Saturday, December 06, 2008

Oye second hit film oye!!

Dibakar Banerjee made a stunning feature film debut in 2006 with the wonderful Khosla Ka Ghosla. Khosla.. was a rare cinematic commodity -- an intelligent comedy! No slapstick, no vulgarity and no toilet humor, something most comedies, especially Bollywood flicks, often resort to. And Khosla.. also managed another remarkable feat in capturing the essence of New Delhi perfectly -- accents, behavior of people, attitudes, routines and even the housing scams. New Delhi hardly gets any screen attention in Indian films or even foreign films shot in India, so it was refreshing to see a director and writer (Jaideep Sahni) do justice to the complicated urban jungle that is Delhi.

So after a wonderful debut, could Dibakar’s second feature Oye Lucky Lucky Oye repeat the magic again?

The answer is a firm YES! Oye Lucky Lucky Oye is not only intelligent and funny but it once again captures the lifestyle of Delhi perfectly. The film does contain a tag that it is inspired by real life events and given the story of a small time robber, it is believable that someone could have managed so many burglaries.

Oye Lucky.. is the story of Lucky, a small time crook played by Abhay Deol. Lucky does not rob for money but more for fun.

Eventually, Lucky gets addicted to stealing. When he is bored or can’t fall asleep, he goes on a robbing binge, stealing everything from cars, jewelry to a pet dog or even a stuffed toy. Lucky does not use a gun for stealing but simply his confident attitude. In one outrageous example, he walks into a man’s house in broad daylight past the security guard, gets a car key from the house, greets the home owner’s grandmother and orders the security guard to help him keep a tv in the car and drives off, stealing both the car and tv.

The secret to his success is his ability to either charm people or emit such confidence that no one can think of him as a robber. Portraying such a confident character is not an easy task but Abhay Deol pulls it off brilliantly. Even though Abhay has picked some very interesting Bollywood roles in the past such as in Socha na Tha (his debut feature), Ek Chalis ke Local, Honeymoon Travels & Manorama Six Feet Under, his acting left a bit to be desired. But in Oye Lucky he is flawless in his dialogue delivery and body language.

Dibakar does justice to the little Delhiite details, like the way coffee is made. Only in Delhi homes have I seen coffee made by repeatedly stirring some ground coffee with sugar and a bit of milk until the entire mixture is a whipped up syrupy mixture. The characters in Oye Lucky.. speak and behave in perfect Delhi manners, although the film does focus mostly on the Punjabi characters. Plus shooting the film in local Delhi spots simply adds to the film’s realistic feel.

There are some additional casting decisions that enhance the film’s appeal. For example, Paresh Rawal plays three different un-related characters.

1) He plays Lucky’s father when Lucky is 15 years old.

2) He plays a local thug leader, Gogi, for whom Lucky steals.

3) And finally, he plays an ‘honest’ man, Dr. Handa, who cons Lucky out of money, albeit in a loving manner.

Rawal is wonderful in all three roles and using him in two additional roles is appropriate because both Gogi and Dr. Handa form a fatherly figure for Lucky. While Lucky rebelled against his real father, he forms a good bond with Gogi before eventually turning against him. Lucky is so taken by Dr. Handa that he ignores the fact that Handa and his wife (Archana Puran Singh at her best) are clearly extracting money from him. In the end, he is betrayed by Handa and the fatherly figure that he liked most turns out to be the most ruthless.

Then there is Lucky’s love interest, Sonal (Neetu Chandra). She is exactly the kind of everyday girl that one could find in any Delhi street and her casting is just icing on the cake.

And similar to his first film Khosla, Dibakar uses a very catchy Punjabi number (the title song) as a background score.

Overall, very impressed with this film. Enjoyed every minute of it and didn’t want it to end. Easily one of the best films to have come out of Bollywood in 2008.

Rating: 10/10

Official Film website

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