February 2, 2009

Movie Review: Luck By Chance

Let me just get this out of the way: this is an awesome movie. You should be watching this one!

Ok then, to the details, and as always, when I love a movie or hate a movie (not if the movie is ho-hum) I will write reams about it. So, you are warned.

This is the first movie that I have watched without noticing the 3-hour length. That is high praise indeed. It doesn't look or feel like it has been conceptualized and executed by a greenhorn, a first-time director. I have no idea how much help Zoya Akhtar had from either her brother or her father or her mother for that matter. This is going to be the best movie of a debutante director. The story and the flow of it in the movie is never abrupt (like so many movies are prone to nowadays, especially those made by the ad guys).

It starts with the beautifully picturized Yeh Zindagi Bhi which will tells a lot about the movie that you are going to see. I won't go into the details of the plot-line. I am gaga over the overall feel of the movie. Nary a dull moment. The casting is superb; I don't think anyone other than Konkona could do justice to Sona. She is her usual competent self; restrained and nothing over the top about her. Of course, there caricatures abound but they do not overwhelm the movie. This isn't a story about one person or for one person. That is what I loved about this movie; the director shows a situation from different characters' viewpoint. Being the brother of the director, you would think that Farhan would be the star of the movie and all, but no.

This movie could easily have become a cynical portrayal of the Hindi movie industry, but thanks to the tight storyline and pace, it comes across as a realistic glimpse into the industry. It could easily have been made the over-the-top, melodramatic and ultra-emotional way that most movies are today, but thankfully, it restrains all the hamming and actually underplays the emotions. So much so that, a horribly betrayed and heartbroken Konkana instead of screaming, crying and resorting to violence ends up sobbing and communicating her heart-wrenching grief through her eyes. Haven't seen that in a really long time. I have been bred on the Arths, Mandis, Mirch Masalas and Kala Bazaars of the movie industry, so forgive me, if I say that I think movies like KANK and TZP are saccharine sweet, cloyingly so.

Anyway, the movie is peppered with special appearances with most people playing themselves and, well, it does spice up the movie. Just a word to Akshaye Khanna: please stop making such terrible faces at the camera. No one would call it either acting or endearing. How does Shahrukh always manage to get great cameos? There are some very tongue-in-cheek pokes at some individuals in the industry, good-natured ribbing and, of course, obtuse references. Anurag Kashyap has the funniest cameo in the movie, IMO. And Hrithik, please, please come soon in more movies - tons of them - it is a treat to watch you on the screen.

The movie has it all, starlets living in the lap of luxury, struggling actors living in one room apartments in Mumbai and the glitzy sets and shootings. Ironically (or was it intentionally), all the struggling actors are portrayed by star-kids (Farhan, Konkona, Hrithik - who is shown that he was a struggling actor once) whereas the Isha Sharvani plays the star-kid here. Dimple as the erstwhile child artist and a queen in her heyday is really good. So are Rishi Kapoor, Sanjay Kapoor, Juhi Chawala and Aly Khan. Farhan is good as well. Except in scenes where is required to do Shahrukh-like poses and sing songs and chase and flirt with the heroine that you see him flounder (and its really funny to see how awkward he looks - like he is saying to himself, gosh, I can't believe I really am doing this). Other than those couple of scenes he is really good.
The attention to detail, I think, has been tremendous. (For all you fashionistas, spot the orange Birkin, which I am sure is Twinkle's on loan to her mom, and an LV on display on Dimple's arm. Also, some couture dresses on Isha.) I can't wait for Zoya Akhtar's next movie. If the result of seven years' work is this movie, please all you Nikhil Advanis and others, please take the seven year break and hopefully your next CC2C will not break mirrors but records.
My rating (yep, am starting a long overdue rating system*): Four yays.
Enough said. Go watch!!

[*For all you Joeys out there: five being the highest]



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