Romance and the usual things that ensue. Clever lines amongst preachy ones. Clichéd characters yet deeper too. There's equal scope to let go and enjoy or to observe and ponder.
I can imagine Zoya Akhtar taking notes every time she saw a person from the industry behave in a "typical" industry manner. She then smoothened out the edges of these rough mental sketches, deepened them ever-so-slightly, gave them a thick outline and ta-da...script ready. That's the Einstein-moment when she realized she needed a story. Damn! Back to the storyboard to weave all these characters together into a coherent plot. If it were left to her, she'd have been very happy to just continue playing around with her characters and their peculiarities for a couple more hours without ever getting to their story. And she'd have done well too.
That's not to say that she didn't do justice to the story, it's just that it had nothing spectacular about it - a love story with gray characters most of whom are ambitious. And she does tweak the simple storyline a bit too. And those tweaks might not make the movie very popular but I enjoyed them the best.
The foreground of Mumbai's filmy world has all the clichéd elements any movie based on the industry could be expected to have. And yet there's charm in all its characters. Rishi Kapoor is the industry stalwart and yet has his share of insecurities. Dimple Kapadia, a Diva in her era hasn't had enough fame and is intent upon continuing to live her aspirations through her daughter. Isha playing the daughter is almost clueless but knows her way around too. Juhi Chawla's character enjoys her status in this world even if it is mostly in the name of a trophy-wife.
All these "stars" in real life mixed with Manish Malhotra, Mac Mohan, Javed Akhtar, Shabana Azmi, Kareena Kapoor, Vivek Oberoi, Ranbir Kapoor, John Abraham, Abhishek Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan playing themselves. Anurag Kashyap aces the list, I couldn't resist giggling throughout his two scenes. Don't let this list bring back bad memories from Om Shanti Om though. Even if their cameos are to multiply the glamour quotient, there's a reason for them to be smartly woven in the movie and it's not just to shake a leg or two.
This smartness runs as an undercurrent through the movie. It starts off with one of the very few non-Khans at the 'top' in the industry, Hrithik Roshan being named Zaffar Khan. Then we see him discussing a break from the mould he is set in as an actor...so he can work with Karan Johar.
Farhan Akhtar's character, Vikram has been written with great thought too. The transitions he goes through are not perfunctory or a result of an inspirational one-liner. But, you can see the build-up towards the change. We see him get vulnerable-emotional and conniving-calculative. The credit goes as much to his growing talent as an actor as it goes to the way his character is written.
On the other hand, I feel a little bad for Konkona Sen Sharma. Since she almost always picks well-written roles, this one seems like yet-another-well-written character. So even though she performs well and gets the nuances across it feels like 'What's the big deal? We know she can do that.'
Yet in this medley of little good things there are stretches of "got it, let's move on already!" There are spans which have absolutely inane-quotes-from-an-email-forward dialogues. I suppose they are meant to inspire. But such lines almost always end up patronizing in a very annoying sort-of a way. The saving grace is that they are amidst some witty one-liners.
Luck By Chance is the kind you can sit back and enjoy. And at the same time it keeps your gray cells at work. Not because of a powerful plot or any such thing. But more because the characters are thinking and talk like people do. So by any chance, if you miss it in the theaters make sure you catch it on DVD...only when it is officially out though ;)
- meetu, a part of the audience