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.