Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Winner By Chance

It is perhaps one of the greatest tragedies of Hindi film viewers that any seemingly intelligent film, one that invites its audience to use their minds and embark on a truly engaging journey, are immediately branded as a form of parallel cinema, also known as being 'offbeat' or on occasion referred to as 'art films'. As a result, these realistic and often thought-provoking projects - that are so few and far between - seldom get their due. Zoya Akhtar's directorial debut Luck By Chance could very well be a prime example of one such endeavor, a film that is truly a cinematic treat and in any thinking cine-goer's book ranks far ahead of the more commonly-found commercial successes with absurd titles along the lines of Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehke Bhi Aap Se Shaadi Na Kar Paaye (HADMRBASSNKP for simple reference).

With her insight into the trials and tribulations of the world's largest film industry, Ms. Akhtar emerges like a breath of fresh air with a cohesive script, stellar cast, appropriate balance between humor and hardship and, above all, an eye for continuity and purpose. Rather than simply creating an exposé on the inside world of Hindi cinema, Ms. Akhtar rather hits the nail on the head in showcasing the deeper facets on the other side of the camera: the personalities, the aspirants, the networking, the production; you name it, she addresses it.

To aid the director is an outstanding cast that would be a shoe-in for Best Acting Ensemble in a Motion Picture, alas if only such an award existed in the subcontinent. In the lead is Ms. Akhtar's own brother Farhan, who recently made his foray into acting via the cult hit Rock On, and you better believe he does not disappoint. Transitioning from director to actor is no piece of cake, but Farhan truly gets right the nuances of his character and delivers a performance that is both understated and as good as any accomplished actor.

By his side is the wonderfully gifted Konkona Sen Sharma who wouldn't know bad acting if it came knocking at her door. She remains as delightful as ever, someone who achieves the rare habit of silently suffering from the sidelines without ever losing grip of her integral role in the proceedings.

But what truly separates LBC from your average fare is that every member of the supporting cast more than pitches in with their best efforts. Rishi Kapoor is in full form, downright hilarious at times and walking away with most of the laughs, while Juhi Chawla's return to the screen is a pleasure in the role of his wife. Dimple Kapadia is elegance personified and particularly shines in her character's telling moment toward the climax, whereas Isha Sharvani is miles better than her outings in Kisna and Rocky. Sanjay Kapoor gets into the spirit of his role, while Arjun Mathur strikes a significant chord as Farhan's secretly envious friend.

Hrithik Roshan, although credited as having a Special Appearance, is around for many of the proceedings and is downright perfect for the role. He exudes confidence and charm and, of course, he dances his heart out in Baware. A plethora of celebrities make fleeting appearances, but Aamir and Shahrukh Khan register the most impact, the former poking fun at his perfectionism and the latter sharing his haunting words of wisdom.

Shankar Ehsaan Loy once again come up trumps for the Akhtars, lending a soundtrack that is both catchy and situational, a rather rare feat. From a listening perspective, Sapno Se Bhare Naina is perhaps the pick of the lot, while visually Baware is worth the admission price alone. The homage to all the behind-the-scenes individuals during the opening credits is admirable and beautifully shot.

Verdict? Luck By Chance is a monumental achievement for a first-time director, a film that is simultaneously enlightening and enjoyable, full of character and even replete with an underlying moral message. Hats off to Ms. Akhtar for a welcome entry into direction, and here is hoping for more films of this caliber to come soon.


Roopam said...

hmmmm....have downloaded it...will decide this weekend if i shud go to theatre or just watch on 13"

Sue said...

im really excited about this movie and i absolutely love konkona ...

Prachi Patel said...

I agree! It is sad that movies like Ghajini are hit and this didn't get much traction. I loved colorful characters and the cast was fabulous. My favorite part though was Farhan Akhtar ;)

Gamesmaster G9 said...

I definitely liked the movie. I was pleasantly surprised at the twist at the end, which I could never have expected in a Hindi movie, especially one with a story centred around the leading man. It probably has something to do with the fact that the director was a woman (which is too rare in Bollywood), and the lines given to Konkona's character are all the more striking because they point to the gender differences in Bollywood, that we have come to ignore.

Sana Anwar said...

Love the review, AGAIN.
Farhan Akhtar can definitely act. And yeah, his transition from director to actor is amazing but he's not very characteristic.
Loved all the supporting actors/actresses.
LOVED Hrithik! I was scared the "special appearance" meant he was only going to be in that song. Which, by the way, was so much fun to watch!
Loved Sapno se Bhare Naina.
And yeah, it was weird, not in a bad sense, how the movie started off focusing on Kolkana and then the majority of the movie focuses on Farhan and then it went back to Kolkana at the end. Definitely unexpected.

Manish said...

Alright, gonna see it now. :)

Roopam said...

finally saw it..very nice...good performances by everyone..was really surprised by Esha's acting though..maybe 'cos the role came natural to her..

Mannie said...

Thanks for the review, I really wanna see it now!

But I don't know if I'll be able to for a while; I think HADMRBASSNKP is next on my list of movies to watch.

Sue said...

i absolutely loveed farhan in the movie! it's been a long time since ive been totally entertained by a movie from start to finish. great job akhtars and crew!