February 03, 2009

A maturing

The film just stunned me. I couldn't believe I was actually watching a Bollywood (never mind if one of the characters doesn't like the word) production. Where's the ham-fisted acting, the item number, the nonexistent story, the man who takes half an hour to die and everybody cries over him? Instead, there's spot-on acting from every single member of the cast -- I mean, from big star to cameo appearances to make-up people played possibly by make-up people. There's a believable story treated seriously and realistically. There are clever lines, funny lines, simple and yet profound lines. There's an ending that's not sugar-coated, not calamitous, just thoughtful and moving. And like all good films, it keeps your mind buzzing, keeps you discussing it with others, for hours after it ends.

I've liked plenty of Bollywood films over the last several years -- Fiza, Lakshya, the Munnabhai pair, Chandni Bar, Rab ne Bana di Jodi, Swades, Dil Chahta Hai come to mind. Still, all have had their flaws (well, Lage Raho Munnabhai was an exception). But there were plenty of predictably lousy films too. (Particularly execrable was this one from 1999, but last year's Om Shanti Om was way down there too).

But this film I saw yesterday was pretty much flawless. OK, it was somewhat long, especially in the second half. But leave that aside, and it seems to me that this is a film that ranks with anything anywhere else in the world. This, and not Lagaan, is the Indian film that could legitimately compete for an Oscar. To me, this is the film that represents the maturing, finally, of Bollywood. The commercial marriage of superb technical film skills to, finally, realism.

I don't know if it is a box office success, but I hope it is and will remain a smash hit. Because it deserves no less, and because that will encourage more Bollywood film-makers to give us more like this.

So go see Luck by Chance, won't you? I want to believe there's a large audience that's been waiting for such a film.


Anonymous said...

How does Khosla ka Ghosla get left out of this list? And Hazaaron Khwaishein aisi? Or are those considered non-bollywood?

Mihir said...

I agree. Few movies will have such well-defined characters to begin with. Plus there are no stereotypes! I think that's where the realism begins.

Rohan said...

Actually, I think Om-Shanti-Om is pretty underrated. The hamming was actually intentional for a change, and I loved how the movie made fun of the industry - that's similar to what Luck By Chance does, without being as serious about it.

Luck by Chance was good, but not as great as I expected after seeing the promos. I didn't like the camera fades in a couple of outtakes - so archaic. A couple of songs seemed out of place and the end also kinda stretched a little bit more than it should have. Fine movie overall, nonetheless.

Bollywood, however, has been maturing for a while now - you need to keep a closer eye on it. ;)

Rohan D'Sa
Daily Humor

K said...

How does RNBDJ qualify as good cinema? KJo and Chopras are famous for escapist cinema.

The lead actress does not realize its husband with a new hairdo and clothes (its not like he dresses up as Miss DoubtFire)?

I think there are certain movies which married people enjoy (can watch with kids) while the same would a strict nono for non married folks.

Anonymous said...

Dilip, what do you think about "Jaane bhi do yaaron"?

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Anonymous said...

Ah. During the first half of the post, though, I thought you were talking about Slumdog Millionnaire -- since that's the in thing these days.
Haven't watched Luck By Chance but will.
Agree with K on RNBDJ, even though liking a film is always a subjective issue

Anonymous said...

If SP, RJD,DMK, NCP are so committed to secularism as they claim, why don't they concede seats to the grandmom of secularism that is Congress.


Anonymous said...

Pak now claims 26/11 was plotted in Europe. They have the guts. They fully understand that nothing ventured nothing gained, unlike the impotent Indians

Anonymous said...

The last two anon comments are so off the topic, they sound like spam :)

Anonymous said...

Elementary , my dear Nazim.

I'll recommend you to lead the new Federal Investigative Agency. But you may have to have your desk under a tree. India is in no hurry put this one up properly and quickly unlike Pak ISI who are always several steps ahead of us.


MVL said...

I agree completely...it is not a classic movie...but as you said it is spot-on in terms of script, acting, direction, editing...usually I am a bit overcritical of Hindi films for their absence of logic and disregard to the technical aspects of film-making...but with LBC, I just could not pick any holes...and hence was totally impressed!