Things are getting progressively interesting as the ending comes towards us! Most importantly, Karan appears! The unseen God who has put all of this in action. (full index of Luck By Chance coverage here)
First Note! “Dimple hates small-time strivers”
I mentioned this in my first review, they are preparing for the location shoot of the film, Rishi and Juhi and Dimple are there, but also Sheeba and Alyy. Again, mixing family with business. Alyy and Sheeba have no “real” reason to be there, but Sheeba gets to come along because she is sweet and Juhi’s sister. And Alyy forced himself in because he wants to get close to Dimple. Which has a whole bunch of layers to it, that Alyy is so grasping and striving, but also too stupid to see a better way of going about this. Although smart enough to realize, like Farhan did before, that Dimple is the real power. And yet somehow not smart enough to know that she got that power because she can see through petty strivers like him. His sitting next to her, asking for a photo, that’s not going to do it. She’s been around much to long and done much too much to fall for something like this. And her look of disgust, which he doesn’t even notice, tells us that.
Next note “There’s a lot of money riding on your waistline”
We see Isha at the luxury hotel pool, looking at Farhan swimming, and Dimple cuts right through her thoughts with criticism for having ice cream because “there’s a lot of money riding on your waistline”.
First, obviously, this is a bit of a meta thing. Dimple’s waistline is what made her a star, and what helped drive Bobby up as one of the all time hits of Indian film. Cool to have a little acknowledgement of that.
(The waist that broke box office records)
Second, this seems like a bitter nasty mother thing, but it’s also smart. Isha really doesn’t have much to offer besides her looks, this is part of her job and she needs to pay attention to it. Plus, Dimple is purposefully embarrassing her. Reminding her that she is just a child and shouldn’t get ideas. Not to be mean, but to try to protect herself from mistakes. We will see Isha resent (is that how that word is spelled? It really doesn’t feel right) it here, but later, we will see that she does take these kinds of lessons to heart, the “career above/before all else” is in her too.
Next note “Manager trying to help Konkona”
Back in Bombay, OH KONKONA!!!! Once again, being so smart/stupid. Her friend the low level reporter for the gossip magazine is teasing her about becoming a “star wife”, and you can see she is kind of tempted, thinking about getting out of the rat race. And she is smart enough to know what being a star wife means, to think about shopping and interviews with glossy magazines and how that might be better than the constant scrounging for acting jobs. But she is too stupid to see that her wonderful new boyfriend may not be the guy she should pin all her hopes and plans on.
And then we see her talking with her manager. He only has a couple scenes in the film, but it is so important to see that this guy exists in the world. Alyy saw her and picked her up as fresh meat he could control. This guy sees her as a talented person with whom he can have a professional relationship, and who he also just plain likes. He is warning her off of turning down smaller jobs because she thinks she is “too good” for them. And warning her off of turning down her little role in Farhan’s film just because it would be “odd” for her to be in a small part while he boyfriend is the star.
Konkona is our guide to this world, and the majority of the people in it want to treat her fairly. Not the top people, they don’t even know she exists, but those down on her level, her reporter friend, her manager, her dance master friend, they care and want to help. She just isn’t listening right now.
Next note “Showing of waist to Farhan after comment”
Oh Isha!!!! This is probably the worst thing Farhan does. He’s been flirting with her through out the shoot, and knows it. She waits until her mother has gone back to Bombay, and her best friend gets bored and leaves as well (unspoken is that the best friend was there as a partial chaperone, otherwise you wouldn’t really take a friend with you on a work trip). And then gives an awkward little dance for joy as she finally feels free. And promptly goes to Farhan’s room that night, with no clear excuse, and drapes herself on his bed, showing off that waist that the movie is counting on. Using her body in a new way, instead of just as part of the spectacle of a film.
Farhan-the-actor plays this scene just right. You can see him immediately picking up on what she is doing, being cautious at first, and then slowly deciding to just go for it. Not because he is irresistibly attracted to her, or even attracted to her at all, we can see the wheels in his head working of “can I reject her in such a way that will not harm my career?” to “Let’s see where this goes, maybe it will help my career”.
Next note “Dimple works the crew, threatens slap. Old school”
Until Dimple returns. Takes about 5 seconds to see what is happening, and then turns and asks the make-up lady who is doing her nails “how long have they been sleeping together?” Make-up lady tries to lie, Dimple says “tell me or I’ll slap you.”
See, Dimple is old school. First, she knows that the crew always knows. Farhan doesn’t know that, Isha isn’t thinking about it. But Dimple knows that if something is happening, the entire crew will figure it out pretty quick. And once the crew knows, the whole industry knows, because gossip spreads from the bottom.
