Director: Zoya Akhtar
Cast: Farhan Akhtar, Konkona Sen, Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Isha Sharvani, Sanjay Kapoor, Hrithik Roshan
Storyline: Two struggling actors try to make it big in Bollywood and discover a few truths about life at the dream factory.
Bottomline: One of the best films of our times.
First, thank you God, for letting Zoya make this movie before Bhandarkar got a chance to apply his formula of realism and show us his take on the film industry.
Luck By Chance, from the house of the Akhtars, is one of the best macroscopic films of all time. And, a fantastic ‘micro’ film too that goes behind the scenes of industry-associated clichés to give us an insight behind common myths and machinations of the film industry.
It works magic simply because this is not just an exercise to simply critique the business (the Bhandarkar brand of innocents eaten by the big bad wolf of an industry – Chandni Bar, Page 3, Corporate, Traffic Signal, Fashion, Jail and so on) but it does make some earnestly solid points while painting us the larger picture.
This isn’t just a spoof or a parody (like Bollywood Calling or King of Bollywood), though the subtlety of the satire is too delicious to ignore. This isn’t a shameless celebration (like Om Shanti Om or Jaaneman) but it still pays tribute to the workforce. This isn’t an overtly indulgent, romanticised look at the people behind the scenes either (like Sudhir Mishra’s Khoya Khoya Chand).
Zoya does to our cinema what Cameron Crowe did to rock with his largely autobiographical ‘Almost Famous’. And, this is no less a film than Crowe’s masterpiece while giving us a ringside view of the dream factory and the beauty of Zoya’s effort is that she also takes us intimately close and deep into the minds of all those who are a part of it. She sets up her characters as a silent observer, reveals their dilemmas and lets character come out of actions and decisions than just dialogue.
Zoya refuses to judge them – whether it’s the producer who sleeps with his starlet or the struggler who gets seduced by the newfound glamour of the business – and it’s these shades of grey that always make characters fascinating and seem so real.
Right from writing and casting, this film is one stroke of genius after another, especially with the way the filmmaker has chosen to employ her guest artistes from Aamir Khan at the start to Shah Rukh Khan at the end. Hrithik needs to be lauded to play a role so close to his real self that many a time, the lines between Hrithik Roshan and Zafar Khan seem blurred.
But it is Zoya’s eye for detail and sensitivity as a filmmaker that sets her apart from the rest of the Bollywood brigade. Sample, the quick glance of a worn-out shoe sported by a struggler at the audition or the ease with which the protagonist lies that he does not have a girlfriend with a nubile star-daughter in his bedroom and his subsequent encounter with his girlfriend.
Farhan Akhtar is a class apart and establishes himself as one of the finest actors around, employing intensity and understatement to make up for projection and energy demanded of the job though it would’ve been nice to see him go over the top in the film within the film. It’s a delight to see Rishi Kapoor revel in his role of an old-fashioned, good-hearted superstitious producer and the ever-fantastic Dimple is borderline self-deprecatory, playing the star-mom and bringing the house down with her ‘Oh-I’m-still-the-most-beautiful-woman-in-the room’ antics.
Isha Sharvani’s innocence, radiance and sex appeal make her instantly edible and the girl’s come a long way from the ‘Tarzan-dance’ days of Kisna. Konkana’s performance makes us want to give her a long, warm hug and strangely, you even feel Sanjay Kapoor is capable of being a decent actor, given the right filmmaker and role.
Right from cinematography (Carlos Catalan) to Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music to art direction (Abid T.P), Luck by Chance seems to be put together by a dream crew. Maybe it’s destiny or just pure luck that everything comes together so well.
This ode to Bollywood is the must-watch film of the season.
And, Javed Saab, thank you for giving us your kids. They continue to rock on.