhtar, in her debut film makes it seem like every dream is possible !


Anonymous said...

Also noticed the irony of casting star kids in the role of strugglers?

Anonymous said...

Hey,According to me the film has great music and yes, it shows the good and bad side of "bollywood" . The rating is just apt. I love farhan's acting :) .. Cheers, Bee

gurudev prasad said...

Good review but I was expecting a higher score from you.

For me this is one of the most impressive directorial debuts of the decade.

I just can't get over the scenes where Farhan bursts out when his friend asks him to return to Delhi,his seduction scene with Isha and Romi Roli's celebration on the news "Jabalpur mein chaku chal gaye".

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