Second, she actually sees the crew. To Farhan, they are invisible. He is focused on the people above him, not below. But Dimple knows how to work the lower level, knows how important they are, how powerful they can be.
And she knows how to handle this. She takes charge immediately, in terms of the film and their careers. It has to be over now, they have to be careful how they present themselves, the line will be “just good friends” and they will not deviate from it.
This came up with Sonakshi and Ranveer, does anyone else remember this? The issue wasn’t that they were having an affair while filming Lootera (although maybe they were, who knows?), it was that Ranveer said something in an interview that left that implication open because it was not in lockstep with what Sonakshi was saying. And it was Shatrughan who called him out for it. And I know this because of the follow up interview with FilmFare which was just Ranveer apologizing for offending Shatrughan by not running his comments about Sonakshi by him first. Because obviously, as Sonakshi’s father, Shatrughan is the one to make these decisions. Not just what she says (which is already a bit odd considering he has no official standing in her career), but what is said about her.
Next note “Rishi takes over, is at interview”
Dimple gives the orders, Rishi makes sure they are followed. Again, this seems like how things work in the “real world”. Your parent, or yourself, or your mentor figure out the big picture of how you should be presented. And then for the giant interviews and so on, someone is deputized to make sure that presentation is done perfectly, to keep control of everything and make sure it is all down in the right way.
For instance, remember the Dhoom 3 promos? That came right after the Kat-Ranbir break up story? Aamir took charge of them, nothing went out of line or got off topic. I am sure Kat and Yash Raj and everyone figured out how they wanted to handle it, and then Aamir was the guy on the ground making sure it actually was handled that way.
Next note “Kareena!”
Kareena! Now that Farhan has arrived, he is invited to a big party, one hosted by Kareena. Who comes over and is lovely and welcoming to him, and then walks away. She doesn’t need anything from him, but he is now too big for her to want to completely offend him, the way Dia did at the first party. And you can see Farhan blossoming under this regard. He isn’t cynical or focused enough to just brush it off. And this is why, I think, in the end, his career may not last. That is, this fictional characters career. He cares too much about these superficial things, and not enough about the “real” things (not offending the make-up guy, VERY IMPORTANT. Kareena saying “hi” and smiling at a party, not important).
Next note “Hrithik ‘regards to mother'”
At this point, Isha and Farhan are still sort of “together”. Not romantically, but there is a trust there. And so when Hrithik is suddenly noticed at the party, Isha turns to him for support. Also, notice, Isha didn’t care about Kareena or being at this fancy party. But she does care about getting through this awkward moment with an important person who she has a history with. This is important, this is the real “work” of the evening. She is childish in her fear and wanting to avoid the confrontation, but she is smart enough to know it is the important thing that is happening tonight.
And Hrithik is smart enough to know it is the important thing too. That he has to speak to Isha, acknowledge her. Not for herself, but because of her mother. Thus his biggest message to her “give my regards to your mother”.
Next note “Karan! God of industry, Baazigar named”
Finally, Karan appears! He talks to Hrithik and watches Farhan at the party. And he tells Hrithik that Farhan should thank him, the only reason he is there is because Hrithik dropped out of that movie. That newcomers always get that chance, Baazigar for instance, the script is too risky for a star to take and a newcomer grabs it and makes his mark. Hrithik asks Karan “why didn’t you tell me this?” And Karan kind of doesn’t answer.
My favorite part is that Karan just doesn’t care. He isn’t worried about a newcomer coming into the industry, Hrithik losing a good role, any of this petty stuff. If Hrithik is smart enough to figure it out and deal with it, great. If he isn’t smart enough, it’s not Karan’s job to “teach” him these things. Or to try to help him avoid them.
And this is how Karan is in real life. He has “adopted” about a dozen mentees, actors and writers and directors. He teaches them this stuff, helps them avoid career mistakes, everything. But that is because he likes to do it and is feeling generous. He doesn’t have any actual obligation to help anyone. There’s no moral reason he should, and there’s also no pragmatic reason. The industry will keep spinning whether Hrithik in this film takes the role in Karan’s picture or stays in Rishi’s, and whether Farhan gets a break or not. The people like Karan, they have a responsibility to keep the industry spinning along. If a major star or major film is going wrong, then they will help just to be helpful. They will provide free publicity, they will give free advice. But if it is something less than a top three film of the year, or top three star, they won’t get involved. They will just observe, and plan based on their observations. Fictional Karan here, he is probably cold-bloodedly figuring out if Farhan should take a role in his next movie or not, and dropping Hrithik not because he is on his way out, but because he was too stupid to see what was happening.
Oh and also, FINALLY, someone mentions Baazigar by name instead of implication. And also Zanjeer, which of course is the film that Zoya and Farhan’s father wrote that was too strange for anyone to take a risk on until Amitabh took it.