After you've made your directorial debut with a film that wins awards, has the critics in raptures and makes money at the box office, the question becomes: what's the second act.?
Expectations are so high that most directors fall short but I'm happy to report that Dibakar Banerjee, who gave us the bittersweet comedy Khosla ka Ghosla
, has gone several steps forward with his second film Oye Lucky Lucky Oye
, inspired by real life events, is the story of a lower- middle class Sikh boy who rises from the ghettos of west Delhi to become a superbly slick and wealthy thief.?
Lucky uses his considerable charm and unflappable street smarts to clean out houses, taking everything from television sets and jewellery to spoons, photographs and most memorably, even a friendly Pomeranian.? Lucky is suave and ambitious.?
Like millions of other urban Indians, Lucky aspires to the good life or to what his friend Bangali, played by Manu Rishi who also co-wrote the dialogue, calls "Hi-fi."? But Lucky also wants respect and his 15 minutes of fame and this is what makes him a fascinating character.
Banerjee, who also co-wrote the screenplay and dialogue, is a fresh and original voice.? He finds humour in the most unexpected places - so when Lucky and Bangali escort a drunk dancing girl home, her mother casually asks from the bedroom: Pee ke aayi hai, ulti ki kya.? When they are in prison, Bangali advises Lucky not to get hassled by the cops.? He says: Usne marliya, humne khaliya.? Aise hi toh relations bante hain
The rough, Delhi dialogue is pitch perfect and the situations are terrifically funny. But, and this is what makes Oye Lucky
worth watching, underneath the humour, there is a real insight into the new consumerist, acquisitive India and subtle strains of sadness and loss.?
The consistently underrated and under-used Abhay Deol is nicely laid-back as the ambitious thief.? Paresh Rawal, playing three roles is also in top form.? But pay special attention to the minor characters - the dancing girl's mother who immediately starts serving Lucky parathas
when she finds out his financial status; Bhurelal, a hapless security guard who makes a five second appearance, and my personal favourite, a hyper television anchor who hosts a crime show.?
Banjeree loses his narrative grip in the second half, which has several loose moments.? But these are minor quibbles.? Like Lucky, this film is witty and charming.? I strongly recommend that you see it.
Must see our special: Oye Lucky Lucky Oye