08 February 2009

_Luck By Chance_

It's time to grade a stack of godawful papers. That's why I'm here.

I saw Luck by Chance today, and am terrifically happy that I did. Aside from the cameos, and my internal squeal of "Oooooooh! It's ______________" (fill in the blank with the names of Aamir Khan, Akshaye Khanna, Shahrukh Khan (insert sound of fluttering sighs), Rani Mukherjee, John Abraham, Abhishek Bachchan, Vivek Oberoi, etc.), and the pride that I (a white woman from the suburbs of a medium U.S. city now living in a smaller city) am probably more able to name more current Indian actors than American ones, I am glad to have seen the movie because it was a thought-provoking one.

I tend to doubt that Bollywood is best positioned to critique Bollywood, but there are not enough drugs on planet Earth to make me head to the American versions of People and Entertainment Weekly magazines for information. Wall Street Journal? Yawn. As far as I'm concerned, Hollywood and Bollywood can stay away from each other forever if Saawariya is any indication of what offspring the pairing is likely to produce. Does Slumdog Millionaire (which I loved and will see again) count as a "mixed marriage" of Hollywood and Bollywood if the director is a Brit?

The critiques of less-than-admirable Bollywood practices were more straightforward than snarky, and with a dash of compassion where others might be tempted to go for pure cynicism. (I just read that the director, Zoya Akhtar, is Farhan Aktar's sister, and this is her first movie as director---WOW! Are there lots of women directing movies in India? I tend to think not, but there's a lot I don't know.)

Farhan Aktar is remarkable; I love Dil Chahta Hai to distraction, which he directed and for which he wrote the screenplay, dialogue, and shared the story credits. After I saw Rock On!, a movie that I liked a great deal, I found out that he not only played the lead role, he was the producer, wrote the dialogue, and wrote and sang the songs. Does the man sleep? Perhaps excellence and insomnia run in the family. It almost hurts to look at him, he's so cute, but he's awfully young. He's 35, playing a 25-year-old.

Konkona Sen Sharma is stellar. She's got to be brilliant, as evidenced by her choosing and playing such a wide variety of roles in good movies; how else she can be such a talented actor and still play a mediocre one, as she has done in Luck by Chance and in Aaja Nachle? The two characters are quite different, too. She also wins a huge star on the sidewalk of my heart for actually appearing to be Indian without apology, rather than looking like some of my Italian-American relatives. I wish Bollywood was not so colorstruck. People are supposed to be a variety of colors, especially in South Asia. Anyway, she is lovely. If I were higher on the Kinsey scale...

Juhi Chawla would also have me sighing a lot. (If you're a bad typist, type her first name with your right hand. It's fun.) Maybe it's just me, but Bollywood is creating more roles for female actors over 30 that don't rely solely on Hindustani Helicoptor Maa-ji and Flaky Aunty-ji stereotypes. I hope this movie helps the industry think about the wisdom of discarding some amazing performers who have decades of good work ahead of them.

There's more, but the Internet connection is about to die at the coffeeshop, which really should be one word, regardless of what Webster says.

1 comment:

DanDann said...

Hey! I can't believe I missed your comment on my blog forever ago! Thanks for commenting! (I'm gonna keep using exclamation points because I seem to have started a short, but consistent, trend)!

Yay for Bollywood! I was pretty taken with my first experience of Bollywood about 7 or so years ago. We saw _Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham_ and _Devdas_ and I loved it. Since she left, I haven't been able to find a friend to watch it with me. (Where'd she leave to? Just some little all girls college in the north somewhere. I think they call it Bryn Mawr...). Anyway, she's left me companion-less as far as Bollywood goes. I should watch alone...

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They've got a website and everything.

Nice to have inter-met you!