I had read reviews about both Dev D and Lucky By Chance – on the blogs and on the Internet.
While the former was praised, the latter was dismissed as just another film about struggling actors finally making it in Bollywood.
I have always felt that how you categorize or file a movie in your mind depends on what expectations you have of it. I had been to watch Slumdog M with huge expectations – I had been to The Last Lear with a fluttering heart – Rituparno Ghosh, Amitabh Bachhan and Shakespeare – the awesome threesome – well, the experience had been in both instances, less than satisfactory.
DevD or Lucky By Chance are, by no means, awe-inspiring masterpieces or even the best work of the cast and crew involved.
However, both satisfy a few basic expectations that a viewer takes to a movie:
1. Both the movies tell a story beautifully, fluently, using music often to emphasize, indicate unspoken thoughts or simply to establish a mood.
Nayana Tarse in Dev D for instance, or the song Sapnosey Bharey Jab Naina in Lucky By Chance. While the hero, Vikramjit Singh (Farhan Akhtar) sit there studying his fellow contenders for a coveted job, the song plays in the background doodling undercurrent of thoughts rushing through the minds of not just our hero, but, of all the young aspirants waiting in eager anticipation of a future unknown.
2. Dev D draaaaaaaags quite a bit – but I didn’t mind. The pace in LBC was superior in comparison.
3. There were no major gaps in the story – all the elements neatly fit into each other producing a nice blend of themes and ideas. I liked that.
4. Both these films are stamped with the honesty of purpose of their makers.
You get the impression that they know their subject – firsthand. Even if it is not true, that the script gives out this impression – goes to their credit.
The world that Zoya Akhtar, (script writer) depicts is a world they might have grown up in, being children of the industry, the characters they portray in Lucky By Chance are characters they might have bumped into, in real life.
Dev D doesn’t pretend to be a remake of the classic masterpiece – it honestly attempts to study an idea – (that is now a cliché in India – of emotional incompetence at bearing responsibility), in terms of contemporary lifestyle and culture and life that the makers know – firsthand – and doesn’t hesitate to call it by the name they do call it, in college campus : Emosanal Attyaachar (Emotional Indulgence) !
5. The acting and the cast are great in both the movies.
It is a treat watching the Stars become the characters. Even the minor characters are etched out, with care.
Like, the person that hands out forms at the audition scene or selects the photos or the assistant dance choreographer or even that character stuck with all these balloons in her back walking casually out of the sets, in Lucky By Chance;
the gay make-up artist that walks the screen for a few seconds in Dev D or the dhabawallah that serves momos or the two pimps that sit on the stairs of Dev D’s hotel smoking hashish or whatever it is , were all good to watch. And Easy to remember.
The films come across as movies that were created because the makers care and can closely relate to their subject, emotionally, socially, culturally. It didn’t feel like an excited study of a Bollywood phenomenon or a cold docu-drama shot from a comfortable distance.
They are flawed – like all good things in life are (unless artificially produced in a lab, under controlled environment) – but are very organic, doesn’t smell of the clinically correct….
These are a few minor things that struck me as significant.
It would be fun to use them in class – as authentic material- to drive home a point about perspective, about point of view (POV) etc.