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Luck By Chance February 1, 2009

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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Debutant writer-director Zoya Akhtar’s Luck By Chance tells us a riveting story of two contrasting individuals and their journey in the Hindi film industry as they follow their dreams in disparate ways. As one might expect, the film uses the eccentricities of movie folks to throw up some laughs. But we get the see the human side of these celebrities, the delicate situations that they are caught in and the lies they have to tell themselves and others. This movie feels very natural and manages to capture a piece of real life.

This film is superbly cast. I wonder why stars were originally considered for the role of the main protagonist because this is really a part for an upcoming actor and Farhan Akhtar (Rock On!) fits the bill perfectly. Together with a remarkable Konkona Sen Sharma, he plays a major part in making this film very believable.

And then you have the supporting cast. When you can get a huge star like Hrithik Roshan to play a supporting part (billed as a special appearance), you must be doing something right (and kudos to him for doing this). I am so terribly fed up of seeing Rishi Kapoor playing father in one dumb film after another. So, it is refreshing to see him in a consequential role. And then, for the first time that I can recall, Sanjay Kapoor impresses (of course, I haven’t seen too many of his films). In his first big scene, he reminds me so much of Anil Kapoor. Dimple Kapadia is super as the erstwhile star who is launching her daughter, while Isha Sharwani who plays the part is quite impressive herself. Juhi Chawla gets a small part but she is always nice to watch.

I really don’t have the patience to talk about the guest appearances ranging from Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan to Karan Johar, Manish Malhotra, Anurag Kashyap and hold your breath… Mac Mohan but many of them play useful parts.

Assembling a good cast doesn’t mean much if you can’t use them well and Zoya Akhtar deserves all the credit for writing an admirable script, filming it superbly and getting the right performances.

I recall the tribute by Farah Khan to the film’s technicians at the end credits of Om Shanti Om. Zoya trumps her. She shows us technicians in their natural settings with the very apt Yeh Zindagi Bhi number playing in the background (Shankar Ehsaan Loy deliver a first-rate soundtrack again for Farhan Akhtar). While the film has interesting characters, identifiable moral dilemmas and a lot of humor, wonderful moments like these make it special.

I was not bored for a single moment in this film and despite it being an unconventional non-masala film, I would recommend this to everyone. Go watch it!

Rock On!! August 30, 2008

Posted by Sai in Hindi, Movies, Reviews.
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When I walked in to watch this film, I half expected to watch a story about the trials and tribulations of a rock band and their ultimate triumph. You will be glad to know that this film isn’t about triumph. It is about relationships. It is about choices and decisions. It is about life.

Magik is the name of a somewhat successful rock band. Four guys in their mid-twenties, following their passions and living their dream. But that was 10 years ago. They are rock stars no more. Each has chosen a different profession. Some have been successful and some are still struggling. Rock On is the story of their past and the story of their present. It is about their journey through the hardened road of life.

One notable aspect in the film is that the conflict is not the traditional Bollywood black-and-white type. It is closer to reality in that the persons involved come out thinking that the other is at fault. Towards the end of the film, you have a sinking feeling where you wonder if the makers will sell out and do a Karan Johar (trying to “touch” you with death) but this aspect is treated well. And in the climax, when they have a choice to show a miraculous achievement (because everyone loves miracles), they steer clear. This film is clearly about the journey; success be damned. And therein lies its triumph.

This film is co-written (with Pubali Chaudhuri and dialogue by Farhan Akhtar) and directed by Abhishek Kapoor (who previously made Aryan and also acted in a couple of films more than a decade ago). Considering that his first film was a dud (that I haven’t seen), this is quite a leap for Kapoor. He handles this film admirably well. For a filmmaker looking desperately for success, he takes a road less traveled and comes up trumps. One hopes that he can continue on the same path in the future.

The casting in the film is spot on. No actor looks out of place. Farhan Akhtar acts and sings (apart from writing the dialogue and producing this). He does a pretty neat job on both fronts. Agreed that he hasn’t the greatest voice but he acquits himself quite well. Arjun Rampal gets probably the best role of his career so far. Om Shanti Om might have got him a lot of recognition but this will bring him the respect. And he totally looks like a rock star. Purab Kohli is very likable and I’d like to see him in more films. Luke Kenny and Prachi Desai make worthy acting debuts and Shahana Goswami also does well as Rampal’s wife.

Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s music is the backbone of this film. There has been some discussion online whether this is “true” rock or whatever. Being relatively ignorant on this aspect, I couldn’t care less. What matters though was that the music worked brilliantly in the film. The film ends with about 15 minutes of music and I came out exhilarated, looking to give my throat and lungs some serious exercise.

This isn’t a film with real “commercial” appeal. It isn’t like Farhan Akhtar’s Dil Chahta Hai (though some elements overlap) which had a lot of entertainment and the identification factor for youth. I saw the film with a theater full of youngsters but this mature film is actually for a more adult audience. While the film delivers a seemingly authentic experience, it could seem slow to some. I would wholeheartedly recommend this film but prepare yourself before you watch it!